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Voting & Elections 01.7.2020

Miami Herald: Governor says Florida cares about census process after all. Nuñez to lead committee.

“The Legislature should have done some funding for this in 2017, 2018, 2019. But there’s no time now,” said Liza McClenaghan, state chair of Common Cause Florida, a voter advocacy group.

San Diego Union-Tribune: Hunter will likely receive his taxpayer-funded congressional pension despite guilty plea

“He pleaded to a single felony but not one that is specifically included in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act,” said Beth A. Rotman, an attorney who is the money in politics and ethics program director for the good government group Common Cause. Rotman noted that while the law includes many more crimes than it did 20 years ago, “It’s not everything. In cases like this, the desire to keep the pension could be one of the reasons someone accepts a plea that is only a portion of the charges.”

Media & Democracy 01.2.2020

USA Today (Op-Ed): The Dayton Daily News is about to shrink. The FCC shouldn't have allowed it: Dayton mayor

Local newspapers provide a public good that far outweighs their financial value. And the FCC is supposed to ensure that public good is maintained. The approval of this merger with its explicit endorsement of profit over the public interest demonstrates that the FCC has lost its way.

NBC News: Gerrymandering is alive and well. The coming battle will be bigger than ever.

The South is "ground zero for this fight," said Dan Vicuña, a redistricting expert at Common Cause. Vicuña said the Supreme Court's decision has put in place a "new legal playing field" for partisan gerrymandering and lawmakers can be expected to try to take advantage of that when they are drawing the House maps. "You'll see kind of more blatant partisanship," he told NBC News.

San Jose Mercury News (Op-Ed): California redistricting should serve as national model

In 2008, I led efforts to fundamentally change California’s redistricting process. With an unusual coalition of left, right and center allies, we created the nation’s first independent citizens redistricting commission. The power to draw voting maps was taken from politicians and given to people like you and me. Today our redistricting process is independent and community-led with the goal of keeping communities together in the new maps. No longer behind closed doors, drawing voting lines is conducted openly and transparently.

News & Observer: Bob Phillips, Tar Heel of the Year finalist, is a voice for open elections and reform

“Bob Phillips is what’s good about politics,” Dennis Wicker told The News & Observer in an interview. Wicker, a Democrat, served as lieutenant governor from 1993 to 2000 and considered Phillips a trusted advisor, then and now. “He understands public service starts with fair elections and open elections,” Wicker said. “He’s a true believer that great public service is born from a strong and fair democracy.”

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