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Voting & Elections 03.29.2023

Miami Herald (Op-Ed): Speak up, Floridians, before the Legislature takes away our right to speak freely

We are being silenced in Florida, with dangerous legislation making its way through the state Legislature that could stifle the ability of everyday Floridians to speak freely. House Bill 991 and the companion bill Senate Bill 1220 would dramatically change our state’s defamation laws and allow for monetary judgments when elected officials or others think they’ve been slighted on social media or in critical press reports. By doing away with the long-held standard of proving actual malice or ill intent in a defamation case, Florida would be inviting frivolous lawsuits to proliferate and arming elected officials and others with the ability to silence outspoken critics.

Omaha World-Herald: Nebraska Gov. Pillen not releasing event schedule, criticized for lack of access, accountability

Gavin Geis, executive director for Common Cause Nebraska, said he believes Pillen should continue the tradition of governors sharing their schedule with the public. “Government transparency and accountability are not just enshrined in state law but are what Nebraskans expect from elected leaders,” he said. “The governor’s schedule gives us all insight into his priorities and helps keep the public informed about the work he’s doing on our behalf,” Geis continued. “While it may be an afterthought for some, it’s an important part of bringing voters into the hard work of governing.”

Honolulu Civil Beat: ‘Pay To Play’: Hawaii Moves To Expand The Ban On Contractor Campaign Donations

Heather Ferguson, director of state operations for Common Cause, said the good-government group supports extending Hawaii’s ban on contractor donations to include at least the officers of a contracted entity. “It erodes public trust when contractors are allowed to contribute to campaigns because of the public perception of those donations due to many of the high-profile federal cases,” Ferguson said. “It would be helpful for the public to know that contractors can’t use campaign contributions as an additional way to bid for a job.”

New York Magazine: Democrats Defeat Kathy Hochul’s Pick to Be New York’s Top Judge

Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause New York, said she was “horrified” Hochul was contemplating hiring a litigator, adding that it would be “a brutal attack on a democratically elected institution.”

Voting & Elections 01.12.2023

VoteBeat/Texas Tribune: Ken Paxton wants more power to prosecute election crimes. These bills in the Texas Legislature would give it to him.

Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas, said the bills would also hamper election worker recruitment. “The potential for prosecution if you mess something up, that Ken Paxton just decides is not a mistake but a violation of the law, is going to dissuade voters and also the people who are qualified to do those [election administration] jobs from wanting to do those jobs,” he said.

Voting & Elections 12.21.2022

Austin American-Statesman: Texts paint an unsettling picture of Perry

"People who follow Rick Perry over the course of his career might think he was more moderate in the earlier days, when you look at immigration and the Texas Dream Act," said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas, a nonpartisan group promoting good government and fair elections. "When it comes to elections, though, Rick Perry was always out there, always into conspiracy theories and voter fraud narratives." He noted Perry signed Texas' first voter ID law, a measure so extreme the courts ordered the state to temper it.

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