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Voting & Elections 05.7.2021

TIME: Texas Was Already One of the Hardest States to Vote in. It May Get Even Harder

But voting rights advocates like Anthony Gutierrez, executive director at Common Cause Texas, an advocacy organization focused on promoting democracy, point out that “in Texas, there’s a really long history of poll watchers inside poll sites disrupting voting and being problematic and needing to be removed.” Partisan poll watchers who were suspected of being affiliated with True the Vote, a nonprofit that grew out of a Tea Party group and is focused on rooting out fraud in elections, reportedly harassed voters in several minority neighborhoods in Harris County in 2010. As a result, the Harris County attorney created new guidelines dictating where watchers could be at polling sites and how close they could stand to voters while they cast their ballots. On April 8, Common Cause published a leaked video revealing that the Harris County Republican Party is planning to mobilize an “Election Integrity Brigade” by building an “army of 10,000 people” to serve as poll watchers and election workers. The group said they are recruiting those who “have the ‘confidence and courage’ to go into some of Houston’s most diverse, historically Black and Brown neighborhoods to stop alleged voter fraud,” Common Cause said in a press release.

Voting & Elections 05.7.2021

Associated Press: Texas GOP’s voting restriction bill passes key House vote

“We are seeing the strong effect of President Trump’s big lie. We are seeing the Republican Party go all-in on supporting him and his lies,” said Sylvia Albert, voting and elections director for Common Cause, which advocates for expanded voter access. “We are seeing them use this opportunity to create deliberate barriers to voting for Black and brown voters. It’s un-American.

Money & Influence 05.7.2021

Washington Post: Democrats on FEC blast decision to drop probe into Trump hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels: ‘Defies reality’

The FEC first launched its inquiry in 2018 after the nonprofit government watchdog group Common Cause filed a complaint against the Trump campaign. On Thursday, Paul S. Ryan, Common Cause’s vice president for policy and litigation, said the decision to drop the case showcased how the federal agency is “broken.” “The FEC’s nonpartisan career staff attorneys recommended that the Commission find reason to believe that Trump, his campaign committee, and the Trump Organization committed the violations alleged in Common Cause’s complaints,” Ryan said in a statement. “Today’s announcement that the FEC will not be holding Trump accountable for his campaign finance violations is just the latest display of dysfunction at the FEC.” Ryan also encouraged the Justice Department to pursue an investigation of Trump’s role in the scheme before the statute of limitations expires in October.

Money & Influence 05.6.2021

Bloomberg: Election Watchdog Closes Trump Case on 2016 Payment to Porn Star

”Continued pursuit of the matter required at least four votes,” said Paul S. Ryan, vice president for policy and litigation at Common Cause, which filed one of the complaints against Trump and his campaign. “Republican Commissioners Cooksey and Trainor overrode the career attorneys and Democratic commissioners and killed the investigation.”

Voting & Elections 05.6.2021

Associated Press: Florida gov signs GOP voting law critics call 'un-American'

A separate federal suit filed in Tallahassee by the NAACP and Common Cause also says the law targets people who are Black, Latino or disabled. “For far too long, Florida’s lawmakers and elected officials have created a vast array of hurdles that have made it more difficult for these and other voters to make their voices heard,” these groups said.

Voting & Elections 05.6.2021

Reuters: Florida limits absentee voting with new Republican-backed law

"Florida's Republican legislative leaders seem determined to weaken the system that voters have relied on, without significant problems, for the better part of a generation," Sylvia Albert, voting and elections director for good-government watchdog Common Cause, said in a statement on April 28 after Florida's House passed the bill.

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