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Voting & Elections 09.10.2021

Sacramento Bee/Inside Sources (Op-Ed): Congress must make Constitution’s promise a reality

Constitution Day honors our founding charter, as amended. It celebrates an enduring commitment to freedom and a democracy where all of us are supposed to have an equal voice in the decisions that affect our country, no matter our ZIP code, what we look like, or how much money we have in the bank. But from its inception, the Constitution denied democracy — at times violently — to whole swaths of people: indigenous people; enslaved people; Black people; women; the unhoused; immigrants; those who do not own property — the list goes on, as does the dishonorable legacy of excluding so many for so long. Yet with vision matched by struggle, the Constitution’s dynamism — how we understand who and what it protects — has expanded. For more than two centuries, people have worked and even died for their constitutional rights. This includes heroes like Diane Nash, who led the Freedom Riders, and civil rights litigators like Justice Thurgood Marshall. New generations of leaders today continue to labor, including in the wake of deadly police violence against Black Americans, attacks on reproductive freedom, and a gutted Voting Rights Act. And it includes the late Congressman John Lewis, who was beaten by police as he marched for the freedom to vote, and who said in his final words that “democracy is not a state. It is an act.”

Associated Press: Indiana Republicans may seek to bolster congressional hold

Common Cause Indiana executive director Julia Vaughn criticized Torchinsky’s work as “more political than legal” to assist with partisan gerrymandering. ... Legislative Republicans held nine public redistricting hearings around the state last month without any proposed maps for review. The only hearings planned with the maps in hand will start the day after they are released on Tuesday and will only be held on weekdays at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. Vaughn and other activists have unsuccessfully pushed for more hearings outside Indianapolis, arguing for more than the bare minimum required by law. “People can see, they can feel their democracy slipping away,” Vaughn said. “They are looking for you to save it.”

CNN: 2013 Voting Rights Act ruling could make it easier for states to get away with extreme racial gerrymandering

To analyze whether a map is Voting Rights Act-compliant, one needs to look at past election results, often at the precinct level, and not every state offers such information in a single database, according to Kathay Feng, the national redistricting director for the voting rights group Common Cause. "You would have to go to each county, and each county would give it to you in a slightly different format, and you have to figure out how that all could be put together," Feng said

Voting & Elections 09.8.2021

Sinclair Broadcast Group/KATV: The new Texas voting law: What it does and does not do

“Rather than making it easier for Texans to vote for elected leaders who will prioritize our health and safety above their political ambitions, Governor Abbott has just attempted to silence voters from being heard in the next election,” said Stephanie Gomez, associate director of Common Cause Texas, one of the organizations suing over the new law.

Associated Press: Coalition presses for transparency in state redistricting

“The Reapportionment Commission must take all necessary steps to make sure the new district maps are drawn in a fair and transparent process the public can easily understand,” John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, said in a statement.

Bloomberg Government: Beaches, Bears, Vineyards, and Pencils: Ballots & Boundaries

“Maintaining communities of interest intact in redistricting maps should be second only to compliance with the United States Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act as a consideration in redistricting,” according to redistricting principles outlined by the watchdog group Common Cause.

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