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Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer: Rigged legislative districts boost partisanship, diminish compromise: Civil Discourse Initiative

The reform proposals that voters adopted during the last decade to stop gerrymandering were thwarted because redistricting remained in the hands of politicians, says Common Cause Ohio Executive Director Catherine Turcer. Now, she’s supporting a new citizen initiative that would put an independent citizen commission in charge of mapmaking. She said states that redistricted through independent citizen commissions got legislative and congressional district lines that didn’t unfairly favor one party or another. “Ohioans put good rules into the Ohio Constitution, and those rules would have been adequate if elected officials had actually followed them rather than drawing lines that favored one political party,” says Turcer. “These folks are drunk on power. What do you do with someone who is drunk? You take away their keys.” Turcer, Miller, and others who back the upcoming proposal for an independent commission say legislative maps in Arizona, California, Colorado and Michigan became more competitive after they were drawn by an independent commission.

KUNM: Non-partisan groups offer mixed evidence to judge deciding fairness of NM congressional map

Dan Vicuña, national redistricting manager for Common Cause, said to back its answers to the test’s questions, “there is a range of evidence a court can use.” That includes qualitative data like legislative documents and testimony. Vicuña said that could mean asking questions like, “Were meetings held in secret? Did you see partisan votes in committees? Did you see secretive proceedings in which one party was boxed out of having any input?” Vicuña said the mixed results could mean the partisan intent suggested by the first test isn’t actually there, or that one test is potentially more appropriate than the other in evaluating New Mexico specifically. “What it creates is just an opportunity for experts to provide a variety of evidence and give the court an opportunity to weigh those,” he said.

Raleigh News & Observer: Town hall by town hall, some stirrings of democracy in North Carolina

Tuesday’s meeting was the sixth in a series of 19 statewide town halls sponsored by the good-government advocacy group Common Cause North Carolina. Several years ago in Raleigh, Moral Mondays protesters descended on the Legislative Building to protest the legislature’s actions. That movement faded during the COVID pandemic. Now Common Cause is seeking to rally people where they live. Gino Nuzzolillo, a 25-year-old staffer at Common Cause, conceived the town hall series and led the one at Gibsonville. “We can’t keep going to Raleigh,” he said. “We have to build a base in other places.” Across the state, Common Cause said more than 30 local advocacy groups have joined the effort.

Boston Globe: Rejection of Ohio ballot measure signals democracy remains powerful motivator for voters

“Clearly, direct democracy was being attacked, because the ability to gather folks together and collect signatures and take issues directly to the ballot was really in jeopardy,” said Catherine Turcer, the executive director of Common Cause Ohio. “We would have been left with a right that couldn’t really have been used.”

Voting & Elections 08.8.2023

The Atlantic: The Abortion Backlash Reaches Ohio

“It’s this ‘Don’t tread on me’ moment where voters are being activated,” says Catherine Turcer, the executive director of Common Cause Ohio, a good-government advocacy group that helped lead the effort to defeat the amendment. “Voters don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the Ohio constitution. They probably don’t spend a ton of time thinking about voting rights,” Turcer told me. But, she said, “the attempt to dilute voter power so that it would impact a vote on reproductive rights made it really concrete, and that was important.” Republicans in Ohio, and in other states where similar ballot measures have flopped, are now confronting the limits of their power and the point at which voters will rebel. Their critics, however, are doubtful that Republicans will shift their strategy. “It’s unlikely that they will stop right away,” Turcer said. “It will take a number of defeats before they’re likely to understand that voters do not want to be taken advantage of.”

Voting & Elections 08.8.2023

New York Times: What’s at Stake in Ohio’s Referendum on Amending the State Constitution

The executive director of Common Cause Ohio, Catherine Turcer, noted that the 1912 constitutional convention that birthed the current amendment provisions sought to check a corrupt and unaccountable government. Now, in the wake of perhaps the biggest corruption scandal in state government history — the racketeering conviction of the former House speaker Larry L. Householder for accepting $60 million in bribes — “the State Legislature should choose to actually make changes that create greater transparency and greater accountability,” Ms. Turcer said. “But they’re not. Instead, they’re playing around with the rules.”

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