In this Dec. 16, 2020, file photo, Graco Hernandez Valenzuela speaks to voter Delano Jordan, right, while canvassing the area for the Working Families Party regarding the U.S. Senate races in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Credit: Tami Chappell / AP

American Bridge, a political organization that supports Democrats, plans to award grants to allied groups in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona, key battleground states, to energize voter turnout in the upcoming midterm elections.

The grants, totaling more than half-million dollars, will go to Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity, a group that works with ex-offenders; Arizona AANHPI for Equity Coalition, that advocates for Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders; and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta, a civil rights group, through its BridgeTogether program, American Bridge said.

Overall, the organization says it intends to put more $100 million toward the 2022 elections that will decide control of the U.S. House and Senate.

American Bridge has pledged more than $1 million to support grassroots organizing in key states during the 2022 election cycle, Jessica Floyd, president of American Bridge, said in an emailed statement.

The moves come as Democrats face steep challenges, including historical headwinds, in holding their congressional majority. The president’s party typically loses seats during a first term and turnout in midterms is lower than in presidential election years. Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona were crucial to President Joe Biden’s November 2020 Electoral College victory over Donald Trump. That victory was powered in part by turnout among minority voters.

Since the election, a number of Republican-led state legislatures passed more stringent voting rights laws.

In Pennsylvania, the focus is on enfranchising formerly incarcerated Black and Hispanic voters. The American Bridge grant of $170,000 will go to the creation of “pardon hubs” in 13 counties where citizens can receive coaching on how to apply for a pardon to expunge their criminal record, as well as register to vote.

The grants in both Arizona and Georgia are going to organizations focused on expanding Asian American and Latino voter registration and education on the electoral process. Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta is seeking to build a bloc of at least 20,000 Asian American and Latino voters and increase turnout among those communities in 10 counties.

The grant for Arizona AANHPI for Equity Coalition of $100,000 will be used to finance a new Civic Engagement Youth Fellowship Summer Program to train 25 college and high school students on how to register new voters and organize for Democratic causes, with an emphasis on racial bias and voting rights history.

Story by Emma Kinery.