COLUMBUS — In an unprecedented early investment, the Ohio Democratic Party is ramping up its voter protection efforts for 2020 with help from Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight PAC and its Fair Fight 2020 initiative, which is targeting 20 battleground states across the country.
“This is great news for Ohio voters,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “Every year, our Protect the Vote operation has worked hard to fight back against the Ohio GOP’s relentless attacks on voting rights, but we have found that the real damage often happens months before Election Day, when Ohio Republicans purge hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls, enact laws that result in thousands of Ohioans losing their ability to cast an absentee ballot or try to restrict who has access to the ballot box. With this investment from Fair Fight PAC, the Ohio Democratic Party is staffing up now — far earlier than usual — so we can push back against the GOP’s war on voting, while doing all we can to register and empower voters impacted by the purge and other efforts.”
“What we learned in Georgia and what we’ve seen in Ohio is that we can’t wait until the fall to ensure we have robust, thoughtful voter protection efforts operating in key battleground states — that work has to start now,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo, Fair Fight’s CEO and the former deputy executive director of the Ohio Democratic Party. “In addition, there are advantages to coordinating these efforts at the national level through an organization like Fair Fight. If Republicans like Brian Kemp, Jon Husted and Frank LaRose can learn from one another about how to disenfranchise voters, Democratic operatives also have to share their expertise across state lines about how to fight back.”
Gretchen Bennett will be the party’s Voter Protection Director for 2020. The Massachusetts native has more than 15 years of experience as a voter protection attorney, and she has worked in the battleground states of Pennsylvania (2004, 2008, 2012), Michigan (2016) and Florida (2018), where she was the deputy director for the statewide recount.
Vashitta Johnson will be the party’s Voter Protection Outreach Coordinator for 2020. Johnson’s organizing experience goes back to the 2011 campaign to repeal Senate Bill 5, and she has worked for the 2012 Obama campaign, Equality Ohio, the Ohio Senate and most recently NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio as their field and political director.
In addition to Fair Fight PAC, several national organizations recently announced they are focusing on the Buckeye State:
- Swing Left is targeting Ohio as one of its 12 “Super States.”
- The National Democratic Redistricting Committee is targeting Ohio as of 12 priority states.
- The Bloomberg campaign is investing heavily in Ohio and plans to maintain that organization through November, no matter who becomes the nominee.
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