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Media & Democracy 02.8.2024

PolitiFact/Austin American-Statesman: Elon Musk wrong to say Joe Biden is recruiting immigrants to create a Democratic majority

It’s easy to discount such "conspiracy theory nonsense" from random trolls on X, but it’s powerful when it comes from Musk, who owns the platform, said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas, a group that advocates for voting rights. Democracies require participation, and falsehoods "only increase the likelihood that people will lose faith in our elections and simply opt out," Gutierrez said.

The Guardian: US supreme court to hear arguments on keeping Trump off 2024 ballot

“Our democracy is not a chaotic free-for-all in which anyone can be elected. The voters are entitled to decide within the framework of the applicable rules,” the good government group Common Cause wrote in an amicus brief supporting the challengers. “If Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment (“Section 3”) is not enforced in this case, there is a genuine risk that our system of government will not survive,” they wrote.

Democracy Docket: How Should SCOTUS Apply Section 3 of the 14th Amendment? Amicus Briefs in Trump’s Disqualification Case Have Different Answers

Common Cause reminds the Court that the Constitution possesses checks and balances for the very expressed purpose of preserving constitutional order. Their brief highlights many restrictions on who voters can select including restrictions on age and term limits. They aver that elections must follow the rules laid in the Constitution and the Court must not shy away from public pressure to ignore their duty to the Constitution. The Framers of the Constitution recognized that protecting democracy would require “uncommon portion of fortitude” when going against “the major voice of the community,” Common Cause argues .

Yahoo! News/Providence Journal: Everyone wants something from Rhode Island's part-time lawmakers. Here's the list.

"It targets specific instances when the government has used APRA to stonewall specific requests, like RIDOT's decision to withhold accident data it collects from all of Rhode Island's municipalities," says John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island. "With respect to the Washington Bridge emails," he said of emails for which different media outlets were charged anything from zero to $450 for the same 236 pages, "the bill would lower the costs by doubling the amount of free search time given for each request, and providing two hours of free time for redaction." "Given that this was the biggest news story in the state," Marion said of the highway bridge closure, "requiring advance payment from multiple legacy news organizations before release of the documents was a case of RIDOT using APRA as a shield in a way that undermines the purpose of the APRA."

San Diego Union Tribune: In Chula Vista, when it comes to public records, not much is public

Sean McMorris of California Common Cause, a Los Angeles-area nonprofit that advocates for good government and open records, said there are many reasons cities should post responses to public-records requests. Activists, lawyers, business owners and everyday citizens can review the postings themselves without having to interrupt city employees by submitting a redundant request, he said. "It also creates a record for the city in terms of litigation," McMorris said. "It induces them to respond more thoroughly because the record is there." In cases of lawsuits, "the city could use it to defend itself and vice-versa." But too often, McMorris said, government agencies choose to direct people into new requests.

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