Political Party/527

Let America Vote

Website:

www.letamericavote.org/

Tax ID:

81-5201850

Tax-Exempt Status:

527

Formation:

February 6, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Founder:

Jason Kander

Former Missouri Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic Party nominee for U.S. Senate Jason Kander (D)[1] formed Let America Vote, a 527 PAC in February 2017.[2][3] The group presents itself as a voting rights organization that seeks to defeat politicians hostile to liberal voting rights priorities.

Republican critics have called Let America Vote a “sham” and a “liberal front group.”[4] Some have speculated that Let America Vote is part of an effort to seed a future Presidential campaign for Kander.[5]

Let America Vote’s advisory board “reads like a who’s who of progressive politics,”[6] including Democratic activists such as EMILY’s List’s Stephanie Schriock, Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Cecile Richards, three Obama administration officials, and Priorities USA Super PAC chairman Guy Cecil.  [7]

Organizational Overview

After losing the 2016 Missouri U.S. Senate race to Republican incumbent Roy Blunt, Jason Kander formed Let America Vote in February 2017 in order to vote to target candidates that oppose progressive voting system changes.[8]

Let America Vote will operate grassroots field offices and launch advertising campaigns[9] in individual states to “help elect state and local candidates who support voting rights.”[10]

The Let America Vote is a “527” political organization that “shares in the mission of the Let America Vote PAC, a federal political action committee, and the Let America Vote Victory Fund, a federal super PAC.”[11]

Programs

Let America Vote operated an office in Manassas, Virginia, in concert with the 2017 Virginia elections[12] and will “open five field offices in 2018 in Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, Tennessee and New Hampshire.”[13] The states where the group operates were chosen based on three factors, “competitive statewide elections,” the enactment of conservative voting reforms and the potential to elect and strengthen liberal majorities.[14]

The group mainly relies on interns and volunteers to carry out its program through door knocking, call making, and other efforts.[15]

Additionally, Let America Vote uses advertising, namely digital and radio ads to date, to “target politicians”[16] and the Let America Vote PAC endorses candidates for office.[17] So far the PAC has endorsed three candidates for Governor in Georgia, New Jersey, and Virginia, all Democrats.[18]

In Virginia, the group supported “the state party’s campaign to back Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s bid for governor, as well as Democrats in nine Northern Virginia House of Delegates races.” [19]

John Whitbeck, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, called it “a shame” that Kander’s group is working to overturn a “common sense” voter ID law so that “the overrun of illegal voting the president’s talked about can continue.”[20]

Contentious Advertising

Though only in its first year of operation, Let America Vote has drawn fire for its advertising. After the group aired an ad in New Hampshire,[21] the Republican State Leadership Committee pointed out in a press release headline that “The Person Actually Tasked with Ensuring Access to the New Hampshire Ballot Box – a Democrat – Favors the Legislation.”[22]

The RSLC’s president Matt Walter wrote, “The idea that a failed Missouri candidate would spend money from undisclosed resources to fight common sense legislation backed by New Hampshire’s Democrat Secretary of State is laughable.”[23]

IVote

On July 12, 2017, Let America Vote and iVote announced that iVote would become a special project of Let America Vote focused on electing secretaries of state and enacting automatic voter registration laws.[24] As a special project of Let America Vote, iVote receive organizational support from Let America Vote and would coordinate the two groups’ resources to unite their plan of attack.  [25]

Funding

Jason Kander reportedly “leaned on all his connections to nab board members and donors for Let America Vote.”[26]

Let America Vote PAC

Since its inception in February 2017, the Let America Vote PAC has received $402,449.16 in total receipts, $258,341.05 are Individual contributions, with the remaining $144,108.11 coming from Non-Federal Transfers. [27]

Federal Election Commission (FEC) data “offers little clarity on the funding behind the Let America Vote political action committee — the group has collected the bulk of its money through ActBlue, an online fundraising service, which obscures the exact source of donations.”[28]

Let America Vote Victory Fund

The Let America Vote Victory Fund was established on June 9, 2017. Since its inception the Victory Fund has received $50,000 worth of contributions from other committees. [29]

People

Jason Kander, founder and president of Let America Vote, is a military veteran and Democratic politician, having served as a Missouri State Representative and as Secretary of State of Missouri.[30] Kander was “one of the Democratic Party’s top recruits in the 2016 cycle,” but ultimately lost his bid for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat to incumbent Republican Sen. Roy Blunt.[31]

Let America Vote’s advisory board “reads like a who’s who of progressive politics.” The board includes “EMILY’s List’s Stephanie Schriock, Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Cecile Richards, campaign finance activist Zephyr Teachout, human rights activist Martin Luther King III and Campaign Legal Center Director of Voting Rights and Redistricting Gerry Hebert.”  [32] Additionally, “Three Obama administration officials are also on board: Josh Earnest, Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer”; “Democratic elections lawyer Marc Elias and Priorities USA super PAC chairman Guy Cecil” are also part of the board.[33]

References

  1. Kamisar, Ben. “Former Dem Senate candidate launches voting rights group.” The Hill. Feb. 7, 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/318241-former-dem-senate-candidate-launches-voting-rights-group
  2. Kamisar, Ben. “Former Dem Senate candidate launches voting rights group.” The Hill. Feb. 7, 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/318241-former-dem-senate-candidate-launches-voting-rights-group
  3. ”Let America Vote.” Ballotpedia. Updated June 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. https://ballotpedia.org/Let_America_Vote
  4. Temple, Adam. “The Sham Behind “Let America Vote.” RSLC News. April 5, 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. https://rslc.gop/blog/2017/04/05/the-sham-behind-let-america-vote/
  5. Wise, Lindsay, Alex Roarty, and Brian Lowry. “President Jason Kander? He’s making all the early moves.” McClatchy DC. June 26, 2017. Accessed September 11, 2017. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article157892334.html
  6. Kamisar, Ben. “Former Dem Senate candidate launches voting rights group.” The Hill. Feb. 7, 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/318241-former-dem-senate-candidate-launches-voting-rights-group
  7. Kamisar, Ben. “Former Dem Senate candidate launches voting rights group.” The Hill. Feb. 7, 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/318241-former-dem-senate-candidate-launches-voting-rights-group
  8. Kamisar, Ben. “Former Dem Senate candidate launches voting rights group.” The Hill. Feb. 7, 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/318241-former-dem-senate-candidate-launches-voting-rights-group
  9. Let America Vote. “Let America Vote Releases Ads In Three States To Fight Voter Suppression.” Let America Vote Website. Undated. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. https://www.letamericavote.org/news/2017/let-america-vote-releases-ads-three-states-fight-voter-suppression/
  10. “LET AMERICA VOTE TO OPEN FIELD OFFICES IN FIVE STATES IN 2018.” Let America Vote. Accessed September 5, 2017. https://www.letamericavote.org/frontpage/2017/field-offices-five-states-2018/
  11. ”Let America Vote.” Ballotpedia. Updated June 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. https://ballotpedia.org/Let_America_Vote
  12. Koma, Alex. “‘Let America Vote’ sets up shop in Manassas with scores of interns.” Inside NOVA. Aug. 2017. Accessed September 5, 2017. http://www.insidenova.com/news/election/let-america-vote-sets-up-shop-in-manassas-with-scores/article_9ff71abe-802b-11e7-b03c-4f144146dad5.html
  13. “LET AMERICA VOTE TO OPEN FIELD OFFICES IN FIVE STATES IN 2018.” Let America Vote. Accessed September 5, 2017. https://www.letamericavote.org/frontpage/2017/field-offices-five-states-2018/
  14. “LET AMERICA VOTE TO OPEN FIELD OFFICES IN FIVE STATES IN 2018.” Let America Vote. Accessed September 5, 2017. https://www.letamericavote.org/frontpage/2017/field-offices-five-states-2018/
  15. Koma, Alex. “‘Let America Vote’ sets up shop in Manassas with scores of interns.” Inside NOVA. Aug. 2017. Accessed September 5, 2017. http://www.insidenova.com/news/election/let-america-vote-sets-up-shop-in-manassas-with-scores/article_9ff71abe-802b-11e7-b03c-4f144146dad5.html
  16. Let America Vote. “Let America Vote Releases Ads In Three States To Fight Voter Suppression.” Let America Vote Website. Undated. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. https://www.letamericavote.org/news/2017/let-america-vote-releases-ads-three-states-fight-voter-suppression/
  17. Let America Vote. “Let America Vote Pac Endorses Gubernatorial Candidates In New Jersey, Virginia And Georgia,” Let America Vote Website. 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. https://www.letamericavote.org/frontpage/2017/endorsements/
  18. Let America Vote. “Let America Vote Pac Endorses Gubernatorial Candidates In New Jersey, Virginia And Georgia,” Let America Vote Website. 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. https://www.letamericavote.org/frontpage/2017/endorsements/
  19. Koma, Alex. “‘Let America Vote’ sets up shop in Manassas with scores of interns.” Inside NOVA. Aug. 2017. Accessed September 5, 2017. http://www.insidenova.com/news/election/let-america-vote-sets-up-shop-in-manassas-with-scores/article_9ff71abe-802b-11e7-b03c-4f144146dad5.html
  20. Koma, Alex. “‘Let America Vote’ sets up shop in Manassas with scores of interns.” Inside NOVA. Aug. 2017. Accessed September 5, 2017. http://www.insidenova.com/news/election/let-america-vote-sets-up-shop-in-manassas-with-scores/article_9ff71abe-802b-11e7-b03c-4f144146dad5.html
  21. Let America Vote. “Let America Vote Releases Ads In Three States To Fight Voter Suppression.” Let America Vote Website. Undated. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. https://www.letamericavote.org/news/2017/let-america-vote-releases-ads-three-states-fight-voter-suppression/
  22. Temple, Adam. “The Sham Behind “Let America Vote.” RSLC News. April 5, 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. https://rslc.gop/blog/2017/04/05/the-sham-behind-let-america-vote/
  23. Temple, Adam. “The Sham Behind “Let America Vote.” RSLC News. April 5, 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. https://rslc.gop/blog/2017/04/05/the-sham-behind-let-america-vote/
  24. “iVote Joins Let America Vote in New Centralized Effort to Elect Secretaries of State and Expand Automatic Voter Registration.” Politico. July, 2017. Accessed September 5, 2017. http://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000015d-3bdf-d077-a77d-3fffd7030001
  25. “iVote Joins Let America Vote in New Centralized Effort to Elect Secretaries of State and Expand Automatic Voter Registration.” Politico. July, 2017. Accessed September 5, 2017. http://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000015d-3bdf-d077-a77d-3fffd7030001
  26. Dovere, Edward I. “How Jason Kander Won by Losing.” Politico. June 6, 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/17/how-jason-kander-won-by-losing-215271
  27. FEC DATA “Report for Let America Vote PAC.” http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/387/201707319069906387/201707319069906387.pdf
  28. Koma, Alex. “‘Let America Vote’ sets up shop in Manassas with scores of interns.” Inside NOVA. Aug. 2017. Accessed September 5, 2017. http://www.insidenova.com/news/election/let-america-vote-sets-up-shop-in-manassas-with-scores/article_9ff71abe-802b-11e7-b03c-4f144146dad5.html
  29. FEC DATA “Report for Let America Vote Victory Fund.” http://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/381/201707319069906381/201707319069906381.pdf
  30. “About Jason.” Let America Vote. Accessed September 5, 2017. https://www.letamericavote.org/about-jason/
  31. Kamisar, Ben. “Former Dem Senate candidate launches voting rights group.” The Hill. February, 2017. Accessed September 5, 2017. http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/318241-former-dem-senate-candidate-launches-voting-rights-group
  32. Kamisar, Ben. “Former Dem Senate candidate launches voting rights group.” The Hill. Feb. 7, 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/318241-former-dem-senate-candidate-launches-voting-rights-group
  33. Kamisar, Ben. “Former Dem Senate candidate launches voting rights group.” The Hill. Feb. 7, 2017. Accessed Sept. 8, 2017. http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/318241-former-dem-senate-candidate-launches-voting-rights-group

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Marc Elias
    Advisory Board

Coalition Memberships

  1. Run for Something (RFS)
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