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Voting & Elections 09.19.2019

NBC News: McConnell changes position and backs $250 million for election security

Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, said that far more is needed to secure the election system. "Providing $250 million in additional election security funding is like asking an army to go fight a war with horses and bayonets," Scherb said. The House passed a bill that would give states nearly three times more — $600 million.

New York Times: In North Carolina, New Political Maps Don’t End Old Disputes

Common Cause North Carolina, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to the redrafting, will submit a formal comment on the maps later, its deputy director, Brent Laurenz, said. “We were a little disappointed in the lack of public engagement in the process,” he said, and legislators in the House appeared to have tweaked some districts “more than needed.” “You still had politicians walking up there carving up their own districts to their advantage,” he said. “It was illuminating, I guess, to see them go up there.”

Money & Influence 09.13.2019

New York Times: Andrew Yang Said He Would Give 10 People $1,000 Each Month. Is That Legal?

“Andrew Yang’s use of campaign funds to give ‘freedom dividends’ to supporters would push the boundaries of, and perhaps break, campaign finance law,” said Paul Seamus Ryan, a vice president at Common Cause, a nonpartisan organization that promotes government accountability. “This unprecedented use of campaign funds would give rise to a bunch of novel legal questions.”

News & Observer: Democrats, Republicans both accused of violating court order as they redraw district maps

Lawyers for Common Cause, which won the recent lawsuit forcing this new redistricting session, say Senate Republicans violated a court order by ordering members of the media and the public to stay out of the area where senators and staff are drawing maps. “As a result of Sen. Hise’s order removing citizens and journalists from the map-drawing area, members of the committee were sitting at computers and amending maps without the public able to know how or why legislators were making changes to proposed districts,” Common Cause deputy director Brent Laurenz said in a press release.

Vox: The cracks in the GOP’s gerrymandering firewall

Republicans do not plan to appeal the decision in the case, Common Cause v. Lewis, so the 2020 election will likely be the first in nearly a decade where Democrats have a fighting chance to take control of the state legislature in North Carolina.Common Cause is just the latest in a series of court decisions and ballot initiatives that either undercut Republican gerrymanders or that seek to prevent either party from drawing similarly gerrymandered maps in the future. Court decisions in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have weakened Republican gerrymanders, while ballot initiatives in Michigan and Ohio seek to prevent either party from gerrymandering those states ever again.

Associated Press: Republicans begin complying with NC redistricting order

“If the justices in Washington, D.C., won’t protect people’s constitutional rights — won’t ensure that all voters have a fair opportunity to participate in our democracy — then the courts of North Carolina will fix the problem themselves,” said Stanton Jones, a chief lawyer in the lawsuit filed by Common Cause, the state Democratic Party and Democratic voters.

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