Non-profit

Voter Protection Program (VPP)

Website:

voterprotectionprogram.org/

Type:

Advocacy Group

Project of:

Progressive State Leaders Committee

The Voter Protection Program (VPP) is an advocacy initiative formed during the 2020 election cycle in opposition to former President Donald Trump’s challenges to the 2020 election results. It is a project of the Progressive State Leaders Committee[1] and was created with the help of former Obama administration official Norman Eisen. [2]

The organization was profiled in a 2021 Time article about a coalition of left-leaning organizations, including several Black Lives Matter groups, that worked with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that organized to oppose legal challenges to the 2020 presidential election results by the Trump campaign. [3]

Background and Activity

The Voter Protection Program was organized by Norm Eisen, a former Czech Ambassador and “Ethics Czar” in the Obama administration who became a left-leaning political pundit after leaving government. Eisen organized the Project in 2020 as part of a larger effort by left-leaning groups connected with the Democracy Alliance to prepare for a contested presidential election. Those in the coalition used statements made by former President Trump that cast doubt on mail-in ballots and other aspects of the upcoming election to argue that President Trump would refuse to accept the results of the election if he lost. The organization and connected groups pulled in former elected officials and lawyers to explore potential emergency powers that President Trump could potentially enact to challenge vote totals in key states. [4]

VPP offered a full suite of resources leading up to and in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. VPP’s resource guides covered included topics including election night, vote counting messaging, and resources on the need to “count all lawful votes.” [5] The guides also provided advice for law enforcement officials on vote tampering, federal government involvement in elections, and the logistics of the joint session of Congress that counts electoral votes. [6]

People

The Voter Protection Program was organized by Norm Eisen, who recruited Democrats and center-right former Republican officials to form the organization. A longtime Democratic operative, Eisen works as a senior fellow for governance issues at the left-of-center Brookings Institution. From 2019 to 2020, Eisen was Special Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee during former President Trump’s first impeachment trial. Eisen was a leading voice in accusing President Trump of violating the emoluments clause in the United States Constitution and staunchly opposed both of President Trump’s presidential campaigns. [7]

The organization has a bipartisan advisory committee consisting of Democratic and centrist Republican former elected officials, in addition to local law enforcement officers. Members of the advisory committee include former Pennsylvania Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge (R), former Massachusetts Governor and Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate Bill Weld (R), former New Jersey Governor and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Commissioner Christine Todd Whitman, and former Obama administration Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Sarah R. Saldana. [8]

References

  1. “About.” Voter Protection Program. Accessed March 4, 2021. https://voterprotectionprogram.org/about/ ^
  2.     Ball, Molly. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” Time. February 4, 2021. Accessed March 4, 2021. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/ ^
  3.     Ball, Molly. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” Time. February 4, 2021. Accessed March 4, 2021. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/ ^
  4. Ball, Molly. “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” Time. February 4, 2021. Accessed March 4, 2021. https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/ ^
  5. “Protecting the Results.” Voter Protection Program. Accessed March 4, 2021. https://voterprotectionprogram.org/resources/protecting-the-results/ ^
  6. “Protecting the Results.” Voter Protection Program. Accessed March 4, 2021. https://voterprotectionprogram.org/resources/ ^
  7. “Norman Eisen.” Brookings Institution. Accessed March 4, 2021. https://www.brookings.edu/experts/norman-eisen/ ^
  8. “Bipartisan Advisory Board.” Voter Protection Program.  Accessed March 4, 2021. https://voterprotectionprogram.org/bipartisan-advisory-board/ ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Norman Eisen
    Organizer
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