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Media & Democracy 11.22.2022

Newsweek: Will Trump Staying Off Twitter Doom Him Politically?

While some figures on Twitter continued to share disinformation on the platform around the 2022 midterm election cycle, Jesse Littlewood, vice president of campaigns at the nonpartisan watchdog group Common Cause, told Newsweek that the amount of disinformation about election integrity substantially decreased after Trump left the platform, falling below levels seen in the 2018 midterms, according to a survey by online monitoring platform Zignal Labs published in the Washington Post. ... Trump, Littlewood said, was a thought leader for a movement, with an unparalleled reach that commanded attention: "When Trump tweeted something, it would be amplified in mainstream news networks," he said.

The New Yorker: How to Fix Our Remaining Election Vulnerabilities

Good-government groups such as Common Cause have been going after gerrymanders in both Democratic and Republican states for some time. The Supreme Court, in a 2019 case, held that federal courts can’t hear claims of partisan gerrymandering. The Court said that there’s just no standard to apply, and so federal courts are closed—there are other ways of dealing with these problems. Some states have created redistricting commissions; others have state courts that have policed partisan gerrymandering. That’s what happened in Moore v. Harper. After Common Cause lost in the U.S. Supreme Court, the group argued before the state Supreme Court in North Carolina that partisan gerrymandering violates the state constitution, and they won on that claim. The state Supreme Court ordered North Carolina to redraw its districts, to make them a little fairer in a state that is pretty evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

Ohio Capital Journal: Legal expert, voter advocates slam Ohio GOP plan to make citizen ballot initiatives harder to pass

Some activists, like Catherine Turcer with Common Cause Ohio, say this would make it significantly harder for Ohioans, regardless of political affiliation, to have their voices heard. “It’s just like putting your hand on the scale making it even harder for citizens to challenge the authority of the state legislature,” she said. “And direct democracy is about a check on the state legislature.” “We’re talking about the need to do a citizen initiative to take the mapmaking away from elected officials and create an independent commission,” she said. “The only reason to do this is to thwart the will of the people and to retain power — and the power to gerrymander,” she added.

Voting & Elections 11.18.2022

Center for Public Integrity: What voter turnout shows, and hides, about elections

Generally, turnout considers “the number of registered voters who actually get to the polls or send in their mail-in ballots,” said Khalif Ali of Common Cause Pennsylvania. ... The delays happen, in part, because Pennsylvania is one of nine states that forbids election workers from processing ballots before Election Day. The state’s Democratic governor and Republican-controlled legislature haven’t been able to agree on a bill to change that. Most other U.S. states, including Florida, New Jersey and Wyoming, do allow ballots to be processed pre-election. “Since we don't have that, then what is required of us is patience,” said Common Cause’s Ali. “I'm more concerned about an accurate count than I am a quick count.”

Media & Democracy 11.17.2022

WIRED: Twitter’s Moderation System Is in Tatters

Even when researchers can get through to Twitter, responses are slow—sometimes taking more than a day. Jesse Littlewood, vice president of campaigns at the nonprofit Common Cause, says he’s noticed that when his organization reports tweets that clearly violate Twitter’s policies, those posts are now less likely to get taken down.

Voting & Elections 11.15.2022

Inside Sources/Tribune News Service (Op-Ed): How Fair Voting Maps Turned Out Voters in the Midterm Elections

Pundits who focused on Democratic versus Republican battles before the election missed the real story — that fairly drawn voting maps boosted turnout and elevated voter choices in places like California, Colorado and North Carolina. The inspiring turnout of young people, women and people of color in the midterm elections came because people’s interests, and not politicians, were put first in redistricting. We saw this in Michigan, where University of Michigan students stood in line hours into the frigid night because they knew their votes mattered. But our democracy is fragile. On December 7, the Supreme Court will hear Moore v. Harper, which stemmed from Common Cause’s fight for responsive voting maps in North Carolina. The court will decide if state legislatures can rig voting maps and elections without facing the checks and balances of state courts.

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