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Voting & Elections 01.12.2023

Public News Service: MN Part of Push to Expand Access to Voting

Annastacia Belladonna-Carrera, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota, said expanding voting access is always a good thing, but added the work needs to be done with precision. "For us, it's not just about the title of the bill, it's not just about the concept of the bill," Belladonna-Carrera explained. "It's about those nooks and crannies that really speak to meaningful maximization of transparency, accountability, rights." Belladonna-Carrera acknowledged moving too quickly can lead to unintended consequences. She feels a single, unforeseen negative effect would be enough for fringe groups to perpetuate false claims of systemic election problems.

CT Insider: Proposal would allow term limits for CT governor, add voter initiatives

Cheri Quickmire, executive director of Common Cause in Connecticut, the elections watchdog organization, said Tuesday she doubts the proposed GOP bills will see much life. "These are not things that ever come out of committees here," Quickmire said. "Consider the time it takes to make anything happen that involves the Constitution. People have the ability to elect their direct representatives and make their point in that way. We at Common Cause are very interested in having as many people as possible participate in our elections, our government, to run for office, and be part of the process."

Roll Call: Democrats ask ethics panel to probe Santos’ financial disclosures

“House Republicans’ proposal will handcuff the nonpartisan ethics office, making it more difficult to ensure there are consequences for breaking the rules,” said Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, in a news release Monday evening after the House GOP approved its rules package. “As their first legislative act, Congressional Republicans have decided to significantly weaken the independent ethics office. Their actions are a complete failure of leadership.”

Washington Post: House Republicans pass ethics changes that Democrats say would hamper probes

Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs at the nonpartisan watchdog Common Cause, said Monday the changes would “handcuff” and “significantly weaken” the OCE.

Yahoo News: 'A state by state fight': Legal battles over redistricting maps continue into the new year

“It’s a state by state fight,” Dan Vicuna, the national redistricting manager of Common Cause, a voting rights organization, told Yahoo News. “In this country, there's a long history of using the redistricting process to discriminate against people of color or to discriminate against voters of one party.” According to voting rights advocates, a wave of racial gerrymandering is impacting maps across the country. The 2020 U.S Census Bureau reported that the overall racial diversity of the United States increased since 2010, and the Black population was the most prevalent in parts of the South. “But just because communities of color may drive population growth, that doesn't mean they have a seat at the table,” Dan Vicuna, the national redistricting manager of Common Cause, a national organization fighting for fair redistricting, told Yahoo News. “Unfortunately, in this country, there's a long history of elected officials in power using that power to either pack Black, Latino, Native American Asian voters into as few districts as possible or alternatively cracking those communities to spread voters throughout a bunch of different districts, so they have no power in any one district.”

Media & Democracy 01.4.2023

Ars Technica: Biden tries to end 2 years of deadlock at FCC by renominating Gigi Sohn

"Industry gatekeepers and big-money opposition have done their part to stall Ms. Sohn's confirmation because they know a fully functional FCC would hold them accountable for engaging in discriminatory and anticompetitive practices," former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, now special adviser to advocacy group Common Cause, said yesterday.

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