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Rolling Stone: The Dirty Tricks the GOP Is Using to Keep Abortion Off the Ballot in 2024

The landscape, meanwhile, is dramatically different in Democrat-controlled states. In Maryland, advocates have experienced virtually no resistance whatsoever, and say they are aware of no organized opposition. “We’re expecting a disinformation campaign,” says Joanne Antoine, executive director of Common Cause Maryland. “But outside of that we’re not hearing anything at all.”

Money & Influence 12.1.2023

Houston Chronicle (Op-Ed): How billionaires use dark money to take aim at Texas schools

We are waiting to hear whether Gov. Greg Abbott will announce yet another special session focused on school vouchers. Are school vouchers an urgent priority that necessitates an extra session of the Legislature? Not according to state lawmakers. Just weeks ago, leaders in Austin had the opportunity to pass the governor’s voucher program, and on a bipartisan vote, they declined. If you follow the money, school vouchers are important to the governor’s main benefactors: billionaires Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks and a special interest group called “ALEC.” Our new report, “ALEC-tioneering: Unmasking Money in Texas Politics,” sheds light on how big monied special interests have influenced public policy outcomes in our state using an all too predictable rinse-and-repeat formula.

Voting & Elections 11.6.2023

Salon: Ohio Republicans use taxpayer funds to boost "absolutely false" anti-abortion claims ahead of vote

"I get very worried. How do you have a democracy that is functional with so much misinformation?" Catherine Turcer, the executive director of government accountability group Common Cause Ohio, which endorsed Issue 1, told Salon. "Because we need good information to make decisions, and the misinformation doesn't just cloud the decision-making process, it doesn't just leave people with true misunderstandings. It can also completely turn off people so that they decide to opt out." Turcer said canvassers reported that constituents have expressed confusion about the moniker "Issue 1" in the Nov. 7 election, with many mistaking it for the ballot initiative of the same name in Ohio's Aug. 8 special election.  The League of Women Voters Ohio and Common Cause Ohio have worked to combat the misinformation given the high stakes surrounding abortion and reproductive care in the state. Turcer is hopeful that Ohioans will be able to "suss out the misinformation and the power grab" come Tuesday as they did in voting down August's Issue 1.  "One of the things that I think is gonna make a real difference is who shows up at the polls during early votes, who shows up at the polls on Election Day," Turcer told Salon. "I think at the end of the day, Issue 1 will be determined by who shows up to vote."

WHYY (NPR Philadelphia): N.J. is sending ANCHOR property tax rebate checks right before the election. Some pro-democracy watchdog groups question the timing

Heather Ferguson, director of state operations for the watchdog group Common Cause, said checks distributed 30 days before the election can lead to a public perception problem. “Everyone needs to take a lot of caution in ensuring that the perception is not that there are different tactics being used for electioneering purposes or to influence the vote,” she said. “The perception of a move like this, to send money to voters in the 30 days just preceding an election could certainly raise some suspicions.”

Voting & Elections 11.3.2023

The Guardian: Ohio purged 26,000 voters days before abortion referendum deadline

“We’d like to think that when the voter rolls are cleaned up, it’s the folks who’ve moved, it’s the folks who passed away, but unfortunately, other folks end up getting picked up and purged sometimes by accident,” said Catherine Turcer, director of Common Cause Ohio. The last-minute removal of more than 26,000 voter registrations and the numerous recent changes to voting requirements, Turcer says, “can become really problematic” for voters. “All of these little things combined create a situation where there are more obstacles to voters,” she warned

Ohio Capital Journal: Does Sec. of State LaRose have no Senate campaign HQ, or is it where he’s moving his state office?

“You need space,” said Catherine Turcer, executive director of the watchdog group Common Cause Ohio. “You need space to organize simple things like yard signs. A robust campaign actually needs at least one office — often more than one — if you’re going to be successful. Think about the number of media markets you have in Ohio. The secretary of state is running for the U.S. Senate.” “If in fact this has been planned for nearly five years, we should have been in the know for a really long time,” Turcer said. Turcer, of Common Cause, said housing parts of the LaRose campaign in the same building as his official state offices would raise the temptation for any state official to improperly use state space and resources in his or her campaign. In fact, it’s a violation of state law to solicit campaign donations from state office space. Turcer said good appearances are especially important when the elected official is also the state’s top elections officer. “The secretary of state runs Ohio elections and that means voters are scrutinizing him really closely,” she said. “They want to have faith that elections are well run and that’s a commitment that the secretary has made, and it doesn’t make sense to not set himself up for success by separating government work from campaign work.”

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