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Voting & Elections 10.19.2020

New York Times: How Prepared Are These 7 Battlegrounds for the Election? A Readiness Report

While that ruling is likely to draw an appeal, any prolonged legal uncertainty for the absentee ballots could threaten a voter’s opportunity to cure the ballot in time. “The longer a voter says, ‘Oh I turned in my ballot, it must be good,’ when they do finally hear from the county, they might be more suspicious about it, considering how much disinformation there is going around,” said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at Common Cause, a voting rights group.

Voting & Elections 10.19.2020

Newsweek: Pennsylvania Could Be 'Florida of 2020' With Post-Election Day Court Battles, Lawyers Warn

Suzanne Almeida, the interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, a nonpartisan organization that advocates to expand access to voting, told Newsweek that the "pattern of litigation" seen in the state in recent months is unlikely to end with Election Day. "We know that Pennsylvania is certainly in the center of the bullseye when it comes to this election. With new voting laws, and a focus from both national campaigns, everyone is fighting for the state's voters. And we don't expect that to stop on Election Day," Almeida said. "We have already seen a pattern of litigation from both parties, but particularly President Trump's campaign where they are attempting to use the courts to clarify or in some cases rewrite election law in Pennsylvania," she added. "But at the end of the day the important thing is that every single vote counts and that voters have confidence in the result—whatever it is."

Voting & Elections 10.17.2020

Newsweek: Donald Trump's Call to Militia to 'Watch' Polling Places Raises Fears of Voter Intimidation

However, even in states with open carry laws and no restrictions on guns at locations that host polling, such as churches and schools, prohibitions on guns prevail, according to Suzanne Almeida, interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania. "There are valid concerns now," Almeida added, "but we must let voters know about them without involuntarily discouraging them from coming to the polls." "We will have more than 1,000 volunteers at polling stations for questions, and to be eyes and ears on the ground and have voters' backs," Almeida said. "We make sure voters have a good experience."

Voting & Elections 10.17.2020

USA Today/Center for Public Integrity: 'We'll protect their right to vote': How election officials are preparing for voter intimidation tactics

Rural voters may be more vulnerable to harassment because “issues can pop up and they’re not going to be as documented,” said Aunna Dennis, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, who said she is monitoring efforts by groups in north and south Georgia to recruit potentially armed “concerned citizens” to watch the polls. ... Some voting rights advocates add a note of caution, however. Suzanne Almeida, interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, wants voters to be aware of the issue and know to notify poll workers if they feel intimidated, but she worries they may feel discouraged to vote if they fear widespread intimidation or violence. “We have to make sure that as we’re drawing attention to a problem that we’re not contributing to the problem,” she said. Almeida’s team recruited 2,000 poll monitors in the Keystone State and has run worst-case scenarios for months, focusing efforts on protecting individual voters at as many polling locations as possible.

Voting & Elections 10.16.2020

NPR (AUDIO): Voting Rights Groups Help Americans 'Cure' Rejected Ballots

PAM FESSLER, BYLINE: Dana Abelson spent hours this week calling voters in Florida whose ballots are about to be rejected. DANA ABELSON: Hi. Is Chandramani there? This is Dana. I'm a nonpartisan volunteer with Common Cause. And I was just calling because it seems like your mail-in ballot might have had a problem with the signature.

Voting & Elections 10.16.2020

Associated Press: NY officials optimistic about fixes to mail-in voting system

“There are always problems with every human system, but the good news is that there’s ample time to fix them and voters have plenty of options,” Common Cause New York Executive Director Susan Lerner said. “The most important thing is to make a plan to vote now, and then have a back-up plan in case you need it.”

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