Alabama-based group providing $10M in grants in 5 states

Alabama-based group providing $10M in grants in 5 states

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A liberal nonprofit organization based in Alabama says it will provide more than $10 million in grants over the next two years to increase voter outreach across the Deep South headed into the midterm election.

Announced by the Southern Poverty Law Center on Thursday, the Vote Your Voice initiative will be administered through the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Grants ranging in amounts from $50,000 to $300,000 will be available to nonpartisan organizations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Money will be available to register and mobilize minority voters and others, including people who have been removed from voting rolls and those who don’t vote very often, the law center said. The grants can also fund work to protect voting rights; restore the voting rights of people who were in prison; and engage communities about districting issues.

Democrats and progressive groups have accused officials in Georgia, Alabama and other Southern states of using rules and laws to suppress the minority vote. Republican supporters of such measures argue that restrictions are necessary to prevent voter fraud and to stop ineligible people from voting.

Vote Your Voice provided 40 groups in the five states with more than $12 million last year to help register voters and increase voting participation among people of color, the announcement said.

“We continue to believe deeply in empowering southern organizations to do the hard work on the ground registering, educating, and mobilizing voters regardless of what new barriers are erected or which longstanding ones fall in the coming years,” the chief executive of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Margaret Huang, said in a statement.

Founded in 1971 in Montgomery to advocate for civil rights, the law center reported more than $543 million assets in 2018, tax documents show.