The ads, which also feature local officials in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, are airing on Fox News in the targeted Great Lakes states, as well as on digital platforms like YouTube and Hulu in all four states.
On digital, “we’re trying to catch independent voters,” said Matt Baca, director of VoteSafe. “We’re playing on Fox News during the daytime, where we’re targeting some of the more moderate programming on Fox News, to reach the conservative-leaning voters.”
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican, and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, are the co-chairs of VoteSafe. Ridge, a Department of Homeland Security secretary in the George W. Bush administration, has been sharply critical of President Donald Trump’s repeated attempts to undermine faith in the election, and he announced late last month that he would vote for Joe Biden.
A recent study from Pew Research shows a drop in the number of Americans who are confident that this year’s election will be run smoothly. Sixty-two percent of Americans said they thought this year’s election will be run and administered either very or somewhat well, down from 81 percent in a similar Pew study in 2018.
That drop was especially steep among voters who said they support Republican candidates. In the 2018 survey, 87 percent of those voters said they thought the election would be run either very or somewhat well, but that rate tumbled down to just 50 percent of Republican voters in 2020.
The decline in confidence in election administration has coincided with long-running Trump attacks on the system, from claiming falsely that millions of fraudulent ballots were cast in 2016 to saying without evidence that this year’s election would be “rigged” because of the proliferation of mail-in voting.
VoteSafe hopes it can rebuild trust in the system by elevating local election officials instead of celebrities or politicians to deliver the message on election security. Generally, election officials have expressed hope that more Americans getting involved in the administration of elections would build confidence.
“Our goal is to reinforce confidence and stability by uplifting the stories of these folks that are just like you and me, whose role it is to safeguard our democracy,” said Baca, the director of VoteSafe. “ Hopefully, with this campaign, we’re letting you know that it’s somebody you can trust. It’s somebody just like you.”