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Voting & Elections 07.26.2022

Wisconsin Examiner (Op-Ed): Wisconsin must repudiate this Trump-ordered assault on voting and fair elections

Republicans appear to have cynically calculated that these “ballot security” measures to suppress the vote may be harmful to some of their own voters, but that it will block  more Wisconsinites who might vote for their political opponents.  Republicans have targeted voters who reside in urban areas like Milwaukee, Madison, Racine and Green Bay. They have also homed in on college and university students by making it more difficult for that population to vote, even with a college-issued photo ID, than almost anywhere else in the nation. Most cruelly, Republicans have targeted Wisconsinites with disabilities, the elderly and the poor who must rely on public transportation and don’t have or cannot easily obtain the required photo ID needed to vote in Wisconsin. Republicans have not always behaved like this in Wisconsin. The question now is when, or even if, they will come to their senses and abandon this vicious assault on the very essence of our being as Americans, a promise that has made this state and this nation a beacon of  freedom and hope in the world: our 233-year-old commitment to free and fair elections.

The Guardian: Republicans keep gerrymandered maps – after they were struck down by court

When I called up Catherine Turcer on Tuesday, she mentioned that her daughter had just sent her a text message saying it must feel like she’s living the same day over and over again. Turcer is the executive director of the Ohio chapter of Common Cause, a government watchdog group, and one of the most knowledgeable people about redistricting in her state. Earlier that morning, the Ohio supreme court struck down the map for the state’s 15 congressional districts, saying they were so distorted in favor of Republicans that they violated the state constitution. It was the seventh time this year the court has struck down either a congressional or state legislative map this year (it has struck down the congressional map twice and state legislative districts five times). Turcer and I have spoken several times over the last few months as the saga in Ohio has unfolded, and she is not someone who sugar coats things. I’ve been interested in her perspective as someone who was initially optimistic about the reforms – she fought to pass them – but has seen the reality of how Republicans have brazenly ignored them this year. “It’s incredibly painful to participate in elections that you know are rigged,” she told me. “I’ve been encouraging folks to look at the upcoming elections as important to participate because if we do just opt out, we would have even worse representation.”

Voting & Elections 07.20.2022

Electoral Count Act Reform a Needed Step to Respect Election Results

Americans deserve to know their votes will be counted and their voices heard in our elections. Reform of the antiquated Electoral Count Act is an important step to safeguard the results of free and fair elections. President Trump and his associates came exceptionally close to engineering an overthrow of the 2020 election, as the January 6th Select Committee’s hearings have made clear. They did so in part by making bogus assertions about how the Congress should discharge its certification duties of the presidential election, inciting a violent mob, and convincing 147 Congressional Republicans to vote to overturn the election. Part of this plot included testing arcane provisions of the law that must be modernized and clarified before it happens again.

Voting & Elections 07.8.2022

USA Today/Gannett: Facing DOJ lawsuit, Arizona could be model for states to require proof of citizenship to vote

“What’s happening is that mechanisms of voter suppression are getting more sophisticated and more tailored," said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at the good government group Common Cause. That isn't limited to new Americans. People who were born at home or on reservations or those whose documents were lost in natural disasters could have their right to vote jeopardized by similar laws, Albert said. More:New election laws could create barriers for voters with disabilities Accessing those documents can require navigating cumbersome processes and traveling to small government offices to get copies, she said. “If you are working an hourly job and are the main breadwinner of your family, you can’t go to another state to look at how to go about getting a copy of your birth certificate,” Albert said. While Arizona and Mississippi so far are the only states to adopt proof of citizenship requirements, Voting Rights Lab found 25 pieces of legislation proposed with similar provisions in 10 states, including Pennsylvania, Idaho and New York. “We know that bad efforts spread quickly as other states see the success of voter suppression in other states," Albert said.

Washington Post: Democracy advocates raise alarm after Supreme Court takes election case

“This is part of a broader strategy to make voting harder and impose the will of state legislatures regardless of the will of the people,” said Suzanne Almeida, director of state operations for Common Cause, a nonpartisan pro-democracy group. “It is a significant change to the power of state courts to rein in state legislatures.” ... Voting rights advocates point to that decision, specifically a quote from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., as evidence that the Supreme Court has previously believed state courts have an oversight role. “Provisions in state statutes and state constitutions can provide standards and guidance for state courts to apply” in policing partisan gerrymandering, Roberts wrote for the majority in Rucho v. Common Cause.

Politico: The Supreme Court has chipped away at the Voting Rights Act for 9 years. This case could be the next blow.

Kathay Feng, the national redistricting director at the good government group Common Cause, compared preclearance to the ability to prevent a repeat arson. “But unfortunately, with Shelby County, we have to allow a building to burn down before we can go and seek some kind of justice and by then the harm has already happened,” she said.

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