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Associated Press: Congress created virus aid, then reaped the benefits

“It certainly looks bad and smells bad,” said Aaron Scherb, a spokesperson for Common Cause, a watchdog group whose education arm was also approved for a loan through the program. Members of Congress should not be allowed to vote on bills in which they can personally benefit, he said.

Voting & Elections 07.7.2020

New York Times: As November Looms, So Does the Most Litigious Election Ever

The blizzard of litigation — more suits have been pressed by voting rights advocates like Common Cause and the Brennan Center for Justice, and conservative groups like True the Vote and the Honest Elections Project — reflects the high stakes in 2020. Having seen the 2016 presidential race defined by harrowingly close margins in swing states, strategists are scrambling for the advantages conferred by even minor clauses in election rules. ... Voting rights advocates note that some states vote almost entirely by mail with almost no instances of fraud. “This has nothing to do with the safety and security of the election,” said Sylvia Albert, the director of voting and elections for Common Cause. “It’s clear their intention is to limit access to the ballot for people who they think won’t vote for them.”

Associated Press: Businesses tied to Oklahoma congressmen enjoy federal loans

While voting on legislation for which their companies may benefit may not be illegal, it does appear to be a conflict of interest, said Aaron Scherb, a spokesman for Common Cause, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan government watchdog. “Unfortunately, members of Congress frequently vote on bills in which they can personally benefit, and in nearly all cases it’s not illegal, although it certainly looks bad and smells bad,” Scherb said. “We think it certainly should be illegal.”

Voting & Elections 07.3.2020

Washington Post: Voting rules changed quickly for the primaries. But the battle over how Americans will cast ballots in the fall is just heating up.

Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections with Common Cause, said decisions about how to handle voting during a pandemic are not easy but “have to be made.” “There is no waiting it out,” Albert said, noting that as more time passes, the shorter the window for educating voters about any changes becomes. “As a state legislator, as a secretary of state, as a governor, you are responsible for ensuring that voters can access the ballot. By not moving ahead, they’re really abdicating their responsibility to the voters.”

Voting & Elections 07.2.2020

Houston Chronicle: Gov. Abbott leaves Texas polling places out of mask mandate

“Issuing the mandatory mask order and encouraging everyone to stay home is the right thing to do right now, considering the mess we’re in,” said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of the nonprofit Common Cause Texas. “But the right thing to do months ago to avoid this very easily foreseeable mess was to allow all Texans to vote by mail so that no one would now find themselves having to choose between voting and endangering their health.” Guiterrez added that it’s not too late for the governor to take actions to expand mail-in voting in November.

Voting & Elections 07.1.2020

WESA (NPR) "The Confluence" (AUDIO): Pennsylvania Legislature Considers Voting Reforms Before Next Election

Suzanne Almeida, the interim executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, a nonpartisan organization working for good government, says she worries that some election lawsuits could make it harder for people to vote. “I am always concerned when I see legal filings or policies that are designed to make it more difficult for people to vote. We know that the June 2 primary was challenging for a lot of folks—for voters, for election administrators,” she says. “Ultimately, our goal at Common Cause is to make sure that every eligible voter can cast a ballot and not create an atmosphere that scares people away or makes it more difficult for them to get to the ballot box.” “We have time, we have political will” to make changes, Almeida says. “Ensuring that we have an election that works for everyone from election administrators to voters is something that I think both Republicans and Democrats in Pennsylvania have demonstrated that they want to get behind.”

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