March 5, 2012
Dee Durham, (302) 981-1950
Common Cause Delaware Re-launches With New Leadership
The Delaware chapter of the watchdog group Common Cause has relaunched with a new board of directors and a new push to reform the way Delaware holds elections, discloses campaign contributions, and performs legislative redistricting. With 2010 offering a rare open race for one of the state's two U.S. Senate seats, an open race for its U.S. House seat, and offering the state legislature its last chance to reform its system of partisan redistricting before legislative districts are redrawn in 2011, "Delaware needs a strong watchdog now more than ever," said CC/DE spokesperson Dee Durham.
The race for Delaware's open U.S. Senate seat is considered one of the most competitive in the country, and offers an historic opportunity for the state to focus on election reform and encourage more people to vote. CC/DE supports having Delaware join the 32 other states that now offer some form of early voting. Delaware should give all voters the option to cast no-excuse absentee ballots, and should study the benefits of early in-person voting, and voting-by-mail.
Campaign finance reform will be another top priority, and CC/DE is advocating making information about campaign contributions available to the public in a fully searchable, sortable database. "The current system is not very user-friendly," Durham said. "If, for example, you wanted to know how much money the energy industry gave to candidates before Delaware deregulated electricity, you would have to spend hundreds of hours looking through individual reports."
In February, CC/DE will celebrate its relaunch, as well as the 40th anniversary of the 1970 founding of Common Cause, with an event honoring former Gov. Russ Peterson and former News Journal editorial writer John Taylor for their contributions to making Delaware state government more open and accountable. Last July, Common Cause honored State Sen. Karen Peterson for her leadership in requiring the state senate to more fully comply with the Freedom of Information Act.
The new board is chaired by Prof. Jeffrey A. Raffel, who is the Charles P. Messick Professor of Public Administration and immediate past Director of the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Delaware. CC/DE's new spokesperson is Dee Durham, who has been involved in public affairs in Delaware and Pennsylvania, working in the nonprofit sector with a focus on land use and preservation.
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.