The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching an effort in Florida to strike back at whey they say are oppressive voting laws designed by Republicans to suppress turnout.
The committee's campaign, called the "2012 Election Protection Project," will use online advertisements on Twitter, Facebook, and Google "to both raise awareness and fight back against partisan attacks on voting rights in Florida and elsewhere," the committee said Friday. The DSCC will also be purchasing advertisements on mobile devices.
It's part of a campaign that includes an online "Election Protection Project Action Center." Potential voters will be able to register online on the site, the DSCC said.
Among the DSCC's chief jobs this election cycle will be working to keep the seat held by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., out of GOP hands.
Nelson last month testified at a hearing about voter access in front of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, which looked at laws the chairman, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said were part of "coordinated, well-funded effort" to suppress voting. Durbin, who largely panned new voting laws in some Republican-led states, said he'd sent letters to the governors of Florida, Wisconsin and Tennessee about their new laws.
New voting laws signed in May by Gov. Rick Scott curtail the number of early voting days in Florida from 15 to eight. The law also makes it more difficult for third-party groups, such as the League of Women voters, to register voters.
Nelson was sharply critical of the changes in Florida in his testimony at the hearing last month.
"It is simply not right when the laws are changed in a state to make it harder to vote," Nelson said. "That's what's happening in Florida, and of all places. You will recall the experience we went through in 2000. It was a painful experience, and because of that, the state legislature set about on as series of reforms. They made it easier to vote, they made to easier to register to vote and they made it easier that someone would have the confidence that their vote was going to be counted as they intended."
Nelson was particularly critical of changes to early voting that no longer allow people to vote on the Sunday before elections –- a prime time for many African-American voters who would cast their ballots following church services.
"Does it cause anyone to suspicion that there are a certain number of voters on Sunday after church that go to vote?" he said last month. "Again, cutting back on people's opportunity to express their will through a free and fair ballot access process."