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Voting & Elections 02.24.2021

Inside Sources (Op-Ed): Why We Need the “For the People Act”

We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass a new law, based on countless democracy reforms passed and successfully implemented in states across the country, the For the People Act. The bill, which will go to a vote of the full House the first week in March, includes provisions that will end secret, unaccountable money in politics, help ensure every voter, regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, or ZIP code, has equal access to the ballot box, end partisan gerrymandering, and strengthen conflict of interest and ethics laws for public officials. The For the People Act, designated as H.R. 1 and S. 1 in Congress, is the most comprehensive pro-democracy bill introduced in Congress since the Watergate era. It is the bold action that the American people want and deserve. 

Voting & Elections 02.20.2021

Washington Post: State GOP lawmakers propose flurry of voting restrictions to placate Trump supporters, spurring fears of a backlash

Aunna Dennis, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, said she found one provision in the Fleming bill particularly loathsome: the ban on early voting on Sundays. Republicans said the measure is intended to level the playing field between wealthier counties that can afford to provide weekend voting hours and poorer rural counties that can’t. But Dennis, who is Black, said she sees a more nefarious purpose to the proposal, which would upend Souls to the Polls, a long-standing tradition in Black communities to vote right after church on the Sunday before election. “There is such pride in being able to dress up in your Sunday best and cast your ballot with your family and your community,” Dennis said. As a working single mother, Dennis said, she also believes that the proposal would eliminate options for voters juggling complicated schedules.

Voting & Elections 02.19.2021

Reuters: Voting rights advocates decry 'devastating' Georgia measure limiting ballot access

More than 150 bills proposing new voting restrictions have been introduced in state legislatures since the November election, according to Sylvia Albert, voting and elections director for good-government watchdog Common Cause. “What we saw in this election was record turnout, and Republican legislators have responded by saying, ‘We didn’t actually want you to come vote,’” Albert said. Albert said her group is particularly concerned about new restrictions in states where Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the legislature, such as Georgia, giving Democrats less chance to block them.

Center for Public Integrity: Redistricting, Plagued by Delays, Carries High Stakes for Communities of Color

“State legislatures that already have very little incentive to make the process public and include people from traditionally marginalized communities are now going to have the additional excuse that they’re trying to meet a tight time frame,” said Kathay Feng, the national redistricting director for Common Cause, a nonpartisan nonprofit. Feng said Common Cause is working with community organizations to prepare ahead of the data release. They’re also warning them to “be on guard for midnight redistricting sessions” once the data comes out, she said.

New York Times: Pennsylvania G.O.P.’s Push for More Power Over Judiciary Raises Alarms

“We are in the last legislative session of this,” said Alexa Grant, a program advocate with Common Cause. “So we are the last line of defense.”

NPR (AUDIO): 6-Month Delay In Census Redistricting Data Could Throw Elections Into Chaos

There's a tension between the bureau having enough time to produce accurate information and states and localities having to meet redistricting deadlines. And that could create ideal conditions for gerrymandering, says Kathay Feng, national redistricting director for Common Cause, a government watchdog group. "There is a quiet conversation going on in legislatures right now about whether the delay actually might be a helpful game changer to allow them to pass midnight bills and do the dirty work outside of the scrutiny of the public," Feng says.  "We are heading into a redistricting cycle where it will be a bare-knuckle battle for control," Feng says. "Those who are in power are going to use every tool in the toolbox to try to eke out a win. And if that means passing gerrymandered maps in the dead of night, they're going to do it."

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