President Obama's reelection campaign announced a major voter outreach drive Thursday that aims to bring the Democratic base to the polls. 'Project Vote' will combine grassroots organizing with digital outreach and voter registration to "expand the electorate" and "maximize participation from crucial constituencies," Obama for America announced in a statement.
The campaign will target demographic groups that came out big for Obama in 2008, including, African-Americans, women, young people, Latinos, LGBT and Asian-Americans. Ninety-five percent of African-American voters, 67 percent of Latinos and 62 percent of Asian-Americans went for Obama over Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in 2008, according to the Pew Research Center; two-thirds of voters under age 30 supported Obama.
This cycle, the Obama campaign will have to contend with a new slate of voter ID laws and other restrictions at the state level that will affect the very demographic groups Project Vote aims to reach. As many as 12 percent of eligible voters nationwide do not have a government-issued photo ID, and seniors, minorities, low-income voters and students are particularly likely to lack the correct documentation, the Brennan Center for Justice has found.
Thirty-three states considered voter ID laws this year, and Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin passed new voter ID laws in their 2011 legislative sessions. Other states reduced the period for early voting.
Obama strategist David Axelrod called the wave of voter ID legislation and other restrictions "calculated strategy" by Republicans to "hold down voter turnout," USA Today reported in June.
"The reality is that Team Obama has lost significant ground with every constituency and they are scrambling to shore up those losses with 'Project Vote,'" Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in a statement.