By Stacy M. Brown,NNPA Newswire Contributor
Only 40 percent of the voting eligible population voted in the 2016 election and with midterm turnouts historically low, the Democratic National Committee has swung into action providing grants to 41 states and territories to help prevent voter suppression and other Republican-based strategies ahead of the crucial election.
In its latest bid to win control of the House and Senate, the DNC has awarded a $175,000 grant to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
The grant is specifically designed to help with base community organizing ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, party officials said in a statement.
Combining traditional boots-on-the-ground organizing with innovative digital and technological tools, these investments will support the DNC’s “IWillVote” initiative, which aims to reach 50 million voters by Election Day, party officials said.
The new investment in Pennsylvania is in addition to the $100,000 already awarded to the Keystone State’s Democratic Party through the State Party Innovation Fund.
Further, DNC officials said the latest round of investment includes $1.2 million for organizing in African American, Latinx, AAPI, millennial, and rural communities that will help fund over 50 organizers in 16 states, including Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, West Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Maine, California, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Each state party is receiving funding to hire African American, Latinx, AAPI, rural or millennial organizers, who will be hired by early summer and be part of the coordinated campaign through the end of the election cycle.
“The new DNC has been working tirelessly to support our state parties, motivate voters to get to the polls, and organize around issues that matter for country’s future,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez.
“We are investing in our base communities and putting organizers on the ground across the country because we know that’s the only way we’ll win,” he said.
In total, the DNC has awarded 41 states and territories with grants through the State Party Innovation Fund.
That is in addition to the $10,000-a-month investment that state parties receive through its “Every ZIP Code Counts” program.
“This investment will help ensure that Democrats are talking to voters in every community, and make sure that activists and candidates have the new tools and resources they need to succeed,” Perez said.
“The DNC is proud to partner with our state parties to expand our engagement in all communities and support Democratic candidates running up and down the ticket.”
Recently, the DNC announced a multimillion-dollar investment, which includes a nationwide cell-phone acquisition, a complete overhaul of the party’s data for voter-registration targeting and further data investments for the party’s voter-protection efforts.
As part of the DNC’s “IWillVote” program, the DNC plans to launch a six-figure digital ad buy across the country to encourage Americans — with a focus on sporadic voters, especially those whodropped off in 2014 from 2012 — to commit to vote this November.
“We are thrilled that the DNC is investing in Pennsylvania. We need to ensure that people of color continue to have a voice and play a role in the direction of our Party,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Party Executive Director Sinceré Harris.
“That’s why we are happy to partner with the DNC to reach out to and organize in communities of color from Erie to Hazleton, Philadelphia to Reading, and places in between. Chairman Perez and Chairwoman Mills are committed to engaging these ever-important communities to ensure that we elect Democrats up and down the ballot,” Harris said.