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Roll Call: As some states rush to redistrict, gerrymandering fight moves to back burner

The state could become “the canary in the coal mine” when it comes to using nondecennial census data that way, said Jay Young, the executive director of Common Cause Illinois. Young and others say that route is rife with potential legal challenges. It also undercuts the investment the state made financially and in outreach to underserved communities to get a good census count. Change Illinois, Common Cause and other groups nationwide have pushed legislatures to engage the public in the redistricting process.

New York Times: A New Delay for Census Numbers Could Scramble Congressional Elections

“The concern in some of those states is that the legislators will simply use a special session to secretly pass maps with zero public scrutiny, and then count on a tight timetable to eke out at least one election cycle” before a court could require new maps to be drawn, said Kathay Feng, the redistricting and representation director at Common Cause.

Roll Call: Census delay sends redistricting ripples nationwide

Amanda Gonzalez, executive director of Common Cause Colorado, said that doesn't leave much time for the mechanics of the redistricting process, even if there is technically enough time to draw maps. The commission, created by a 2018 ballot measure, mandates 21 public meetings as part of the mapmaking process along with an extensive public comment period. "What we're looking at right now is how do we maintain that process," she said. "We want to give the commission time to review the information that comes to them, give community members time to look at the census data that comes in, and everybody's gonna want time to, to look at the data."

Voting & Elections 11.25.2020

Inside Sources (Op-Ed): We Are Thankful for Our (Imperfect) Democracy

Our democracy has endured wars, pandemics, natural disasters and now a lawless president. And despite that, next year will likely bring more unexpected challenges that we’ll confront as a nation. We nonetheless must be thankful for what we have, as imperfect as our system is. Change has often been cyclical, and following the scandals of the Trump administration, we may soon have a once-in-a-generation opportunity. If one thing is clear, it’s that we’re on the doorstep of passing a comprehensive reform package to put “we the people” back in charge of our democracy.

Voting & Elections 10.23.2020

Associated Press: Census takers fall short of target goal in areas of US

Rhode Island is one of about 10 states projected to lose a congressional seat, based on anticipated state population figures in the 2020 census. It could take as few as 30,000 overlooked people for the nation’s physically smallest state to revert back to having a single House district, said John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, a nonprofit watchdog.  The early conclusion of the census “is really going to stymie our efforts, not only to maintain that second district but also to have fair representation in our state legislature,” Marion said.

Associated Press: Scramble to get people counted as 2020 census winds down

“Everybody is leaning in hard to try to make sure they can reach as many people as possible,” said Kathay Feng, an official with Common Cause, the good-government advocacy group.

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