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Voting & Elections 04.12.2021

Stateline/Tampa Bay Times: Nation has Georgia on its mind, but many states are making voting easier

By and large, bills to expand mail-in voting and voter registration are passing in states that have Democratic legislative majorities and Democratic governors, said Sylvia Albert, the national voting and elections director for Common Cause, a national nonprofit that favors expanded voting options and has joined a lawsuit seeking to overturn Georgia’s new restrictions.

Voting & Elections 04.9.2021

NBC News: Texas GOP recruiting 'army' to fight voter fraud in largely minority areas of Houston

Common Cause Texas said the presentation, which is dated March 10, was circulated online by the Harris County Republican Party. “The impetus for releasing right now is there are some bills in the legislature that seek to empower poll watchers in some really scary ways, and also at the same time, take away the power of the presiding judge at the poll site from being able to remove a disruptive poll watcher,” said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas. The group blurred out the Republican official's name from his presentation for his privacy. 

Voting & Elections 04.8.2021

Washington Post: Video shows Texas GOP official seeking ‘army’ of volunteers to monitor polls in mostly Black and Hispanic Houston precincts

Now the government accountability group Common Cause Texas — which published the footage Thursday — is raising the alarm that such an effort could instead serve to intimidate and suppress voters in metro Houston. “It’s very clear that we’re talking about recruiting people from the predominantly Anglo parts of town to go to Black and Brown neighborhoods,” Anthony Gutierrez, the group’s executive director, told The Washington Post. “This is a role that’s supposed to do nothing but stand at a poll site and observe,” he added. So “why is he suggesting someone needs to be ‘courageous’?” Gutierrez asked. ... Gutierrez said the video highlights his concerns with the state Senate’s voting bill. He said the “brigade” of poll watchers would effectively be empowered to intimidate the most vulnerable voters.

Voting & Elections 04.7.2021

The Guardian: How Republicans are trying to prevent people from voting after ‘stop the steal’

Sylvia Albert, national voting and elections director of the government watchdog group Common Cause, called Republicans’ voter suppression efforts “shameless”. “These bills are shameless, partisan efforts to silence us,” Albert said in a media briefing last week. “And it’s not a coincidence that these bills are being introduced after a free and fair and secure election with record turnout. Americans exercised their right to vote and, in response, these politicians are saying, ‘actually, we didn’t really want you to vote’.” Quentin Turner, Michigan program director for Common Cause, said that Republican suppression efforts in the state targeted communities of color, particularly a proposal to restrict access to absentee ballot drop boxes after 5pm. “A lot of working-class people in Michigan, in Detroit especially, may not be out or done with their day by 5pm,” said Turner. “So they may not be able to go to a drop box that’s close to them. “While it doesn’t specifically say in the bill that it’s targeting Black and brown voters, the nature of the specifications of the prohibition would have a larger adverse impact in those communities.”

Voting & Elections 04.6.2021

Austin American-Statesman: Political fight over GOP election bills intensifies in Texas with economic effects debated

For example, in the name of standardized voting practices, SB 7 would close mega-voting centers at arenas and stadiums in large cities and ban extended voting hours, Common Cause Texas spokesman Anthony Gutierrez said. It also would allow poll watchers to shoot video of disabled voters getting help casting a ballot, change mail-in ballot drop-off rules and ban local officials from sending a vote-by-mail application unless requested by voters, he said. "SB 7 is over 30 pages of substantive and discriminatory changes to how voting works," Gutierrez said. "Dan Patrick is straight-up lying to Texans in an attempt to save his floundering voter suppression bill."

Voting & Elections 04.6.2021

The Guardian: The next Georgia: Texas and Arizona emerge as voting rights battlegrounds

Anthony Gutierrez, the executive director of the Texas chapter of Common Cause, a government watchdog group, said those statements were significant and could help sway lawmakers, including Dade Phelan, the speaker of the Texas house of representatives. Gutierrez has been involved in fights over voting rights for over a decade and said he could not recall another instance where there was the kind of broad opposition to the bills that exists now. “A lot of us are thinking that Texas is the next Georgia, but I think the big difference is all these prominent voices weighing in are coming in much earlier,” he said.

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