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Voting & Elections 05.24.2023

Indianapolis Star: Voting rights advocates worry new Indiana law will disenfranchise vulnerable voters

It's likely the law will be challenged in court. Common Cause Indiana Executive Director Julia Vaughn said "it creates serious questions about violations of the United States Constitution and the Civil Rights Act." Several organizations including Common Cause say the legislation would disproportionately affect the elderly, minorities who already facing barriers to voting and voters who use alternate voting methods like travel boards or the military post card application. Voting rights groups are especially worried those who are eligible for assisted voting, such as people who are confined or blind and vote with an in-person board, won't have the proper or valid paperwork to apply to cast their ballot. "You can't put up administrative barriers at the ballot that could potentially disenfranchise people for no good reason," she said. "We don't think there's any good reason, any compelling evidence, that there's there's any good reason to do this."

Voting & Elections 05.23.2023

Mother Jones: Republicans Are Trying to Seize Control Over Voting In Texas’ Largest Democratic County

Harris County has become the epicenter for what Common Cause Texas calls the “Texas Edition of the Big Lie.”  “It’s a really intentional form of partisan takeovers of local election offices,” says Katya Ehresman, voting rights program manager for Common Cause Texas.

Voting & Elections 05.23.2023

Texas Tribune: Harris County must remove its elections chief under new legislation headed to Gov. Greg Abbott

“All of these changes together are forcing Harris County voters to live in a different set of circumstances than the rest of the state. This is creating a disparate scenario for those voters and barriers to well run elections,” said Katya Ehresman, voting rights program director at Common Cause Texas. “There’s a clear partisan element to that with Harris County growing in its Democratic stronghold. But there’s also definitely a disparate racial impact element to these bills continuing to pass as the county is home to the largest population of Black, brown, [Asian American and Pacific Islander] voters in the state.”

NPR: Is drawing a voting map that helps a political party illegal? Only in some states

State courts have become the battleground for partisan gerrymandering after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 2019 ruling in the case known as Rucho v. Common Cause. "For several decades, people in the states had held out hope that the Supreme Court would lay down a standard for finding that partisan gerrymandering had happened and potentially overruling maps where that kind of vote rigging had happened," says Kathay Feng, vice president of programs at Common Cause, the advocacy group that has also helped lead the ongoing case against a North Carolina congressional map approved by Republican state lawmakers.

Money & Influence 05.15.2023

The Guardian: ‘Impossible to hold him accountable’: DeSantis signs laws to ease 2024 run

“It looks like they’re laying the groundwork to transfer the money to some sort of vehicle that would support his presidential run,” said Stephen Spaulding, a campaign finance expert at Common Cause, a government watchdog group. “What that, again, goes to show is how loose the coordination rules are, how they need to be strengthened, and how existing rules need to be enforced.”

Voting & Elections 05.15.2023

Texas Tribune: Eliminating countywide voting in Texas would make the process harder on voters, cost more money, election leaders say

“It is stunning to me that this bill has moved forward,” said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas. “Countywide voting is the solution to so many problems.” “If we end countywide voting, we are just ramping up more and more confusion for Texans,” Gutierrez said. He pointed to a study by the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs, which found that confusion over voter ID laws kept some people from voting in Harris County.

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