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Anger, not panic, from advocates as Senate GOP proposes no more election aid


Anger, not panic, from advocates as Senate GOP proposes no more election aid

There's not a dime for creating a safer and smoother election in the Senate Republican economic stimulus proposal — which has voting rights groups, democracy reform advocates and some election administrators professing outrage and frustration, but not panic just yet.

The roughly $1 trillion package, unveiled Monday and blessed by the Trump administration, is essentially the GOP's opening bid for negotiations with the Democratic House. It has voted for $3 trillion more in coronavirus recovery funds including $3.6 billion for states to make their November contest healthy, comprehensive and reliable despite the pandemic.

Securing significant aid for the states — mainly so they can accommodate a guaranteed surge in voting by mail — has become good-governance lobbyists' singular focus during the public health emergency. They remain cautiously optimistic the ultimate bipartisan deal this summer will include several hundred million beyond the $400 million they secured this spring, banking that the pleadings of election officials in many red states will outweigh President Trump's unfounded allegations about the fraudulent evils of mail voting.

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Democracy reform groups have work to do on diversity, study finds

For anyone who has attended events featuring the key players in democracy reform groups, your eyes and ears tell you what a new diversity study documents: They're mostly old, white and left-leaning.

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But the Bridge Alliance, a coalition of about 100 groups promoting healthy self-governance, says that actually conducting the study was important so that fix-the-system groups can know precisely where they stand and chart a more diverse path forward.

Beyond the findings, Bridge Alliance leaders announced two initiatives on Monday to help groups expand their diversity — one focused on professional development and the other on boosting pay.

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Texas joins election rule mainstream one way: Early voting

Texans have not gotten any relief from some of the strictest vote-by-mail limits in the country, but now they will have the ability to cast ballots in person for almost three weeks ahead of the election.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday cited the complications of the coronavirus pandemic, which has surged in his state this month, in adding six days to the state's period for early voting.

The decision by the GOP governor was not a big surprise, because he'd lengthened early voting for this month's primary runoff and signaled he would do so for the fall. Nonetheless, it stands out because Republicans in charge in Austin have fought so many efforts by voting rights groups to broaden enfranchisement — and anything that could boost turnout is likely to benefit Democrats.

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Podcast playlist: The people who choose the president

Three weeks ago the Supreme Court decided what had once seemed like an obscure corner of constitutional law, but which might have huge ramifications for this year's presidential election and beyond: The court ruled unanimously that states could punish or remove members of the Electoral College who refuse to vote for the candidate they were pledged to support.

The "faithless elector" decision is the topic of the latest installment of our podcast partnership with The Democracy Group, a podcast network at Penn State University, to share thought-provoking discussions about efforts to fix the American political system.

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We asked Americans how to fix democracy. Here's what they said.

"Eighty percent of Americans view our democracy as either 'in crisis' or 'facing serious challenges,'" according to a new Public Agenda report.


National Business Network Call

Hear Jeff Clements, co-founder and president, speak about American Promise's 2020 strategy and the importance of its National Business Network. Learn about how the powerful business voice is uniquely positioned to help change campaign finance law.

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