Did 85.5 million mailings from one group affect the 2022 elections? Did its 360 million mailings affect the 2020 elections?
Group's “raison d’être is stealth” but sends millions of mailings before elections to voters in many states
Updated March 9, 2023.
A secretive group named Mind the Gap, which formed in 2018, likes to keep a very low profile but is a major player in US elections from massive mailings through two non-profits: the Voter Participation Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and the Center for Voter Information, a 501(c)(4) non-profit.
An article from the Capital Research Center describes the Voter Participation Center as a “tax-exempt turnout machine for Democrats.”
From left-wing website Vox in 2020:
Mind the Gap, a network formed less than two years ago, has been quietly routing millions of dollars to Democratic candidates and groups across the country in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles, emerging as a new power center in the Silicon Valley political scene. It’s just that so far, it has avoided public detection. …
The group operates in a cone of secrecy, often exhorting its donors to keep their information secure. It has no website or presence on social media, and its leaders don’t mention their involvement in their professional biographies on sites like LinkedIn. That’s not by accident.
“The raison d’être is stealth” …
Both non-profits focus on the “New American Majority”, also called the “Rising American Electorate”:
The New American Majority—young people, people of color and unmarried women—is 150 million people strong. They represent 64% of the people who can vote in America.*
An internal Mind the Gap memo mentioned in the Capital Research Center article ties Mind the Gap with Voter Participation Center and Center for Voter Information:
CRC’s Hayden Ludwig: The memo equates “nonpartisan voter registration” with “netting Democratic votes”—the very thing the IRS instructs nonprofits to avoid.
According to the VPC and CVI web sites, and past snapshots from the Wayback Machine, the groups claim mailing over 85 million pieces in the recent 2022 midterm elections to eligible voters in 32 states. Mind the Gap has no web site and no known legal registration.
As non-profits VPC and CVI file no FEC reports, but will file IRS 990s in a year or so with clues about their funding and spending. The self-disclosures on their web sites likely provide details that will not be in the 990s.
The US map below shows the 32 states receiving 85 million VPC / CVI mailings in 2022. Fifteen states received more than a million mail pieces.
Both CVI and VPC sent four waves of mailings in 2022. About 13 million mailings delivered in March and August were voter registration application forms. About 4.5 million mailings delivered in September were vote-by-mail request forms. A staggering 68 million get-out-the vote forms were sent for arrival in October and November. These 85.5 million
2022 Details by State
Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Arizona received the most CVI / VPC mailings. Full details by state are in the table below.
The data for the March 17 delivery date are from the Wayback Machine: CVI [Aug, 14, 2022] and VPC [Aug. 17, 2022].
The data for the last three delivery periods can currently be viewed online (Jan. 26, 2022): CVI and VPC.
In addition to the state breakdown numbers above, these links explain the waves of mailings, e.g., for VPC:
The Voter Participation Center (VPC) is sending 3,262,728 pieces of voter registration mail to potential voters in AZ, CA, FL, GA, IL, KS, LA, MI, MN, NC, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, PA, TX, VA, and WI. The mail should hit home around March 17th. The bulk of the mail is addressed as “Current Resident” and aimed at registering any eligible unregistered voters in those households. We also sent mail addressed to individuals who have just turned 18 and become eligible to vote and to voters who have recently moved encouraging them to register at their new address.
It’s unclear why the number in the text, 3,262,728, is slightly greater than the sum of the reported state numbers in the table, 3,180,792.
The Voter Participation Center (VPC) is sending 6,612,721 pieces of voter registration mail to 5,081,455 potential voters in the New American Majority – people of color, young people, and unmarried women. The mail should hit homes around August 31st. The bulk of the mail is addressed as “Current Resident” and aimed at registering any eligible unregistered voters in those households. We also sent mail addressed to individuals who have just turned 18 and become eligible to vote and to voters who have recently moved encouraging them to register at their new address.
In addition to its voter registration mailings, VPC is also sending 3,333,555 vote-by-mail applications to registered voters in the New American Majority who are not very likely to vote in the 2022 general election. These mailings will land in homes around September 8th.
The Voter Participation Center (VPC) is sending 52,819,518 pieces of GOTV (Get Out the Vote) mail to 15,689,708 voters in the New American Majority- people of color, young people, and unmarried women. The first wave of mail hit homes beginning on October 4th, 2022. The final wave of mail should hit homes around November 3rd, 2022.
Some of the mailings were joint projects with other progressive groups. For example, here’s a press release from the Legal Defense Fund about the Mississippi mailing: Voter Participation Center and Legal Defense Fund Mail Voter Registration Applications to Black Voters in Mississippi.
The VPC / CVI mailings in 2022 were dwarfed by the 360 million pieces mailed for the 2020 election.
The New York Times reports Democrats Decried Dark Money. Then They Won With It in 2020.
Two other groups, the Voter Participation Center and the Center for Voter Information, spent a combined $147.5 million in 2020 to register and mobilize voters. They described their targets as “young people, people of color and unmarried women” — demographics that tend to lean Democratic — and said they registered 1.5 million voters in 2020.
Tom Lopach, a former Democratic strategist who now runs both groups, said their work was apolitical and “an extension of civil rights efforts.”
VPC / CVI published a document, 2020 Election Impact and Mail-based Turnout Among Influential Demographics, which reveals information about their efforts in several states, especially key “battleground” states.
2020 Election Impact and Mail-based Turnout Among Influential Demographics …
In total, VPC and CVI sent more than 360 million mailings to eligible voters across the country.
CONCLUSION VPC and CVI’s work this cycle has had the largest impact — when measured by voters reached and registered to vote — of any organization working in this space. As the nation's only high-volume voter registration organizations, this has mattered this year more than ever. The Rising American Electorate will decide this election and, despite immense challenges, VPC and CVI empowered them to help strengthen our democracy.
Federal lawsuits brought by VPC and CVI in Georgia and Kansas (available from PACER) give details about their efforts in 2020 and 2018 in those states.
Arabella Advisors “dark money” funds:
Hopewell Fund gave $1,000,000 to Voter Participation Center in their IRS 990 for period ending Dec. 31, 2018.
New Venture Fund gave $22,000 to Voter Participation Center intheir IRS 990 for period ending Dec. 31, 2018.
Capital Research Center reports Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) gave “$3.2 million to the Voter Participation Center, which flooded battleground states with absentee ballot registration forms in the 2020 election as well as Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial race.”
Tide Foundation in IRS 990 for period ending Dec. 31, 2020 gave $2,303,000 to Voter Participation Center, and $5,375,000 to Center for Voter Information.
San Francisco Foundation in IRS 990 for period ending July 1, 2019 gave $385,000 to the Voter Participation Center. [202141369349301959_public.xml]
Schwab Charitable Fund in IRS 990 for period ending June 30, 2020 gave $3,430,026 to Voter Participation Center. [202140489349301804_public.xml]
NEO Philanthropy in IRS 990 for period ending Dec. 31, 2020 gave $600,000 to Voter Participation Center.
Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco in the IRS 990 for period ending July 1, 2019 gave $620,850 to Voter Participation Center. [202131339349306198_public.xml]
Human Rights Campaign in IRS 990 for period ending March 31, 2021 gave $115,910 to Center for Voter Information.
Fair Democracy in IRS 990 for period ending June 30, 2020 gave $227,252 to Center for Voter Information.
Fair Districts Fund in IRS 990 for period ending July 1, 2019 gave $103,000 to Voter Participation Center. [202131139349301373_public.xml]
The Bellwether Foundation II in IRS 990 for period ending Oct. 1, 2019 gave $200,000 to Voter Participation Center. [202130409349100708_public.xml]
National Philanthropic Trust in IRS 990 for period ending July 1, 2019 gave $5,283,440 to Voter Participation Center. [202121459349300307_public.xml]
Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund in IRS 990 for period ending July 1, 2019 gave $6,953,969 to Voter Participation Center. [202121359349300427_public.xml]
Everett B and Patti Birch Foundation in IRS 990 for period ending Sept. 1, 2019 gave $500,000 to Voter Participation Center. [202120469349100712_public.xml]
Enlight Foundation in IRS 990 for period ending Jan. 1, 2020 gave $5,800,000 to Voter Participation Center. [202111309349101886_public.xml]
Voter Participation Center (VPC), Influence Watch.
Center for Voter Information (CVI), Influence Watch.
Inside Democrats’ Best-Kept Secret: Mass Nonprofit Voter Registration Part 1 | Part 2, Restoration News, Hayden Ludwig, March 8, 2023.
Democrats Are Weaponizing Nonprofits To Run Partisan Voter Registration Drives, The Federalist, Shawn Fleetwood, March 9, 2023.
Charity or Billions for the Left’s Voter Pipeline? Parties or Nonprofits?, Capital Research Center, Hayden Ludwig, Sept. 28, 2022.
The Voter Participation Center: A Tax-Exempt Turnout Machine for Democrats, Capital Research Center, Parker Thayer & Hayden Ludwig, July 13, 2022.
How is the Center for Voter Information getting your information?, Fox 2 Detroit, Nov. 4, 2022.
Unelected Infections: Paul Brest and Mind The Gap, David Kain, Newsdive, May 3, 2021.
Inside the secretive Silicon Valley group that has funneled over $20 million to Democrats, Vox, Jan 6, 2020.
How Silicon Valley’s secretive donor group plans to beat Trump, Vox, Jan 7, 2020.
What is also unusual is that Mind the Gap is led not by highly experienced political hands, but by academics with no professional backgrounds as fundraisers. The group’s leaders are a pair of Stanford law professors: Barbara Fried, who has no apparent campaign experience, and Paul Brest, the former president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Note: Barbara Fried is the mother of Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
A Big Vote Registration Push Reaches Millions — But Divides Elections Officials, Pam Fessler, NPR, Feb. 13, 2020.
2.2M Georgians receive partially filled in absentee ballot application from third party, WTVC, News 9, Sept. 2, 2020.
A Nonprofit With Ties to Democrats Is Sending Out Millions of Ballot Applications. Election Officials Wish It Would Stop, Electionland from ProPublica, Oct. 23, 2020.
Pflugerville [TX] woman concerned over letter containing neighbors' voting participation records, KVUE TV, Oct. 26, 2020.