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Washington Post: Ohio’s GOP supermajority tests limits of democracy before abortion vote

“This was about playing games with an election, not about playing around with the language that goes directly into the Ohio Constitution,” said Catherine Turcer, the executive director of Common Cause Ohio and a member of the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition’s steering committee.

Voting & Elections 10.2.2023

Denver Post: Colorado lawmakers often win seats with dozens of votes. Would a different process to fill vacancies be fairer?

“We have every confidence that lawmakers who enter the legislature this way are able to earn the trust of their district and represent the interests of the voters in their district,” said Aly Belknap, the executive director of Colorado Common Cause, an election-advocacy group. “Even so,” she added, “we know that this process doesn’t meet the standards of an inclusive and representative democracy because vacancy committees entrust this (decision) to a fraction of district voters.”

Honolulu Civil Beat: What Does Hawaii Have In Common With These Red States? A Fear Of Direct Democracy

There was a push to establish statewide initiatives, referendums and recalls during the last constitutional convention in 1978. A key proponent was the good-government organization Common Cause Hawaii. In a newspaper interview at the time, Common Cause’s Carol Zachary said special interests “can better use the established legislative process than they can the entire electorate. Their defense of the present system proves that they don’t want to give people the franchise. They’re scared of what they might do.”

Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer: Rigged legislative districts boost partisanship, diminish compromise: Civil Discourse Initiative

The reform proposals that voters adopted during the last decade to stop gerrymandering were thwarted because redistricting remained in the hands of politicians, says Common Cause Ohio Executive Director Catherine Turcer. Now, she’s supporting a new citizen initiative that would put an independent citizen commission in charge of mapmaking. She said states that redistricted through independent citizen commissions got legislative and congressional district lines that didn’t unfairly favor one party or another. “Ohioans put good rules into the Ohio Constitution, and those rules would have been adequate if elected officials had actually followed them rather than drawing lines that favored one political party,” says Turcer. “These folks are drunk on power. What do you do with someone who is drunk? You take away their keys.” Turcer, Miller, and others who back the upcoming proposal for an independent commission say legislative maps in Arizona, California, Colorado and Michigan became more competitive after they were drawn by an independent commission.

KUNM: Non-partisan groups offer mixed evidence to judge deciding fairness of NM congressional map

Dan Vicuña, national redistricting manager for Common Cause, said to back its answers to the test’s questions, “there is a range of evidence a court can use.” That includes qualitative data like legislative documents and testimony. Vicuña said that could mean asking questions like, “Were meetings held in secret? Did you see partisan votes in committees? Did you see secretive proceedings in which one party was boxed out of having any input?” Vicuña said the mixed results could mean the partisan intent suggested by the first test isn’t actually there, or that one test is potentially more appropriate than the other in evaluating New Mexico specifically. “What it creates is just an opportunity for experts to provide a variety of evidence and give the court an opportunity to weigh those,” he said.

Raleigh News & Observer: Town hall by town hall, some stirrings of democracy in North Carolina

Tuesday’s meeting was the sixth in a series of 19 statewide town halls sponsored by the good-government advocacy group Common Cause North Carolina. Several years ago in Raleigh, Moral Mondays protesters descended on the Legislative Building to protest the legislature’s actions. That movement faded during the COVID pandemic. Now Common Cause is seeking to rally people where they live. Gino Nuzzolillo, a 25-year-old staffer at Common Cause, conceived the town hall series and led the one at Gibsonville. “We can’t keep going to Raleigh,” he said. “We have to build a base in other places.” Across the state, Common Cause said more than 30 local advocacy groups have joined the effort.

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