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Voting & Elections 08.3.2022

Associated Press: Election skeptics rise in GOP races to run state elections

Although secretaries of state are important positions, they do not have unlimited power, said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections for Common Cause, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for expanded voter access. “Even in states where the secretary of state has an enormous amount of power, a secretary of state cannot — by themselves — overturn a democratic election,” Albert said. “Even where these individuals may want to take actions to undermine the ability for voters to vote and have a ballot count, they are still limited by the law and checks and balances in place.”

Media & Democracy 07.31.2022

Newsweek: Donald Trump Slams 'Political' Decision to Drop 'Amazing' One America News

Verizon's move means OAN "will be left without a major carrier to spread its often harmful and dangerous disinformation and baseless conspiracy theories," said Yosef Getachew, the media and democracy program director at Common Cause, a government watchdog group. "This is a welcome change but long overdue." Getachew added: "We hope those remaining small pay-tv providers and streaming services still carrying OAN will follow suit and deprive the outlet of any platform to spread harmful conspiracy theories that have done real world harm. No company should profit from spreading content that endangers our democracy."

Media & Democracy 07.27.2022

Insider: Verizon inks multi-year agreement with Newsmax, the conservative network that continuously broadcasts conspiracy theories about the January 6 insurrection

Yosef Getachew, Media & Democracy program director at the watchdog group Common Cause, criticized that content-neutral approach, citing Newsmax's pattern of sharing false claims — not just from guests, but employees — about fraud in the 2020 election, which a judge recently concluded the network knew "were probably false" at the time they aired. "Newsmax has amplified and aired content about the Big Lie, mischaracterized the January 6th insurrection, and is continuing to fuel election disinformation, which is damaging our democracy," Getachew told Insider. "And it's Verizon that profits off that."

Voting & Elections 07.27.2022

TIME: Backers of the 'Big Lie' Are Trying to Run Local Elections. Democrats Are Finally

Running for local office isn’t easy. But whenever the going gets tough for Amanda Gonzalez, a Democratic candidate for Jefferson County (Colo.) Clerk and Recorder, she remembers the plot to overturn the 2020 election. “When I’m downtrodden, when something isn’t going the way I thought it would, that is a huge part of my everyday thought,” says Gonzalez, 37. “There is a set of people who will actively try to undermine or destroy our democracy.” As the executive director of Colorado Common Cause, Gonzalez has spent much of her career focused on state voting-rights policy. Much of that work involved crafting reforms that local election clerks would implement, including major nonpartisan election-protection efforts in 2018 and 2020. When the Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder—the official in charge of elections in the county—decided not to run again, Gonzalez decided to run for the post herself. “If it’s not me, it’s bad actors,” she says.

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.

Voting & Elections 07.25.2022

Boston Globe: Helping people discover their power through civic education

How does a community like Homewood, Pennsylvania, address the lead in the soil that’s harming children or the proliferation of vacant lots? Khalif Ali, executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, a nonpartisan organization that serves as a watchdog against corruption and voter suppression for Pennsylvanians, says it starts with creating civically oriented spaces where people can learn about the democratic process and unite with others experiencing the same struggles. He came to understand this long ago: His drive for social change started when he was a community organizer at Operation Better Block in Homewood, where his job was to form a civic association. He said he realized “civic associations are really the building blocks of a strong democracy.” “If you don’t talk to one another, you can’t begin to hold an elected official or a potential candidate accountable for those issues,” Ali says.

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