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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.”

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.

The Guardian: Republicans keep gerrymandered maps – after they were struck down by court

When I called up Catherine Turcer on Tuesday, she mentioned that her daughter had just sent her a text message saying it must feel like she’s living the same day over and over again. Turcer is the executive director of the Ohio chapter of Common Cause, a government watchdog group, and one of the most knowledgeable people about redistricting in her state. Earlier that morning, the Ohio supreme court struck down the map for the state’s 15 congressional districts, saying they were so distorted in favor of Republicans that they violated the state constitution. It was the seventh time this year the court has struck down either a congressional or state legislative map this year (it has struck down the congressional map twice and state legislative districts five times). Turcer and I have spoken several times over the last few months as the saga in Ohio has unfolded, and she is not someone who sugar coats things. I’ve been interested in her perspective as someone who was initially optimistic about the reforms – she fought to pass them – but has seen the reality of how Republicans have brazenly ignored them this year. “It’s incredibly painful to participate in elections that you know are rigged,” she told me. “I’ve been encouraging folks to look at the upcoming elections as important to participate because if we do just opt out, we would have even worse representation.”

The Independent: Georgia on Trump’s mind: Why the former president has reason to be worried about an investigation into election interference

Aunna Dennis, executive director of democracy non-profit Common Cause Georgia, said she was “encouraged” by the grand jury’s progress. “The coordinated attempts by former President Donald Trump and his associates to discount and ignore the will of Georgian voters during the 2020 election cannot be swept under the rug,” she told The Independent via email this week. “Georgia can not continue to be the testing grounds for sensationalized propaganda attempts that are designed to deter voters from the ballot box. We need to know those who broke our laws in their dangerous attempts to hold on to power be held accountable. The transparency in this investigation into potential criminal misdeeds has bolstered my hopes that justice will ultimately be served,” she added.

Voting & Elections 07.8.2022

USA Today/Gannett: Facing DOJ lawsuit, Arizona could be model for states to require proof of citizenship to vote

“What’s happening is that mechanisms of voter suppression are getting more sophisticated and more tailored," said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at the good government group Common Cause. That isn't limited to new Americans. People who were born at home or on reservations or those whose documents were lost in natural disasters could have their right to vote jeopardized by similar laws, Albert said. More:New election laws could create barriers for voters with disabilities Accessing those documents can require navigating cumbersome processes and traveling to small government offices to get copies, she said. “If you are working an hourly job and are the main breadwinner of your family, you can’t go to another state to look at how to go about getting a copy of your birth certificate,” Albert said. While Arizona and Mississippi so far are the only states to adopt proof of citizenship requirements, Voting Rights Lab found 25 pieces of legislation proposed with similar provisions in 10 states, including Pennsylvania, Idaho and New York. “We know that bad efforts spread quickly as other states see the success of voter suppression in other states," Albert said.

Inside Sources/Tribune News Service (Op-Ed): Our Freedoms Are Under Attack

Recent headlines, from the January 6th Select Committee’s hearings to the Supreme Court rolling back the right to reproductive healthcare, profoundly implicate the freedom that many will celebrate this Independence Day. Opponents of democracy — a system that works best when it empowers people to have an equal say in decisions that affect their futures — have waged a well-coordinated attack on it. Freedom must be fortified, it must be protected at the ballot box, and it must never be taken for granted.

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