Jenny Flanagan, executive director of Colorado Common Cause appeared in The Denver Post’s Open Forum section. In her letter responding to the April 22 editorial, “What are the Dems up to?” Jenny weighs in about HB10-1408 and the need for the redistricting reform.
“Common Cause agrees that it is not the place of the legislature to tell the courts how to evaluate redistricting maps,” she says. “The legislature’s energy would be better focused on developing a fair and transparent process for its own work in drawing the lines.”
Colorado Common Cause executive director, Jenny Flanagan, appeared in the Washington Post as part of an article on Citizens United and how states are responding. In the March 25 article by Washington Post Staff Writer, Dan Eggen, she strongly supports legislation to create disclosure requirements for companies and unions funding political advertisements:
“It’s the one thing we can do to keep voters informed, if nothing else," said Jenny Flanagan, executive director of Common Cause of Colorado, which supports campaign finance regulations. "What we're looking to see is more than just who's doing it, but going after the shell corporations that companies have set up in the past to hide their activities. We want to make the disclosures meaningful.”
The event will feature a keynote address by Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, and we will have panel discussions examining voting by mail and early voting, voter registration and voter ID laws, and voting best practices. Admission is free.
Denver—It’s a sad day in Colorado. Over the last 150 years, the Rocky Mountain News has established a strong tradition of reporting on the local issues that matter to Coloradans. From award-winning investigative reporting to their distinctive political perspective on the editorial pages, the Rocky has been a consistent voice on the issues of the day.
While we will mourn the loss of the Rocky, we are troubled by what this loss means for the future of journalism in Colorado and beyond. The Rocky Mountain News is not the first newspaper to announce plans to close in recent months, and unfortunately, it won’t be the last. The Rocky’s closure is more than the loss of a single newspaper, it’s just one example of a failing model for the news industry. Although print media has become less popular, the desire—and need—for diverse and independent journalism has not.
An informed citizenry requires a diverse and independent media. Newspapers have long been the medium to connect neighbors, inform communities, and give us the information necessary to hold government leaders accountable. As more Coloradans choose to get their news online, we must ensure that the news they get continues to meet the standards set by the Rocky Mountain News and other print media.
Common Cause Calls Position Statement a Common Sense Approach
January 27, 2009
Denver—On November 7, 2006, Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 41 to set high ethical standards for those in public service and enhance the voice of ordinary Coloradans against the excessive influence of special interests and their lobbyists.
"Before Amendment 41, gifts, trips and meals from lobbyists to legislators were commonplace," noted Jenny Flanagan, Executive Director of Colorado Common Cause. "Coloradans rejected that culture of gift giving with their approval of Amendment 41; the IEC’s position statement clearly supports the will of the voters."
Last week the House Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs voted against HB 1115 that would have created another barrier to voting, adversely affecting Colorado's senior citizens and minority populations.
There has been much money spent on education, but if you are a senior citizen with little tech know how and no one to help, you should not be left without access to your community and the world, as many will be if the switch happens on February 17.
The bottom line is safety. Local radio stations are not local anymore and TV is barely getting the job done. Until caps are again lowered on media ownership and we have broadcast stations back in the hands of local people, we need to have access to as many mediums as possible. All Coloradans have to have access to television, not just those that can afford cable and satellite.
Several hundred inauguration tickets were given to each Congressional member to distribute how they wish. Unfortunately, the Freedom of Information Act does not apply to Congress. They voted to exempt themselves from the law.
In The Denver Post, “Jenny Flanagan, executive director of Colorado Common Cause, said the tickets should be handed out to a ‘diverse group’ of state constituents…‘It's hard to know if there was a fair system in place if we have no idea how it was done,’ she said. ‘This shouldn't be used as a donor reward system. Ideally, we would want to see regular people get tickets.’”
Secretary of State Appointee, Buescher, Has Confirmation Hearing Today
January 12, 2009
The individual that will likely be Colorado’s elections leader as Secretary of State, appointee Bernie Buescher, will have a confirmation committee hearing this afternoon, after which he will begin his far reaching responsibilities to ensure fair elections in Colorado.
We just had a major fire engulf the mountainside in the north end of Boulder, CO. 1,300 families were forced from their homes and 1,400 acres of land were burnt in a fire that lasted almost two days.
While out looking at the fire and talking with people, we heard, "I had no idea this was happening until I turned on the news." "I didn't know about this until my friend called me."
Radio coverage of the fire could be found on our only local community radio station, KGNU, but nothing except pre-recorded stories on the other stations. If the TV's go dark in mountainous Colorado where even people with converter boxes are likely to see problems, many will be at risk when something like this happens again. We have to support EVERYONE during this digital TV transition.
For more information on the Digital Television Transition…
The Colorado General Assembly opened its doors to a new session today.
You can stay up to date about what’s happening at the Legislature by watching online, checking to see what’s on the docket and attending or even testifying at committee hearings on the issues you care about most. We’ll make sure to keep you posted on the key issues related to strengthening our democracy.
At CCC we’re looking forward to working with lawmakers on several key issues. We will drive legislation to fix the electoral problems we saw during our election protection work with Just Vote Colorado. Specifically, we must remove barriers to voting for Colorado citizens. This session as in years past we will see efforts to require photo ID for voting or proof of citizenship for voter registration. These efforts have no goal other than to keep people out of the voting process. Studies have shown that there are few cases of voter fraud by non-citizens and tough id requirements only serve to disenfranchise ordinary citizens. We need to settle this debate in Colorado and protect citizens from being treated differently because of income or age.
We will work to move proactive reforms like Election Day registration (EDR) which gives every citizen the best chance of exercising his/her right to vote. In states with EDR in place, eligible voter turnout has increased 10%-12%.Colorado needs to join their ranks.
Importantly, we will continue to act as a resource for individuals and organizations about our state’s open government, ethics and campaign finance laws. We are also campaigning to advance universal broadband access for all Coloradans, so they can be effective participants in the new information age.
Working for change is never easy and we will need your help to win. You can make the difference by contacting your legislators and helping to bring attention to these important issues. We can make our democracy stronger in Colorado.
Thanks to everyone who made it through cold and snow to join us for our annual fundraising breakfast!
At the event we celebrated the impact our organization has in Colorado.
* During the 2008 legislative session we fought to protect voters against onerous ID requirements for voting and worked to defend the initiative process.
* We hosted a symposium on media reform at the Democratic National Convention, with Dan Rather as one of our featured speakers.
* We led the coalition of Just Vote Colorado which assisted voters around the state.
We were fortunate to have some great speakers at our event last week. Common Cause President and CEO Bob Edgar was there to remind us that we are the leaders we have been waiting for, and called on us to act. Colorado Speaker-Elect Terrance Carroll laid out his vision for building a stronger Colorado by ensuring that all Coloradans are included in the circle of opportunity. We were also proud to honor Nan Morehead and Bill Parsons, two longtime Colorado Common Cause board members.
During this holiday season, we feel so fortunate to be part of such a strong organization, evidenced by our supporters in the community. Together we are building a stronger Colorado.
From all of us at Colorado Common Cause, Happy Holidays.
Jenny, Elena and Katie
Colorado Election Reform Commission Meeting
December 14, 2008
Commission will be meeting this Tuesday, December 16th in the Capitol
Building to discuss several topics, including the Statewide Colorado
Registration and Elections System (SCORE) and paper versus machine
The Colorado Election Reform Commission met for the first time last week, hearing public testimony on what changes are needed in Colorado, including testimony from CCC executive director, Jenny Flanagan.
Colorado's Election Reform Commission was established by 2008 legislation to study the state’s elections system and recommend reforms to the Legislature. The commission is meeting for the first time on Wednesday, November 12 to discuss their activities and hear public testimony, including a statement from Colorado Common Cause Executive Director Jenny Flanagan.
CCC looks forward to working with the commission to advance reforms that will ensure that all of Colorado’s eligible voters are able to vote and have confidence that their votes are counted accurately.
Congratulations to everyone that helped protect the vote this year. Although there were problems related to provisional ballot confusion and voter registration, Election Day ran relatively well. Now comes the important work as our counties continue the count of mail in and provisional ballots.
We would like to thank the hundreds of Just Vote Colorado volunteers. With your help we were able to assist voters throughout the day and gather information about how voting went in Colorado. Our volunteers helped to guide voters to the right polling places, inform voters about acceptable forms of ID’s and listen to voters report problems throughout the day.
Colorado voters also rejected Referendum O, opposed by Colorado Common Cause, which would have created significant barriers to the initiative process for grassroots organizations, while doing nothing to rein in well funded, out-of-state interests. Voters recognized that the initiative process is an important part of our state’s governance, because it allows Coloradans to address critical issues when the Legislature will not.
Referendum O did include some good provisions to incentivize the use of statutory initiatives rather than constitutional amendments, and we look forward to continuing the conversation about how to improve the initiative process with the Legislature and others.
VOTERS HAVE ONGOING QUESTIONS ABOUT ELECTION LOGISTICS SIGNIFICANT PROBLEMS REPORTED IN SOME COUNTIES
November 4, 2008
Voters can call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) to report issues at the polls
Visuals at Denver Call Center—1089 Bannock Street
Election Protection & Just Vote Colorado are closely monitoring voter requests for assistance and reports of problems at the polls through its hotline (866-OUR-VOTE), web site (www.JustVoteColorado.org) and tens of thousands of volunteers across the country. Already 200 requests for assistance have been received from Colorado voters, most of which have been inquiries about voting locations and how to turn in mail ballots. Legal volunteers are working with voters to ensure that all eligible voters have the critical information they need to know where and when to vote and what they need to take with them to the polls. Just Vote Colorado and Election Protection also have more than 200 volunteers assisting voters at key polling places throughout the state.
- Problems with both paper and electronic poll books
In addition to ongoing questions from voters who have questions about Election Day logistics, Just Vote Colorado is also working to resolve these issues quickly to ensure that no one leaves their polling location without voting. Voters should stay patient and cooperative in the meantime and report all problems to Just Vote Colorado and Election Protection’s 866-OUR-VOTE hotline immediately.
Colorado polls close today at 7pm and Election Protection & Just Vote Colorado will continue to monitor activity throughout the state and update you with new information about Election Day problems as they arise.
If you or anyone you know has questions about your voting rights, the 1-866-OUR-VOTE Hotline has thousands of trained volunteers and legal experts available to provide direct assistance to voters in Colorado. Experts can help voters understand their rights, verify their registration status, find their polling place, and resolve Election Day issues.
It’s almost Election Day!
November 2, 2008
If you haven’t voted already, be sure to drop off your mail-in ballot or visit your voting location on Tuesday.
You can find out if you’re registered to vote, where to vote, where to drop off your mail-in ballot, other county specific information and also report problems at www.JustVoteColorado.org.
Denver — The Court today again today told Secretary Coffman to cease and desist from any additional removal of names before Election Day. In an emergency hearing held by phone, U.S. District Judge John Kane emphasized in clear language that Secretary Coffman’s purge practices had violated federal law. Notably, while the court said that the conduct did not rise to the level of contempt, the Judge did consider the Secretary’s conduct to be "obdurate."
In response to the news, Jenny Flanagan, executive director of Colorado Common Cause, one of the plaintiffs in the case along with the Service Employees International Union and Mi Familia Vota, issued the following statement:
“The Court has now sent a clear and binding message to state and local election officials that every legitimate voter should be able to vote, every vote should be counted, and anyone who interferes with the voting process should be held accountable.
The agreement reached on Wednesday provided a critical safeguard for wrongfully removed voters from Colorado's voter list. Secretary Coffman’s brazen remarks in news reports this morning indicated that he was refusing to comply with the Court’s initial order. Thankfully the Court has once again stepped in and put voters first.”
VOTER GROUPS CRY FOUL AS COFFMAN CONTINUES ILLEGAL PURGE
October 31, 2008
Court Schedules Emergency Hearing for 1:00 p.m. MST Today
Denver — The Rocky Mountain News today reported that Secretary of State Mike Coffman was still canceling voters from state registration rolls despite a court-approved agreement with voting rights and good-government groups to protect voters from systematic purges. The groups have asked the court to enforce the order, and U.S. District Judge John Kane has scheduled an emergency hearing for 1:00 p.m. MST today.
In light of these developments, Jenny Flanagan, executive director of Colorado Common Cause, issued the following statement:
“We are outraged that Secretary Coffman is continuing with the illegal removal of Colorado voters from the state registration list. This is contrary to a court-approved agreement to protect voters from systematic purges and contrary to representations that the Secretary of State made in court. We have asked for and received an emergency hearing with the court, and we hope for a quick and just resolution so that every legitimate voter who wants to vote can do so and so that every vote gets counted.”
PURGED COLORADO VOTERS WIN UNPRECEDENTED PROTECTIONS TO ENSURE VOTES ARE COUNTED
October 30, 2008
DENVER — An agreement reached late yesterday before a federal judge in Colorado ensures that tens of thousands of Colorado voters illegally purged from the registration lists will have their votes counted. The decision was hailed by voting rights and good-government groups in Colorado and nationwide as a victory for voters and a clear message that election officials must take the necessary steps to make sure ballots cast by eligible voters are counted.
“This is a great victory for working families in Colorado. This lawsuit was filed to protect voters and make sure no one will be turned away on Election Day,” said Grace Lopez Ramirez, Colorado state director of Mi Familia Vota, one of the plaintiffs along with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Common Cause. “Voters will be assured that their voices will be heard.”
Election Protection Groups Ask Court to Protect Colorado Voters from Illegal Purge
October 25, 2008
On August 24, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Colorado Common Cause, Mi Familia Vota, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) asking a federal court to reinstate approximately 30,000 Colorado voters who were illegally purged by Secretary of State Mike Coffman from the state’s voter registration lists.
“Legitimate voters should have their voices heard. By returning wrongfully purged voters to the list we can ensure their rights are protected,” explained Jenny Flanagan, Executive Director of Colorado Common Cause. “That’s not just common sense. It’s also the law.”
CCC urges the Secretary of State to Protect Voters
October 13, 2008
Colorado Common Cause, along with a broad coalition of organizations, is urging Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, to immediately modify the state's policy regarding voter registration forms that are complete but for the voter’s failure to place a checkmark in an unnecessary box.
The current policy of treating these registration applications as “incomplete” has the potential to disenfranchise as many as ten thousand Colorado voters.
Independent Ethics Commission Provides Clear Guidance on Gift Law; Rejects Extreme Interpretation of Amendment 41
October 9, 2008
On November 7, 2006, Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 41 to set high ethical standards for those in public service and enhance the voice of ordinary Coloradans against the excessive influence of special interests and their lobbyists.
Since Election Day, the same interests who tried to defeat Amendment 41 at the ballot box have tried to defeat it through the Legislature and through the Courts. Today, the Independent Ethics Commission rejected the extreme interpretations of the law and provided strong guidance for a common sense interpretation of the gift ban.
COLORADO VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS NEXT MONDAY!
September 29, 2008
With only a few days remaining until the October 6th voter registration deadline, the window is quickly closing for voters to learn their rights and resolve any potential problems before they get to the polls.
There are a few key steps that Colorado voters can take today to ensure that their ballot is cast and counted on Election Day:
Colorado fares mid-pack for election readiness in review of swing states
September 16, 2008
As election officials brace for record-breaking voter turnout on Election Day, a close examination of voting preparedness in ten swing states shows that Colorado, while faring better than many of the other states studied, still has a number of significant problems in the basic functions of its election administration system, a new report by Common Cause and The Century Foundation shows.
Now that the exciting and chaotic week of the Democratic National Convention has passed, you’ll have time to take a look at what Colorado Common Cause did to raise awareness about the problem of the media.
It's Primary Day in Colorado and CCC wants to know about your experience! Help us find out where things are running smoothly as well as identify problems early, so we can work to resolve them before the November election.
This vote is allowing a monopoly on satellite radio to form, even as each company was mandated to remain separate and independent in their original licenses. Although FCC Commissioner Tate stated she "could not in good conscience support a government-mandated requirement on the backs of American consumers at this time," she is in reality supporting anti-competitive behavior that will lead to less diversity in the news industry and raise prices for consumers.
The Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) is moving forward. You can see our comments on the rulemaking process here.
The next meeting will be held on July 11th. Click here for more information.
IEC Moving Forward
July 7, 2008
Senate votes to rollback media ownership rules
May 16, 2008
In a near-unanimous voice vote last night, the Senate passed a "resolution of disapproval" that would stop the Federal Communications Commission’s new media cross-ownership rules from taking effect. The measure moves now to the House.Take action...Read more on CommonBlog...
Senate panel says no to FCC's more media consolidation
April 25, 2008
As Rupert Murdoch tries to add Newsday to his media empire, a Senate committee yesterday passed a resolution disapproving a Federal Communications Commission rule that could clear the way for more consolidation of media companies. The rule would allow one company to own the major TV station, radio station and newspaper in one city. That would be too much power in the hands of a few in the industry we rely on to help us hold power accountable...
Do you know what the digital television transition is? If not, please read on. If you have, you may not have heard the whole story. Coloradans who do not have cable, satellite service, or digital televisions will need a converter box to maintain access to the broadcast stations they currently receive beginning in February 2009. The digital transition will impact some communities the hardest, including low-income Coloradans, people of color, people with disabilities, older people and residents of the many rural areas of the state.
Today the Colorado legislature decided to table a measure,House Joint Resolution 1013, thatwould have helped educate Coloradans about this impending change and the options available to make sure that everyone maintains access to basic television programming, including news and emergency bulletins. It's unfortunate that this bill will not move forward, but we can help by spreading the word about the DTV transition.
Common Cause is disappointed that the Department of Justice has approved the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger, clearing the path for ever more media consolidation. We are calling on the Federal Communications Commission to halt this dangerous potential monopoly.Learn more...Take action...
March 20, 2008
Paper Ballots will not be mandatory in 2008. The attempt to move Colorado to an all paper ballot voting system was shot down in the Senate Appropriations Committee this morning. This effort, led by Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, had hoped to alleviate concerns raised due to the decertification of voting machines in Colorado last December. In today’s news House Majority Leader Alice Madden called the situation a “holy mess”! Read more here.
We couldn’t agree more, the upheaval in our elections is problematic on so many levels. The decertification (and then re certification) of voting machines continues to erode public confidence in our elections. We have read too many stories nationwide about the problems with electronic voting that it is hard to ignore. The best we can say is that now counties can begin the arduous task of planning and preparing for this upcoming election year.
We’ll be watching closely and working hard to ensure that every voter has the opportunity to cast a ballot and have it counted accurately – Coloradans deserve no less.
Today the Colorado Supreme Court reversed an injunction on voter approved Amendment 41. Following is a statement from Jenny Flanagan, Executive Director of Colorado Common Cause:
"Big money fought the law and the law won.
Today is the second win for open and honest government in the last two years. First, the voters passed Amendment 41 on Election Day in 2006. Today, the Colorado Supreme Court struck down the frivolous attacks on the voters’ ethics law.
In their decision, the Court rejected two years of fear mongering by lobbyists and special interests opposed to fair government.
All of the provisions of Amendment 41 as passed by the voters, including the ban on lobbyist gifts, are again the law of the land.
We have faith that the Independent Ethics Commission, now free to do its job, will carry out its duties as the people of Colorado wanted.
Voters supported the ethics law in overwhelming numbers because they wanted to level the playing field for all Coloradans, not just the wealthy interests who can afford to wine and dine the legislators.
Colorado Common Cause is committed to making sure that the ethics law is implemented effectively. We will work with the Independent Ethics Commission and our public officials to ensure that the law works for everyone.”
Record Turnout for Caucus a Good Sign for November
February 11, 2008
Colorado, like many states saw record turnout in our state Caucus on February 5th. We spoke with dozens of Colorado voters wanting to get involved, including many unaffiliated voters who were not able to participate. (Coloradans considered eliminating the caucus process in 2002 but rejected that proposal (See Amendment 29 of 2002). This year’s record turnout, has some asking the question of how to best participate in the primary process.
Speaking of state primaries – Colorado’s next big election is on August 12 – That’s less than 6 months away, and if you've been following the election news recently, you know our state has many outstanding questions before this coming election. With the decertification of voting machines, Colorado lawmakers are now faced with the challenge of creating an election system that can work for our state. At Common Cause we are working to ensure that our state puts the voters first. With record turnout expected, we must stay focused on ensuring that every eligible voter that wants to vote, has the opportunity to cast their ballot – and have it counted accurately!
Governor Ritter and Legislative Leadership Announce 2008 Elections Plan
January 24, 2008
On Wednesday January 23, 2008, Governor Ritter and a bipartisan group of legislative leaders announced that Colorado's 2008 elections will be held at polling places with paper ballots. Colorado Common Cause was part of a strong coalition urging the Legislature to adopt this recommendation. To read the coalition's letter, click here.
Colorado Common Cause will work with the Legislature, County Clerks, and the community to ensure that our elections are fair and accurate. Information about elections legislation will be posted on our website.
Colorado 2008 Legislative Session Starts This Week
January 9, 2008
2008 is upon us, and it is yet again time for the Colorado State Legislature to convene for the 2008 session. This year, you will be able to watch the Colorado House of Representatives live on TV and through the internet. The broadcast is named, "Colorado Open House" and can be seen starting Monday, January 21st on Comcast channel 165.
You can listen online to any of the committee hearings or floor debates at the legislature (both the House and the Senate) throughout the session by clicking here. Be sure to check back with us frequently so we can keep you aprised of the work we are doing at the Capitol to ensure our government is open, honest and accountable to the people of Colorado.
FCC Ruling on Cross-Ownership is Disappointing
December 18, 2007
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted today to remove the newspaper/broadcaster cross-ownership ban that stops a local newspaper from owning a broadcast station in the same market. National Common Cause President Bob Edgar is quoted as saying, "The FCC still doesn't seem to get it: Media Consolidation is bad for America. Today's vote to allow greater media consolidation is merely a handout to big business at the expense of the public. For Americans to get the information they need to participate in our democracy, we need more diverse sources of information - not fewer."
On Monday, Common Cause, along with the Media Access Project and Econometric Research and Analysis, issued a report that highlights the problems with the FCC and offers solutions on how they can be more responsive to the public interest. To read the report, click here.
Colorado's Elections Need Rethinking
December 17, 2007
Colorado's Secretary of State, Mike Coffman, decided today to ban most electronic voting machines from the upcoming 2008 elections. In a decision that has been heavily anticipated, Coffman said that a large number of the electronic voting machines currently being used throughout Colorado are not secure or reliable enough to comply with state law. To read the Denver Post article, click here.
Colorado Common Cause Executive Director Jenny Flanagan was quoted in the Rocky Mountain News article as saying, "We have to re-evaluate how we run elections in Colorado. It does mean right now that everything is on the table."
There was a hearing held on December 18 where the Secretary of State and key lawmakers got together to start thinking through some potential solutions. All potential solutions have to be addressed by the legislature, which begins the 2008 session on January 10th. A hearing for public comments will be held at the Capitol on January 3, 2008.
Former U.S. Rep. Jim Leach Chosen to Lead National Common Cause Governing Board
December 17, 2007
Jim Leach, who represented Iowa in Congress for 30 years, and was known for his bipartisanship and as a champion of democratic process issues, was unanimously voted chairman of Common Cause’s National Governing Board, the organization announced Monday. To read the press release, click here.
Colorado Caucuses to be held February 5, 2008
December 10, 2007
In presidential election years, Colorado uses a two-part nominating system for candidates. First, an Assembly is used to nominate candidates to national, state and local positions. Second, a Convention process is used to elect presidential electors, and to elect delegates to the national convention for the purpose of selecting the nominees for president and vice president. Colorado's 2008 Caucus will be held on February 5th at 7:00 p.m. in each precinct throughout the state. Anyone who is registered with one of the two major political parties is eligible to attend their caucus. To learn more about the caucus, click here to see a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Tell the FCC - No More Media Consolidation
December 6, 2007
Kevin Martin - the chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - has indicated that he wants to vote to loosen media ownership limits as soon as December 18. But he's not saying exactly what the new rules would be. He wants his agency to make this crucial decision behind closed doors, without public input.
Media consolidation is bad for democracy. The FCC’s proposal to allow cross-ownership of the media will harm the public’s access to the information we need to function in our democracy. The Media Ownership Act of 2007 is a bipartisan bill that would require the FCC to fully look into minority media ownership and media localism before any moves are made on cross-ownership. And it would require the FCC give the public adequate notice before any vote on new rules.
Click here to read Reverend Jesse Jackson's letter to the editor, "FCC Regulations Could Endanger Media Diversity" in the Rocky Mountain News.
Click here to take action and urge your representative to put a stop to media consolidation.
Loveland Approves Campaign Finance Reform
November 8, 2007
Voters in the city of Loveland approved a ballot measure for strong campaign finance requirements. Measure 2C, approved by 69% of Loveland voters on November 6, limits campaign contributions to $100 and bans direct corporate and union contributions. Colorado voters approved a similar law for state elections with the passage of Amendment 27 in 2002. Congratulations to Lovelanders for Fair Elections and everyone who worked to get big money out of Loveland’s municipal campaigns.
Aspen Voters Approve Instant Runoff Voting
November 7, 2007
On November 6, 2007 Aspen voters said YES to Instant Runoff Voting. Winning with 72 percent of the vote, the measure will eliminate low turnout runoff elections in favor of instant runoffs for municipal elections.
With Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), voters rank candidates in order of preference, i.e. 1 for your first choice, 2 for your second choice, and so on. If a candidate receives a majority of the vote, he or she is elected. If not, an “instant runoff” is held. The last place candidate is eliminated, and the voter’s vote is counted for their next choice (just like in a traditional runoff, where if your top choice didn’t make it, you would vote for your next favorite candidate). This continues until a candidate has a majority of the vote. The result is majority rule, like with a traditional runoff election, but in a single election.
The Aspen Times endorsed Instant Runoff Voting prior to this election. To read the editorial, click here.
Common Cause Week at the Colorado Supreme Court
October 30, 2007
The week of October 24th, the Colorado Supreme Court considered two cases of great interest to Colorado Common Cause.
The first was regarding the town of Marble, Colorado and was seeking to determine whether the town of Marble violated the Open Meetings Law during a 2004 meeting. Oral arguments were heard Tuesday, October 23rd. For more information on this case or to listen to oral arguments online, click here.
The second was regarding Amendment 41. In May of 2007, a temporary injunction was placed on the gift ban section of the law, and last week, the Supreme Court took up the issue. Oral arguments on this case were heard Thursday, October 25th. The court is expected to render a decision by the end of the year. To learn more about this case or to listen to the oral arguments, click here.
Latino Voter List Cut in Half by Inactive Voter Policy
October 9, 2007
Voters in heavily Latino districts have relatively higher rates of participation in elections that are conducted entirely by mail, but only if election officials actually mail them a ballot, according to an analysis released today by Colorado Common Cause.
The study found that in May 2007, voter turnout in Denver's heavily Latino precincts was only 3 percentage points lower than for the city as a whole. In comparison, the turnout for the polling place election in May 2005 was 14 percent lower in those precincts than for the whole city.
The analysis also found that Colorado's policy of declaring voters "inactive" if they fail to vote in a general election resulted in a 50 percent decline of active registered voters in Denver's 48 heavily Latino districts. Denver as a whole saw a 38 percent drop in its number of active voters. Press Release.Full Report.
President Bush Signs Lobby-Ethics Bill
September 14, 2007
President Bush signed into law one of the biggest ethics reform bills in history on Friday. The law bans legislators from taking gifts from lobbyists or their clients, establishes a two-year revolving door before Senators can become lobbyists (one year for House members), bars House members and candidates from accepting trips on private planes, requires Senators and potential White House candidates to pay for their use of private planes, and requires lawmakers seeking earmarks to disclose their plans in advance...among other things. Click here to read more on this story.
Common Cause Calls for Withdrawal of Troops from Iraq
September 10, 2007
Common Cause's National Governing Board has approved a resolution calling on the United States to withdraw its troops from Iraq and establish a commission to investigate a range of war-related issues. To read the resolution, click here.
Denver County Names New Director of Elections
August 6, 2007
Denver County Clerk and Recorder, Stephanie O'Malley, named the new Director of Elections today. Click here to read more on this story.
Why Media Diversity Matters - Media Town Hall
June 30, 2007
On June 29th, Colorado Common Cause and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights hosted a Media Town Hall in Denver and Washington D.C. to highlight “Why Media Diversity is Important.”
The panel discussion moderated by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, included community leaders with a wide range of experiences working on media reform. Click here for more information about this event.
Alan O’Hashi, Founder, Kaeru Productions;
Wick Rolland, CEO, KBDI and former Dean of Journalism and Mass Communications, CU;
Flo Hernandez-Ramos, Founder and former CEO, KUVO;
Polly Baca, President/CEO, LARASA
(From right; Polly Baca, Alan O'Hashi, Mayor Hickenlooper, Flo Hernandez-Ramos, Wick Rolland)
Common Cause Calls for Elected Officials to Pledge to Follow Voters' Wishes
May 31, 2007
Judge Habas' decision to enjoin the gift ban adopted by Coloradans last fall is disappointing. Voters supported the ethics law in overwhelming numbers because they wanted to level the playing field for all Coloradans, not just the wealthy interests who can afford to wine and dine the legislators. Read more...
2007 Legislative Wrap-Up
May 11, 2007
The legislative session wrapped up 5 days early this year, but it certainly did keep us busy all winter and spring! In all, the Colorado legislature passed 474 bills this session, including legislation to advance several important reforms to improve Colorado's democracy. For an update on what happened during the 2007 legislative session, click here.
2006 FairVote Colorado Report Released
April 20, 2007
Colorado Common Cause released it's 2006 FairVote Colorado Report today. The report describes voting problems uncovered during the election and recommends improvements for Colorado's voting process. For more information about our FairVote Colorado project, click here.
Amendment 41 is an ethics framework
February 9, 2007
Amendment 41 established an ethics framework for Colorado. In the months since its passage, the conversation about implementation has been focused on many topics other than ethics. In the Denver Post, longtime Common Cause board member Martha Tierney discusses the need to implement Amendment 41 and move our ethics laws forward.
2007 Legislative Priorities
January 10, 2007
Ethics in Government. On Election Day, Colorado voters showed resounding support to change the culture of politics at the Capitol. This year, we will work with the Legislature to make sure that Amendment 41 is effectively implemented as voters intended.
Election Reform. We are committed to helping restore faith in our elections. With confidence at an all time low, we must encourage meaningful reforms that will bring better results. We have two primary goals in 2007: support reforms to ensure access to voting for all Coloradans, and improve voting systems so they are accurate and have integrity.
Money in Politics. The influence of wealthy special interests in the funding of campaigns has eroded public trust in our political system and discouraged political participation. This year, Colorado Common Cause will be working to hold the so-called 527 political committees accountable to the same requirements as other political committees in the state.
To learn more about Colorado Common Cause's work at the Capitol, read our 2007 Agenda.
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Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest and accountable government that serves the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard in the political process.