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The Guardian: How Ohio Republicans ignore voters – and the governor – in power grab to pass laws

According to Catherine Turcer, the executive director of the government watchdog group Common Cause Ohio, which is part of the Citizens Not Politicians coalition, the group has trained about 2,000 volunteers to collect petition signatures. “It’s clear there’s this disconnect between what it is that ordinary Ohioans want, and what it is that the state legislature chooses to do,” said Turcer. “There is real interest in ensuring that we have accountable government.”

Gannett/Wilmington Star News: Are Black voters in North Carolina at risk with redistricting maps under litigation? NAACP, Common Cause and NC voters sue Republican legislatures for racially gerrymandered maps

On Dec. 19, the North Carolina NAACP along with Common Cause, a nonpartisan nonprofit advocating for fair and transparent elections, and a group of eight residents filed a lawsuit against Republican mapmakers, including Philip Berger, Tim Moore and the State Board of Elections, for passing allegedly racially adjusted and rushed gerrymandered maps. Bob Phillips, the executive director at Common Cause North Carolina, said in an interview that minority communities, like the Black community, will not get to choose representation that they see fit and that will impact how and if their communities' needs get met. Phillips, who has been with the organization since 2001, has seen years of gerrymandering, but believes that in recent years the issue has gotten worse. This isn't necessarily a partisan problem, Phillips said, rather a problem of whoever is currently in power. "Twenty years ago, Democrats were gerrymandering, not quite as robustly as they are now because they didn't have the technology for one, but they were in charge of drawing the maps and Democrats at the time had no inclination to consider redistricting reform," Phillips said. "The irony was I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Republicans in North Carolina calling for redistricting reform when the Democrats were in charge. Fast forward to today and it's reversed."

Politico/Yahoo! News: New House maps in New York stall as deadline for June primaries nears

“Conducting business behind closed doors is unacceptable,” Common Cause New York executive director Susan Lerner said. “Open your doors to the people. The people who live in congressional districts deserve a say in who will represent them.”

Omaha World Herald: Nebraska Legislature examines new rules to limit filibusters

Gavin Geis, executive director for Common Cause Nebraska, said the current rules serve as a safeguard that ensures a balanced approach to redistricting, a process that has received heavy scrutiny across the country for over-politicization. "The removal of party registration as a factor in selecting committee members may lead to a lack of diversity in thought and perspective, resulting in skewed representation that doesn't accurately (represent) the political landscape of our state," Geis said.

Voting & Elections 01.1.2024

Washington Times: Share of unelected legislators target of reform movement

Nearly half of the state lawmakers from Montgomery County and a quarter statewide were not elected before they were first seated, according to Common Cause Maryland, a watchdog group that advocates for voting rights and fair elections. Common Cause and some lawmakers aim to change the process during the three-month General Assembly session that opens on Jan. 10. A survey released in October by Common Cause Maryland found that 85% of the state’s residents favor a switch to a special elections system. “The General Assembly can’t continue to allow a handful of individuals to speak on behalf of thousands of voters,” said Joanne Antoine, executive director of Common Cause Maryland. “Letting another legislative session pass with no action continues to diminish the voice of the voters.”

Daily Beast: NAACP Says Racist Redistricting Aims to Silence Black Voters in North Carolina

The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Common Cause North Carolina—an organization to protect voting rights, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, filed the lawsuit accusing North Carolina’s state Senate, House, and board of elections of discriminatory gerrymandering. “In 2023, the North Carolina General Assembly redrew its state legislative and congressional plans to severely diminish the voting power of North Carolina’s Black voters,” the lawsuit stated. “The General Assembly achieved this by intentionally dismantling existing and longstanding Black opportunity districts and diluting Black voting power.” The lawsuit claims Black voters were purposefully targeted throughout the state, violating the Voting Rights Act and 14th and 15th amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

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