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Money & Influence 04.9.2021

The Fulcrum (Op-Ed): Are health care and a living wage too much for congressional candidates to ask?

When working-class Americans embrace the possibilities born of democracy, it often highlights that our government of, by and for the people is a work in progress. This is certainly the case when it comes to empowering working-class Americans to compete for a congressional seat. Just ask Nabilah Islam. Islam ran for Congress in Georgia last year without a living wage or medical insurance.

Money & Influence 04.8.2021

Rolling Stone: The Trouble With MeidasTouch

“With PACs, it’s the Wild West,” says Paul S. Ryan, a vice president at Common Cause, a watchdog group that advocates for campaign-finance reform. “I always tell people who want to give to a PAC, ‘Donor beware.’”

Voting & Elections 04.8.2021

Washington Post: Video shows Texas GOP official seeking ‘army’ of volunteers to monitor polls in mostly Black and Hispanic Houston precincts

Now the government accountability group Common Cause Texas — which published the footage Thursday — is raising the alarm that such an effort could instead serve to intimidate and suppress voters in metro Houston. “It’s very clear that we’re talking about recruiting people from the predominantly Anglo parts of town to go to Black and Brown neighborhoods,” Anthony Gutierrez, the group’s executive director, told The Washington Post. “This is a role that’s supposed to do nothing but stand at a poll site and observe,” he added. So “why is he suggesting someone needs to be ‘courageous’?” Gutierrez asked. ... Gutierrez said the video highlights his concerns with the state Senate’s voting bill. He said the “brigade” of poll watchers would effectively be empowered to intimidate the most vulnerable voters.

Voting & Elections 04.8.2021

New York Times: Why Kentucky Just Became the Only Red State to Expand Voting Rights

“The election in 2020 helps give them confidence that they could act quickly in expanding access and not have to go slowly,” Sylvia Albert, the director of the voting rights group Common Cause, said of these states. She said that Kentucky did not fall into the category of true expansion, because its new law will provide fewer options than the emergency orders of 2020. “This might be a political calculation made by Democrats in the state, so that Republicans don’t go even further in suppressing the vote like other states have,” she said. “But as an election, voter access bill, it is not successful.” While Kentucky’s compromise — expanding voting access while enacting some more restrictive policies in the name of election security — could serve as a model for other Republican-controlled states, it is more likely to be a blip in a year of G.O.P.-led pushes for voting restrictions.

Money & Influence 04.7.2021

Washington Post: NRCC warns donors Trump will find out if they opt out of monthly donations

Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at left-leaning Common Cause, said it comes down to “basic human decency.” “While it should be easy for supporters of an organization to make recurring donations, people shouldn’t be tricked or bullied into making donations,” Ryan said. “NRCC and Trump solicitations seem to have crossed this line.”

Voting & Elections 04.7.2021

The Guardian: How Republicans are trying to prevent people from voting after ‘stop the steal’

Sylvia Albert, national voting and elections director of the government watchdog group Common Cause, called Republicans’ voter suppression efforts “shameless”. “These bills are shameless, partisan efforts to silence us,” Albert said in a media briefing last week. “And it’s not a coincidence that these bills are being introduced after a free and fair and secure election with record turnout. Americans exercised their right to vote and, in response, these politicians are saying, ‘actually, we didn’t really want you to vote’.” Quentin Turner, Michigan program director for Common Cause, said that Republican suppression efforts in the state targeted communities of color, particularly a proposal to restrict access to absentee ballot drop boxes after 5pm. “A lot of working-class people in Michigan, in Detroit especially, may not be out or done with their day by 5pm,” said Turner. “So they may not be able to go to a drop box that’s close to them. “While it doesn’t specifically say in the bill that it’s targeting Black and brown voters, the nature of the specifications of the prohibition would have a larger adverse impact in those communities.”

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