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Voting & Elections 06.1.2023

Texas Tribune/VoteBeat: Harris County elections face state intervention under new laws

Katya Ehresman, voting rights program director with Common Cause Texas, said voters, county officials and election administrators should have been given the opportunity to testify about legislation set to directly impact them. Ehresman said that process was concerning and “against values of transparency and public input, which should be core parts of the legislative process.” “These bills do have a tangible effect on voter turnout, voter apathy, and on the ability for elections administrators to do their job free from threats and free from partisan pressures,” Ehresman said. “The discourse surrounding Texas election reform continues to be punitive and continues to be rooted in misinformation. And that will have a permanent damage on recruitment [of election workers] and election administration going forward.”

Voting & Elections 05.24.2023

Indianapolis Star: Voting rights advocates worry new Indiana law will disenfranchise vulnerable voters

It's likely the law will be challenged in court. Common Cause Indiana Executive Director Julia Vaughn said "it creates serious questions about violations of the United States Constitution and the Civil Rights Act." Several organizations including Common Cause say the legislation would disproportionately affect the elderly, minorities who already facing barriers to voting and voters who use alternate voting methods like travel boards or the military post card application. Voting rights groups are especially worried those who are eligible for assisted voting, such as people who are confined or blind and vote with an in-person board, won't have the proper or valid paperwork to apply to cast their ballot. "You can't put up administrative barriers at the ballot that could potentially disenfranchise people for no good reason," she said. "We don't think there's any good reason, any compelling evidence, that there's there's any good reason to do this."

Voting & Elections 05.23.2023

Mother Jones: Republicans Are Trying to Seize Control Over Voting In Texas’ Largest Democratic County

Harris County has become the epicenter for what Common Cause Texas calls the “Texas Edition of the Big Lie.”  “It’s a really intentional form of partisan takeovers of local election offices,” says Katya Ehresman, voting rights program manager for Common Cause Texas.

Voting & Elections 05.23.2023

Texas Tribune: Harris County must remove its elections chief under new legislation headed to Gov. Greg Abbott

“All of these changes together are forcing Harris County voters to live in a different set of circumstances than the rest of the state. This is creating a disparate scenario for those voters and barriers to well run elections,” said Katya Ehresman, voting rights program director at Common Cause Texas. “There’s a clear partisan element to that with Harris County growing in its Democratic stronghold. But there’s also definitely a disparate racial impact element to these bills continuing to pass as the county is home to the largest population of Black, brown, [Asian American and Pacific Islander] voters in the state.”

Money & Influence 05.15.2023

The Guardian: ‘Impossible to hold him accountable’: DeSantis signs laws to ease 2024 run

“It looks like they’re laying the groundwork to transfer the money to some sort of vehicle that would support his presidential run,” said Stephen Spaulding, a campaign finance expert at Common Cause, a government watchdog group. “What that, again, goes to show is how loose the coordination rules are, how they need to be strengthened, and how existing rules need to be enforced.”

CBS: Rep. George Santos pleads not guilty to 13 federal charges including using campaign donations for personal expenses, including designer clothes and cash

"Mr. Santos' breathtaking scope of lies has left his constituents -- and all New Yorkers -- gasping for air and calling for accountability. Now that the Eastern District of New York has appropriately indicted him, Mr. Santos should resign. It's been clear for a long time that the voters have been defrauded, and Mr. Santos' seat in Congress is tantamount to an ill gotten gain: he should not be allowed to profit from the fruits of his deception. Voters deserve a representative who doesn't lie and deceive their way into power, and unfortunately they have waited too long for Mr. Santos to do the right thing and resign," Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY said.

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