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Voting & Elections 11.18.2022

Center for Public Integrity: What voter turnout shows, and hides, about elections

Generally, turnout considers “the number of registered voters who actually get to the polls or send in their mail-in ballots,” said Khalif Ali of Common Cause Pennsylvania. ... The delays happen, in part, because Pennsylvania is one of nine states that forbids election workers from processing ballots before Election Day. The state’s Democratic governor and Republican-controlled legislature haven’t been able to agree on a bill to change that. Most other U.S. states, including Florida, New Jersey and Wyoming, do allow ballots to be processed pre-election. “Since we don't have that, then what is required of us is patience,” said Common Cause’s Ali. “I'm more concerned about an accurate count than I am a quick count.”

Media & Democracy 11.17.2022

WIRED: Twitter’s Moderation System Is in Tatters

Even when researchers can get through to Twitter, responses are slow—sometimes taking more than a day. Jesse Littlewood, vice president of campaigns at the nonprofit Common Cause, says he’s noticed that when his organization reports tweets that clearly violate Twitter’s policies, those posts are now less likely to get taken down.

Voting & Elections 11.16.2022

Austin American-Statesman: Fight goes on over election confusion; 3,000 complaints, most on 'mundane' matters

The bulk of the nearly 3,000 complaints that voters filed this election season with Common Cause Texas, a nonpartisan voter advocacy group, reflected procedural problems. People having difficulty figuring out where to vote, or whether they were eligible, or how they could correct a problem with their mail-in ballot. People not being told what to do with the printed ballot containing their selections. Or people, particularly in Harris County, arriving at a precinct that had run out of the paper used to print ballots. Any problem that interferes with a voter casting a ballot is an important one, of course. But it wasn't lost on Common Cause Texas Executive Director Anthony Gutierrez that most of the problems that voters faced had nothing to do with wild conspiracy theories. "We are short on Republicans who will speak out against the election deniers," Gutierrez said. Still, he wondered about the ability to find GOP figures in Texas who would sign on. Indeed, two-thirds of Texas Republicans still do not believe President Joe Biden was legitimately elected. Election deniers made strong runs for office around the country, and the massive layoffs at Twitter and at Facebook's parent company could allow even more disinformation to pour across social media platforms, potentially triggering political violence. Jesse Littlewood, vice president for campaigns at Common Cause, said many of us are like the proverbial frog in the pot of water, growing acclimated to rising heat instead of sensing the danger. "We are now in a pot of boiling water," he said, "and we haven't realized it."

Voting & Elections 11.15.2022

Inside Sources/Tribune News Service (Op-Ed): How Fair Voting Maps Turned Out Voters in the Midterm Elections

Pundits who focused on Democratic versus Republican battles before the election missed the real story — that fairly drawn voting maps boosted turnout and elevated voter choices in places like California, Colorado and North Carolina. The inspiring turnout of young people, women and people of color in the midterm elections came because people’s interests, and not politicians, were put first in redistricting. We saw this in Michigan, where University of Michigan students stood in line hours into the frigid night because they knew their votes mattered. But our democracy is fragile. On December 7, the Supreme Court will hear Moore v. Harper, which stemmed from Common Cause’s fight for responsive voting maps in North Carolina. The court will decide if state legislatures can rig voting maps and elections without facing the checks and balances of state courts.

Voting & Elections 11.15.2022

PolitiFact: How days of vote counting became go-to ‘evidence’ for false election fraud claims

"There was a major backlash to election officials and party leaders like President (Joe) Biden saying that it would take time to count votes," said Emma Steiner, disinformation analyst at Common Cause, a voting rights group. "We saw a lot of conspiratorial narratives arise saying they were ‘announcing their plan’" to steal the election. Conspiracy theorists seemed more likely to anticipate that results would take longer in 2022 — and to "just automatically view it as suspicious," Steiner said. In 2022, election deniers made a strategy of preemptively working to discredit any results that came in after Election Day, Steiner said.  ... "Mainstream platforms have been a breeding ground for conspiracies about elections," Steiner said. But more specific strategies linked to this narrative — such as the push to vote in person after 3 p.m. on Election Day — originated on less widely used alt-tech platforms like Telegram and Truth Social.  "There’s a definite tendency for these types of conspiratorial narratives to find fertile ground on (alternative) platforms and then cross over into mainstream platforms," Steiner said. "Then, eventually, you have elected officials and high profile influencers repeating it." 

Voting & Elections 11.13.2022

Associated Press: Election Day saw few major problems, despite new voting laws

“We in the voting rights community in Texas were fearing the worst,” said Anthony Gutierrez, director of Common Cause Texas, on Wednesday. “For the most part, it didn’t happen.”

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