Today, a new report from BET highlights Bridge Together, an initiative led by American Bridge 21st Century Co-Chair Gov. Deval Patrick that aims to empower grassroots activists and funds year-round voter outreach efforts in key swing states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.
Bridge Together will help Democrats build “lasting and trusting relationships with people” in an effort to “overcome voting barriers and disinformation.” The program will be a permanent source of support for grassroots groups and has already sent grants to organizations like VotersRiders, which received $100,000 to expand their voter identification effort.
According to Gov. Patrick:
“We have to make sure that people first of all, feel appreciated not just in the couple of months before the election, but they actually are a part of shaping candidacies, shaping campaigns, shaping the agenda that they have a voice,”
“And so what I want to do, the service I want to bring now and into the future, is how we engage more people in trying to build the kind of democracy that is healthy, that is worthy of American democracy.”
By: Madison J. Gray | December 09, 2021
- What BridgeTogether, an initiative of [American Bridge 21st Century], is intended to do is fund community groups operating on the grassroots level that organize and support outreach efforts to voters in the political landscape.
- The work, [Patrick] says, will start in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona – states that were critical in the 2020 election and whose voting returns determined who won. In explaining the need for the initiative, he says that this time his party is trying something new.
- “‘We and my beloved Democrats have been counting on votes without actually asking for them,’ said Patrick. ‘And polls and TV ads, look, they don’t vote, people do. So, we have to be about building lasting and trusting relationships with people and sustaining them. I think that’s how we engage voters, is how we overcome voting barriers and disinformation.”
- “Patrick says the whole idea of BridgeTogether is to be a permanent source of support for the grassroots groups involved. One of the groups, VoteRiders, a voter advocacy organization, received a $100,000 grant to expand voter identification work in Arizona, meaning an expansion of partnerships with organizations statewide and create voter identification clinics in key locations.”
- “In addition to Arizona, the states BridgeTogether will start with are Georgia and Pennsylvania. According to Patrick, these are places where Republican legislators intend to create more difficulty in voting. In Georgia alone, legislation passed earlier this year, many are afraid will serve to restrict access to ballots, make absentee voting harder to do, and hinder the power of local election officials in favor of state legislators.”
Read the full report here.