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ProPublica/MSN: Wisconsin Picks New Legislative Maps That Would End Years of GOP Gerrymandering

Good-government groups applauded the possibility of a legislative agreement, largely because it brings about stability and a measure of political certainty until the next redistricting process, after the 2030 census. Besides, said Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause Wisconsin, “The governor’s maps are pretty darn good.”

Voting & Elections 02.14.2024

WUNC: Poll workers, voters adapting to North Carolina's photo ID requirement

Opponents of the ID law, like Common Cause North Carolina's Ann Webb, point out that while its supporters say it will boost election integrity, there is virtually no evidence of the kind of individual voter fraud it would stop. "Ultimately, what the question is here is: What are we gaining from photo ID?" Webb rhetorically asked. "What's really critical at this point is that folks aren't disenfranchised by the uncertainty of what this new requirement means."

Media & Democracy 02.14.2024

Colorado Politics/Colorado Springs Gazette: Colorado bill tasking attorney general to study online 'misinformation' sparks First Amendment debate

Andrew Barton of Colorado Common Cause, who supports the measure, said his organization has conducted an independent analysis of social media posts and that the study revealed an increasing prevalence of "misinformation" about candidates for office, election processes, and the validity of the country's voting system. "Our democratic institutions only work when we can all engage with them accurately and honestly," Barton said. "Because of the threat of misinformation and disinformation, it's imperative that data around how such information is spread through online media sources can be gathered and examined so the legislature can develop data-driven solutions that help build understanding and trust within our political systems."

Media & Democracy 02.14.2024

Yahoo! News/USA Today: As the cradle of tech, California looks to be leader in AI regulation

Jonathan Mehta Stein is a co-founder of The California Initiative for Technology and Democracy, a project of good government group California Common Cause, which has been advising legislators on the threats emerging technologies pose to democracy. He points to the growing use of AI in elections across the world as evidence it's no longer a theoretical, but an active practice. In the first month of 2024, deepfakes promulgating misinformation in Bangladeshi and Slovakian elections proved to be significant election disruptions. Here in the United States, AI-generated content is met with considerable concern on the heels of rising political violence and distrust in election processes. "All of these new technologies that can deceive voters and undermine elections are coming on the heels of other depressing trends," Stein said. "In our democracy, trust in institutions and in the media are all-time lows. Beliefs that our elections are being run securely and votes are counted accurately are in doubt among huge percentages of the American population."

Voting & Elections 02.14.2024

South Bend Tribune (Op-Ed): Our civic health is on life support. Indiana's legislature doesn't care

The recent Indiana Civic Health Index should be a wakeup call for Indiana elected officials, like the alarm of medical devices alerting doctors and nurses to a patient in need of urgent care.   If you haven’t read the report, let me call out the alarms clearly. Indiana:   * ranked 50th in voting in the 2022 elections   * has consistently ranked in the bottom 10 in voting for the last 13 years  * moved backward in the rankings for both voting participation and voter registration in the last 11 plus years.   

Voting & Elections 02.13.2024

Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Yahoo! News: Texas voter fraud activist leads closed-door poll watcher training at Arlington church

Such training sessions and the election day actions for which they prepare attendees are less about ensuring integrity in Texas elections than they are about voter intimidation, according to Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas, a nongovernmental organization that works to expand voting rights. While he was unaware of what Pressley’s session was to cover, he said in a phone interview that such groups “seem to be going out of their way to use poll watchers to intimidate or at least harass voters of color in different parts of the states.” Gutierrez pointed to a 2021 video of a Harris County Republican Party presentation in which a man identifying with the county’s Republican Party said that they were trying to recruit an “army” of 10,000 poll workers to fight voter fraud. In the video, the presenter can be seen using a cursor to point to a predominantly white part of Houston. He says that they were looking to recruit people with “the confidence and courage to come down in here” — moving the cursor to predominantly Black and Brown communities — to fight voter fraud. Gutierrez expressed concern over the lack of transparency of Tuesday’s training session in Arlington. “If groups are kicking people out of their training, you have to wonder what they’re training people on,” he said.

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