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

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

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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 BidenDonald Trump Jr. to self-publish book 'Liberal Privilege' before GOP convention Tom Price: Here's how we can obtain more affordable care The Memo: Democrats feel rising tide in Florida MORE and Democrats over President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' 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.