Progressive group unleashes first wave of ads in online voter registration effort

Progressive group unleashes first wave of ads in online voter registration effort
© Getty Images

The progressive group Acronym is launching its first wave of digital ads this week as part of an $11 million online voter registration and turnout effort ahead of the November elections.

The quarter-million-dollar buy includes several dozen digital ads on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, targeting young people of color in eight key battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin. 

The online push comes as in-person voter registration has taken a major hit amid the coronavirus pandemic. A study published earlier this month by the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research found that, in 13 states, voter registration decreased sharply in April 2020 compared to April 2016. 


Tatenda Musapatike, the senior director of campaigns at Acronym, said the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures have forced progressives to “rethink the way we’re reaching and registering new voters online.”

“We can’t wait for in-person organizing efforts to resume, we need to expand the electorate using every tool in our toolbox,” Musapatike said. “And for us, that means platforms like Snapchat and Instagram where young people and people of color spend much of their time.”

The voter registration campaign, called People’s Power Grab, seeks to register and turn out some 100,000 people of color in the general election in November. All told, Acronym is aiming to raise and spend $11 million on the effort ahead of Election Day. 

The voter registration effort is nonpartisan. But the decision to focus on young people of color is more likely to benefit Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Trump by 8 points nationally: poll Ivanka Trump raises million in a week for father's campaign On The Money: McConnell says Congress will take up stimulus package at start of 2021 | Lawmakers see better prospects for COVID deal after election MORE and Democrats over President TrumpDonald John TrumpStephen Miller: Trump to further crackdown on illegal immigration if he wins US records 97,000 new COVID-19 cases, shattering daily record Biden leads Trump by 8 points nationally: poll MORE and Republicans, given the Democratic presidential nominee’s wide lead among minority voters and young people.

A New York Times/Siena College poll released on Wednesday showed Biden with a 74-point advantage over Trump among Black voters and a 39-point advantage among Hispanic voters. That same poll also showed Biden leading among younger voters; 60 percent of 18-29-year-olds surveyed said they would vote for Biden over Trump in the election. 

At the same time, an overwhelming majority of Black voters — 91 percent — said they disapprove of Trump’s handling of race relations. Among Hispanic voters, his approval rating on race relations was also dismal. Seventy percent said they disapprove, while 27 percent approve.