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Voting & Elections 07.31.2020

Associated Press: Indiana governor urged to expand mail voting during pandemic

On Thursday, a federal lawsuit filed by the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP and Common Cause Indiana seeks to further compel the state to expand absentee voting. The lawsuit argues that the state’s deadline for mail-in ballots — noon on Election Day — doesn’t account for expected surges in mail-in ballots and potential mail delays caused by the pandemic. The nonprofit contends that any ballot postmarked by Election Day should be counted without penalty. “Indiana has seen a surge in requests for mail-in ballots and now we must make sure all those voters who chose to vote by mail to protect their health do not face barriers in making their voice heard,” Julia Vaughn, policy director at Common Cause Indiana, said in a statement. The lawsuit is one of at least three pending in federal court to challenge Indiana’s election protocols. Another of the federal lawsuits, filed on behalf of Common Cause Indiana, argues that an Indiana law blocking voters and candidates from asking courts to keep polling places open past the state’s 6 p.m. closing time because of Election Day troubles violates the U.S. Constitution.

Voting & Elections 07.31.2020

Sinclair Broadcast Group: Despite coronavirus complications, experts confident election will be safe and secure

“Both the good and bad about our election system is that it is completely decentralized. Each state and each local jurisdiction can make the changes necessary to have safe, free, and fair voting in November...,” said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections for Common Cause. “We know how to do it. They just have to execute the plan.” That plan, according to Albert, is to make sure voters have options to vote however they choose: providing multiple methods to register, to request absentee ballots, and to vote in person without putting their health at risk. “The reality is none of us know what the world is going to look like Nov. 3, so we need to be prepared for whatever choices the voter makes,” she said.

New York Times: Trump can’t postpone the election. But the courts will help shape how Americans vote this fall.

Decisions over how the general election will be conducted need to be sorted out now, said Sylvia Albert, the director of Voting and Elections at Common Cause, a voting rights group. “The key is not waiting for November,” Ms. Albert said. “The point of those lawsuits is to establish the policies and procedures that are going to be used in November so there isn’t going to be confusion on the day of the election.”

Washington Post: Trump can’t delay the election, experts say

“In an emergency, the president is able to do a lot of things he normally could not do, but only because he has been designated these powers by Congress in laws such as the National Emergencies Act,” said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at Common Cause, a nonprofit group that advocates for eased ballot access. “But in this case, the Constitution empowers Congress, not the president, to select Election Day. No laws passed by Congress have delegated these powers to the president, even in an emergency, so Congress is the only entity that has the power to change the date of the election.”

Voting & Elections 07.29.2020

Associated Press: Advocates urge Hogan to adjust plan for traditional election

Joanne Antoine, executive director of Common Cause Maryland, said a “hybrid election” with automatically mailed ballots and in-person voting would be the safest option. “We are still in a crisis, and we have no idea what October and November are going to look like,” she said during an online press briefing.

Bloomberg: Biden Campaign Bans Staff From Trading Stocks Without Approval

“Usually we see a winning president begin to impose ethical restrictions during a transition, but I think this is unprecedented,” said Paul S. Ryan, the vice president for policy and litigation at Common Cause, a nonpartisan government watchdog. “The Biden campaign’s policy is a breath of fresh air after more than three years of a Trump administration that has been mired in conflicts of interest.”

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