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Voting & Elections 05.10.2024

ProPublica: Georgia Promised to Fix How Voter Challenges Are Handled. A New Law Could Make the Problem Worse.

“My worry is” that the bill “will cause a higher success rate for the challenges,” said Anne Gray Herring, a policy analyst for nonprofit watchdog group Common Cause Georgia.

Voting & Elections 04.26.2024

USA Today: Nebraska removes two-year waiting period for felons to vote

RISE is among the 31 member groups that make up the Nebraska Voting Rights Restoration Coalition, which counts Common Cause Nebraska among its members. Gavin Geis, the Executive Director, says restoring voting rights helps reduce recidivism by creating stronger community ties. "It's a way of engaging people in their communities that was cut off before," Geis said. "So beyond getting to vote on who represents you, I think this helps tie people back into their neighbors and their community in a way that will hopefully reduce the reasons why one ends up back in prison."

Orlando Sentinel: Judges urged to reconsider Florida federal redistricting case

Attorneys for groups such as Common Cause Florida and the Florida NAACP and other plaintiffs filed a motion Wednesday urging a three-judge panel to look again at whether the redistricting plan was passed in 2022 with a racially discriminatory motive. Wednesday’s motion for reconsideration said the judges incorrectly found that DeSantis’ intent “was all but irrelevant.” The lawsuit alleged that the map involved intentional discrimination and violated the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment and 15th Amendment. The 14th Amendment ensures equal protection, while the 15th Amendment prohibits denying or abridging the right to vote based on race. “First, the court erred by treating the governor as an outsider to the legislative process,” Wednesday’s motion said. “Unlike private citizens advocating for legislative action, the governor is himself a state actor directly subject to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. He may not discriminate on the basis of race when using state authority, any more than the Legislature can. No case law supports the notion that, where multiple state actors act jointly to bring about the challenged conduct, all of them must be driven by illegal consideration of race.”

Vanity Fair: Jack Smith’s One Job Is to Take Donald Trump to Trial Before the Election. (The Supreme Court May Not Let Him.)

One voting rights group, Common Cause, had the wherewithal to spell out, in no uncertain terms, that the justices are already tipping the scales in favor of Trump and that the public would be well within its right to view the justices as partisan hacks if they drag things out any further. “If this Court’s delay in disposing of this appeal has the result of preventing the case from going to trial prior to the election—or going to trial at all—it would give many Americans the sense that the Court, through its arbitrary and unexplained management of its own docket, has played partisan favorites in the midst of a heated presidential election,” the group wrote in a public filing.

Bloomberg: NY Court Will Publish Trump Criminal Trial Transcripts Online

The announcement comes three days after Common Cause New York, which advocates for election and ethics reform, and New York Focus, a nonprofit newsroom, called for the state court system to make the transcripts available, noting that public access is limited as New York is one of the only state court systems that charge the media and public for courtroom transcripts. “The longstanding issue of public access to court proceedings has been thrown into sharp relief by the Trump trial,” the organizations said Friday. They added, “During such a hotly contested and deeply polarized election season, and with public trust in democratic institutions at near-historic lows, the courts have an obligation to ensure the public knows the proceedings are fair and equal for everyone-including the former President.” The court’s decision is “a major victory for New Yorkers,” Common Cause said Monday, adding that it should be applied more broadly to other proceedings. “New Yorkers deserve access to the everyday court proceedings that impact them, which is why the state must join the vast majority of other judicial systems across the country and make written transcripts of all trials available to the public, and ultimately permit proceedings to be broadcast,” the organization said.

Voting & Elections 04.22.2024

New York Times: New Group Joins the Political Fight Over Disinformation Online

“Disinformation will remain an issue as long as the strategic gains of engaging in it, promoting it and profiting from it outweigh consequences for spreading it,” Common Cause, the nonpartisan public interest group, wrote in a report published last week that warned of a new wave of disinformation around this year’s vote.

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