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Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is one of 10 Republican Senators targeted in a series of ads from a conservative group supporting efforts to ease voting in November.

Conservative group's new TV ads press 10 key GOP senators to pay for vote-by-mail

The most prominent conservative group pushing to overhaul election procedures during the coronavirus pandemic has expanded and refocused its campaign.

The targets of a new, $750,000 advertising blitz are 10 GOP senators. The group controls the fate of a proposed infusion of cash to pay for diversified voting options this year, mainly by accommodating an expected surge of absentee balloting.

Republicans for the Rule of Law has purchased three weeks of airtime on Fox News affiliates in their states and on Facebook, starting Wednesday, urging them by name to support funding in the next economic stimulus package.

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Win McNamee/Getty Images

Four of the GOP senators in states that were surveyed posed with their class at the Capitol soon after the 2012 election: Cory Gardner (blue tie), Joni Ernst (red jacket,) Thom Tillis (second from right) and Steve Daines (right).

Voters in Senate battlegrounds back early voting, adding pressure on GOP

Bipartisan majorities want more options for voting this year, and will be angry at members of Congress who oppose expanded absentee and early balloting in all six states where Republican senators are struggling hardest for re-election.

That was the top take-away of a survey released Thursday, the latest piece of an expanding campaign by good-government groups to pressure Congress to finance preparations for a vote-by-mail surge this fall because of the coronavirus.

House Democrats next week are expected to pass another pandemic response package, focused on aid to cities and states, with $4 billion in grants for making the election smoother and safer: more ballots, postage, counting equipment and even sanitizing supplies for polling places. The fate of the aid rests with the Senate, where resistance from majority Republicans has hardened in part because of President Trump's opposition.

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Rep. Doug Lamborn, who appeared with President Trump at a rally Feb. 20, said Democrats "want to stir up minorities who are gullible and believe that garbage," referring to voter suppression.

GOP congressman says minorities are 'gullible' in buying talk of voter suppression

Minority-group voters are so "gullible" they believe fabrications about voter suppression concocted by Democrats, one of the most combatively conservative Republicans in Congress maintains.

"The Democrats lie when they say, 'Oh, this is to suppress votes,' or 'This is to hurt minorities.' It's just a lie," Rep. Doug Lamborn said on a recent conservative radio broadcast getting some decent recirculation on social media, from both fans and foes of his thinking. "They want to stir up minorities who are gullible and believe that garbage."

The comments are a sharp rhetorical escalation in one of the most intense partisan disagreements over how to improve American democracy: Republicans maintain that their interest in strict rules surrounding voter registration and access to the polls is all about preventing voter fraud, and Democrats counter that the GOP sees its easiest path to victories in contests where turnout is held down by such rules.

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