Heritage Action for America, a conservative nonprofit tied to the right-leaning think tank The Heritage Foundation, on Monday will announce that it plans to spend at least $10 million on efforts to tighten election security laws in eight key swing states.
The details of the effort, first obtained by Fox News, will include digital and television ads, volunteer issue advocacy campaigns and lobbying state legislatures directly. Heritage Action will target Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin, all considered key swing states after the 2020 election. The $10 million will be an initial seed investment with more likely to come, Fox News is told.
“Fair elections are essential for every policy debate in the future,” Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson said in a statement. “We are working to help state lawmakers restore trust in our elections, ensure transparency, and protect the rights of every American to a fair election. This is our number one priority, and we are committed to doing whatever it takes.”
State election systems came under close scrutiny during the coronavirus pandemic, which caused nationwide lockdowns beginning approximately one year ago.
The later races in the Democratic presidential primary took place primarily by mail ballot to limit in-person contact as the virus spread. But Republicans said that mail voting is less secure than in-person voting.
States generally kept or even expanded their mail ballot systems for the general election. The speedy implementation of these processes raised concerns of ballot harvesting, that ballots could be mailed to voters who no longer live at a certain location due to outdated voter rolls, and more.
Shifting election rules were some of the key gripes from former President Donald Trump and those who supported his false claims that he won the presidential election. But despite intense scrutiny, no fraud widespread enough to overturn the result in any individual state was found.
Congressional Democrats are aiming to make permanent some of the widespread changes that states put in place for the 2020 presidential election.
The bill, H.R. 1, would eliminate all voter I.D. requirements; make it harder for states to clean up outdated voter rolls; mandate automatic voter registration for individuals who are registered with state or federal offices within a state; and mandate no-excuse absentee voting in all states, among many other things.
Anderson said that the Heritage Action state-level effort is partially an answer to H.R. 1, which passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives but is unlikely to clear a 60-vote filibuster hurdle in the Senate.
“Fair and free elections matter to every American,” Anderson said. “While we are working to prevent federal election takeovers like HR 1, voting safeguards have to start with the states. That is why we are now deploying Heritage Action’s extensive grassroots network for state-level advocacy for the first time ever.”
Heritage Action will push for stricter rules on voter I.D., citizenship verification and ballot harvesting. It will also advocate for laws that will make it easier for states to clean their voter rolls and for election observers to oversee the voting and ballot-counting processes.
Meanwhile, President Biden on Sunday signed an executive order designed to increase voter access as he backs the passage of the likely-doomed H.R. 1.
According to the White House, Biden’s executive order modernizes Vote.gov, orders federal agencies to expand access to voter registration, provides voting access and education to prisoners in federal custody, examines barriers to citizens with disabilities voting and improves ballot tracking for overseas voters, including active duty military.