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Voting & Elections 06.22.2022

Associated Press: Gov. Baker signs bill ensuring mail-in ballots, early voting

“We are thrilled that Governor Baker signed the VOTES Act into law today,” Geoff Foster, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, said in a written statement. “At a time when many states are making it harder to vote, this new law will modernize our elections and make our democracy more accessible and equitable.”

Voting & Elections 05.15.2022

Associated Press: In early primaries, voters favor polling places over mail

Common Cause Georgia deployed “self-help stations” around the state where voters could access a computer, printer and scanner to print out a mail ballot application before Friday’s deadline. “People are believing political propaganda and not understanding this is creating more hurdles to voting,” said Aunna Dennis, the group’s executive director.

Voting & Elections 03.28.2022

Roll Call: Biden budget seeks $10 billion over decade to improve elections, make ballots postage-free

Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at Common Cause, an independent citizens' lobbying group, said that much money would be “transformative” for states holding elections.  ... Albert said states often save the grant money they receive from the federal government for emergencies or for other unexpected reasons.  “Officials don't have confidence that more money will be coming. They don’t feel free to use it in a way that could expand access,” Albert said, praising Biden's call for sustained funding. “That would really allow election officials to create programs that really maximize access ... without worrying that they are spending money to expand a program but then next year have to roll it all back.” Expanding vote-by-mail programs in underserved areas could help people who live in rural areas and on Native lands vote more easily, Albert added.  The proposal could also solidify a Postal Service policy to deliver ballots regardless of whether they have postage on them. Currently, enforcement of that policy varies across the country, she said. “Adding something like this to law would ensure that that policy is actually followed,” she said.

Voting & Elections 03.24.2022

Salon: “Throwback to Jim Crow”: New Texas voting law means Black voters' ballots get tossed

"Texas was already the hardest state to vote in before Republicans passed these laws that made it even harder," said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas, in a statement to Salon. "What we're seeing today is a small preview of what we can expect to see at a far wider scale in November unless the federal government finally takes real action to intervene." Gutierrez said the Texas secretary of state's office was repeatedly told about the potential for these problems when the voting-restriction bill was going through committee. He suggested that state officials had "ample opportunity" to address these issues but "instead chose to focus on playing politics [as] implementation was left to local officials who received little to no guidance or communication from our state's chief election officer." He predicted "far bigger problems in November when we have exponentially more people showing up to the polls."

Voting & Elections 03.17.2022

MSN/Austin American-Statesman: Central Texas counties report 'higher than ever' rejection rates for primary mail ballots

“I think we were all worried about vote-by-mail requirements, but I don’t think anyone expected for it to be quite this much of a catastrophe,” said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of the nonpartisan elections and democracy organization Common Cause Texas, which is is suing state officials over SB 1. Part of the problem, Gutierrez said, is that he is not seeing an earnest effort from the secretary of state to alert voters of the new changes. "The secretary of state seemed to be doing little to nothing to educate Texans about the new requirements until the very last minute," Gutierrez said. "Counties were just given the statute and left to figure it out by themselves.”

Voting & Elections 03.3.2022

USA Today: Texas primary tidbits: Greg Abbott, Beto O'Rourke, Donald Trump, party in-fighting

"We saw vote-by-mail applications and ballots rejected at unprecedented rates, poll sites opening late or not opening at all due to election worker shortages, and widespread technology issues," said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas. Calling for federal action, Gutierrez said it won't get any easier for Texas or other states: "These issues we’re seeing today will be far bigger problems in November when we have exponentially more people showing up to the polls."

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