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WASHINGTON: Democrats are gearing up to spend record sums on lawyers, advertising and other protect-the-vote efforts before the 2022 midterm elections, hoping to stave off Republican efforts they believe will choke off access to the ballot box.

Worried that a spate of more restrictive voting laws adopted by Republican-controlled states will keep Democrats from registering their votes, donors big and small are filling their party’s coffers.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) took in $157 million last year, the most for a year without a presidential election, and added $10 million more in January. More than half of Democrats’ national funding is coming from people donating less than $200, according to OpenSecrets, which tracks political spending.

The party and allies have been setting aside a larger share of cash to fight fires in the relatively few competitive local jurisdictions where small changes can mean the difference between Republican and Democratic victories.

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