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Voting & Elections 01.29.2021

The Fulcrum Q&A with Karen Hobert Flynn: Common Cause to push states, Congress to strengthen voting rights

As Democrats take power in Washington, if only tenuously, many democracy reform groups see a potential path toward making the American political system work better. In this installment, Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, answers our questions about 2020 accomplishments and plans for the year ahead. Her organization has long been on the front lines of advocating for democracy reform. Hobert Flynn's responses have been edited for clarity and length.

Voting & Elections 11.25.2020

Inside Sources (Op-Ed): We Are Thankful for Our (Imperfect) Democracy

Our democracy has endured wars, pandemics, natural disasters and now a lawless president. And despite that, next year will likely bring more unexpected challenges that we’ll confront as a nation. We nonetheless must be thankful for what we have, as imperfect as our system is. Change has often been cyclical, and following the scandals of the Trump administration, we may soon have a once-in-a-generation opportunity. If one thing is clear, it’s that we’re on the doorstep of passing a comprehensive reform package to put “we the people” back in charge of our democracy.

Voting & Elections 11.3.2020

The Fulcrum (Op-Ed): This closing argument unites advocates on the left and businesses on the right

As business leaders learned in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder, keeping a low profile during periods of social and political controversy is not an option in today's fast-moving, information-hungry environment. Standing together, business and civil society can send a strong message that we won't tolerate any false claims about our elections or any attempt to manipulate results and overturn the will of voters. It's inspiring to see tens of millions of Americans sending in their mail ballots, standing in line to vote and taking active steps to participate in our democracy. We owe them a free and fair election, with every vote counted and all results respected. That's our mission in the coming days. The more people, organizations and businesses who join us, the greater our voice will be — not only on Election Day but in the crucial days to follow.

Voting & Elections 10.19.2020

MONEY: How to Support Voting Rights and Protect our Elections: A Guide for Where to Donate Money

Common Cause manages grassroots voter protection field programs for the Election Protection coalition mentioned above. It works with organizations in all 50 states to identify election reforms at all levels of government, including expanding vote-by-mail and ensuring safe in-person voting with strict public health and social distancing guidelines. The organization has recruited more than 35,000 volunteers during the 2020 election through its Protect the Vote program (four times more than they saw during the 2016 election), according to its national media strategist David Vance. Common Cause also has an online tool to help people quickly find their representatives, how to contact them, bills they’ve introduced, committees they’ve served on and political contributions they’ve received to ensure you have all the information needed to vote.

Voting & Elections 10.2.2020

Bloomberg: Democrats Gear Up to Watch Polls as Trump Mobilizes Supporters

There’s concern about the potential for clashes and problems at the polls, but it’s illegal to intimidate or harass voters, said Suzanne Almeida, interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania. The group is helping lead a coalition with about 1,000 nonpartisan “poll monitors” who will be outside polling locations across the commonwealth to ensure voting goes smoothly. “We are doing a lot scenario planning,” Almeida said. “The best thing we can do is prepare in advance.”

Newsweek: Mitch McConnell's 'Legislative Graveyard' Helping Current Congress to Be the Least Productive in History, Report Says

"The House of Representatives passed nearly 10 democracy reform bills, often with bipartisan support, this session, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked debate and markups on all of these bills and refused to allow a vote," Common Cause's director of legislative affairs, Aaron Scherb, said. The 2020 Democracy Scorecard, one of the group's initiatives, provides data on every current member of the House of Representatives and Senate, including their votes and co-sponsorships of democracy reform bills. Scherb told Newsweek that McConnell has been instrumental in blocking the current Congress from enacting laws. "There have been hundreds that have been passed by the House at this point. There have only been 158 enacted laws by this 116th Congress to this point. Yet there are hundreds of bills that have passed the House but continue to sit in Senate Majority Leader McConnell's desk, or his 'legislative graveyard' as it's been called," he said.

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