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Voting & Elections 01.22.2019

The New Yorker: How Voting-Machine Lobbyists Undermine the Democratic Process

Something similar happened last fall in Delaware, where the Voting Equipment Selection Task Force also voted to replace its aging touch-screen machines with a variant of the ExpressVote system. When Jennifer Hill, at Common Cause Delaware, a government-accountability group, obtained all the bids from a public-records request, she found that “the Department of Elections had pretty much tailored the request for proposal in a way that eliminated venders whose primary business was to sell paper-ballot systems.” Hill also noted that a lobbyist for E.S. & S., who was “well-connected in the state,” helped “to shepherd this whole thing through.” 

NBC News: With little oversight, the Pentagon uses role players for military training exercises

Aaron Scherb, the legislative affairs director at the nonprofit government watchdog Common Cause, said a comprehensive review of the program is long overdue especially in light of the Trump administration's decision to pull American troops out of countries like Afghanistan and Syria. "I think a GAO audit on the effectiveness of the program as well as a potential Department of Defense inspector general report would go a long way to determine how necessary and useful this program is, as the U.S. military continues to draw down in certain countries and regions around the world," Scherb said.

Money & Influence 01.17.2019

NBC News: Michael Cohen says he paid tech firm to rig online polls 'at the direction of' Trump

However, building a case against Cohen for these potential campaign finance violations would have been much more difficult than the case made over hush payments Cohen facilitated to women who alleged affairs with Trump, Paul S. Ryan, vice president for policy and litigation at the watchdog group Common Cause, tweeted.

Voting & Elections 01.16.2019

New York Times: Democrats in Albany Let the Good Times Roll

These heady times at the Capitol have some of New York’s liberals pinching themselves. Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause New York, a reform group, said she was recovering from shock after watching Democrats in the first hours of the new legislative session enact voting reforms that had been stymied for years. “It’s whiplash,” Ms. Lerner said. “Is there more to do? Yes. But today, we’re celebrating.”

Voting & Elections 01.16.2019

Newsweek: Diversity in Congress: Ambitious Agenda Calls for Great Expectations

House watchers suggest that the 116th Congress might also have a chance at denting public corruption. House Resolution 1, the first bill introduced this year, is a sweeping proposal aimed at money in politics, voting reforms and ethics. Those issues have broad bipartisan support in many states and localities, according to Aaron Scherb, legislative affairs director at government watchdog Common Cause. “I think a lot of the reforms at the national level will help advance the ball for when there is a more favorable political climate after 2020,” he says. 

Voting & Elections 01.15.2019

USA Today (Op-Ed): Voting problems are predictable and avoidable. Here's how to fix them before 2020.

The 2018 elections saw record turnout, with millions of Americans casting ballots to make their voices heard. Yet many faced problems in the voting process before, on and after Election Day — avoidable problems that states and Congress should fix. I saw this firsthand during my time at the Election Protection command center in Washington, D.C., where nonpartisan attorneys and trained volunteers took tens of thousands of calls from citizens across the country. Many of the problems reported were things we could — and did — predict were going to happen. Indeed, most of the problems voters reported can be solved with simple, commonsense reforms.  

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