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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 02.24.2023

Baltimore Sun (Op-Ed): ‘Moore v. Harper’ Supreme Court case could weaken Maryland’s election rules

"Oral arguments were heard in December, and a decision is expected by June, and if the Supreme Court rules in favor of these lawless North Carolina lawmakers, it would have a near-immediate impact on Marylanders. This case could pave the way for dramatic and discriminatory cuts to our popular early voting and mail-in voting options, widespread voter roll purges, discriminatory barriers to voting access, baseless challenges to fair election results, fewer protections against voter intimidation and widespread gerrymandering." - Joanne Antoine, Executive Director of Common Cause Maryland

Voting & Elections 02.11.2023

NBC News: Sex, drugs and deleted ballots? New Mexico elections official hit with ethics charge

Mario Jimenez, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico and a former elections official, applauded the ethics commission for investigating the matter but said he was nonetheless disheartened to learn of the allegations. "When I read it, I was nothing short of infuriated," he told NBC News. "We're losing public trust."

Voting & Elections 01.26.2023

Tampa Bay Times: Tampa election first locally to test new absentee ballot law

“Tampa is a huge city. A major city and it’s one of the first (to deal with the new law),” said Amy Keith, program director for Common Cause Florida, a branch of the national voting rights and government accountability organization. The extra step required to request a mail ballot for each election makes accessing a ballot harder, especially for the disabled, elderly, working poor and other groups, Keith said. “It makes it harder to participate, for people to have their voice heard and have a say,” Keith said. In the November election, one-third of Florida voters cast their ballots by mail, she said.

Voting & Elections 01.21.2023

HuffPost: Democrats Are Mounting A Push To Expand Voting Rights After Big State-Level Midterm Wins

“New York historically has been a state that did not keep up with other states’ election administration and voting reforms,” Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, a nonprofit that works on democracy-related issues, said.

Voting & Elections 01.13.2023

NPR: Despite mail voting changes, ballot rejections remain relatively low in 2022 midterms

Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at Common Cause, says that since the beginning of the pandemic, voting by mail or absentee has become significantly more popular. In response, some states expanded access to mail in voting. "What we also saw in 2020 was the demonization of vote by mail," Albert says. "This really affected state legislatures during the 2021 sessions. So, even though we saw a lot of states expand access, we saw other states restrict access."  She says that includes laws that set new limits on drop boxes, new ID requirements, as well as tighter deadlines for turning in a mail ballot. Albert says that even if the percentage of mail ballots that are thrown out remains relatively small, there were still hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. "who tried to have their voices heard but were silenced" when their ballot was tossed out. "We know that elections are getting closer," she said. "And we know that every small policy change actually can make a big difference — and a difference enough to flip an election." Particularly in local races, Albert says, a few rejected ballots could have made a difference in the outcome of an election.

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