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Voting & Elections 09.9.2022

Salon: Election officials preparing for worst-case scenarios: Violence around the midterms

Threats have become so commonplace that election clerks consider it a part of their job, said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas. "These election administrators keep saying that they report things to law enforcement or local DAs and nothing happens, like nobody's being prosecuted," Gutierrez said. Common Cause, which does election protection work, is also looking at potential ways to hold people who attack election workers accountable. What has complicated that task, Gutierrez and others say, is that numerous people in leadership positions keep casting doubt on the way elections are administered. For an elected state official to embrace that narrative, Gutierrez said, "really perpetuates this feeling that the people running our elections are doing something wrong, or trying to rig the elections. Just naturally, that's going to create an environment where you're asking for some kind of violence to happen."

Voting & Elections 09.8.2022

WHYY: Delaware’s first ‘election protection’ program launches ahead of state’s primary vote

Common Cause of Delaware executive director Claire Snyder-Hall says the poll monitors will be in place in Wilmington, Dover, Lewes, and Rehoboth Beach. “One of the reasons we’re happy to have the election protection field program on the ground this year is because a lot of the voting laws have changed recently,” Snyder-Hall said. Changes include an expansion of early voting, vote by mail, same-day registration, and no registration deadlines. “Consequently, we expect that some voters might be confused by all those changes, and we are here to help,” she said, adding that volunteers will be able to ensure everyone can exercise their freedom to vote. “Several years ago when I voted, it was voting in Rehoboth. I was told that I had to show a driver’s license to vote,” said Synder-Hall. “And that’s actually not Delaware law.”

Voting & Elections 09.7.2022

Boston Globe: R.I. Board of Elections calls for new protocols after ballot problems

John M. Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, attended Wednesday’s meeting and tweeted, “Big takeaway for me is that there was no process in place that could have caught these mistakes. It’s a new technology implementation, which is hard, but there is a lot we could have learned from other states that have had them for years.” Marion and Steven Brown, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island, noted that the printed ballots voters received after using the touchscreen are in English, even if the voter opted to vote in Spanish. “Not only does this obviously undercut the point of having a bilingual voting process in the first place, it is in clear violation of the federal law that requires this Spanish language option in Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Woonsocket,” they wrote.

Voting & Elections 09.6.2022

Insider: Out of 18 pro-democracy bills in 2022, the US Senate filibuster torpedoed 17 of them: report

Common Cause also ranked individual members of Congress on their pro-democracy efforts, with 101 members — all Democrats — earning a perfect score. That's a more than 70% increase over the number of members of Congress who had perfect scores (58) in the 2020 Democracy Scorecard. Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn cited the legislative filibuster as the roadblock to pro-democracy reform.  "In the end, with high levels of support in Congress and an overwhelming outpouring of public support, Congress ran into one of the reasons our democracy needs to be modernized: the filibuster," she wrote in the report.

Voting & Elections 08.2.2022

Voice of America: Justice Department Investigating More Than 100 Cases of Threats Against Election Workers

The 1,000-plus harassing and hostile contacts made to election officials covered the period from June 2021 to June 2022. The trend continued in July, the task force told the election officials, according to Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections for Common Cause, who attended the briefing. ... In total, 89% of the contacts made to election officials were deemed protected speech and could not be investigated. “A lot of the questions were aimed at ‘Wait. Really? You can only investigate 11% of cases?’ And them saying, ‘Yes, I'm sorry but we can only investigate things not protected by First Amendment,’” Albert said.

Voting & Elections 01.13.2022

Bloomberg: Uh-Oh, It’s Another Election Year on Social Media

2022 is likely to be a year full of social media companies making content moderation decisions that politicians don’t like. Elections create an incentive for overheated or misleading claims, and all 435 seats in the House are up for grabs, as well as 34 of the 100 Senate seats. “Campaigns are using election disinformation in really novel ways, and we’re going to see more of that in 2022,” says Jesse Littlewood, vice president for campaigns at the good government group Common Cause. Republicans consistently accuse Twitter and Facebook of abusing their power, but Littlewood and other critics say social media companies allow too much content designed to undermine voters’ faith in the integrity of the electoral system to spread on their platforms.

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