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Common Cause

Working together, we are building a democracy that works for all of us. Every aspect of our elections and representative self-government must be fair, open, accessible, and set-up so we all have faith in the integrity of election outcomes and the people we elect to serve us. Common Cause is solutions-oriented. Our network of democracy experts, working at the state and local level across the country, are winning pragmatic, common sense solutions and building a national movement that will make sure our generation secures and strengthens democracy for the next. We work to ensure that every vote counts, that every eligible voter has an equal say, that our elections represent the will of the people, and that our government is of, by, and for the people.

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A cross-partisan coalition has been running a social media ad calling on Congress to fund election integrity efforts.

Stimulus has $400 million to make voting safer, no mandates to make it easier

States will get $400 million to make voting in the coronavirus presidential election easier and safer, but with almost no strings attached, under the massive economic recovery package unveiled Wednesday.

The pot of money in the nearly $2 trillion stimulus deal, on a fast track to pass the Senate by day's end with the House vote timetable uncertain, is the result of an unusually intense and coordinated lobbying campaign by some of the major players in the democracy reform movement.

While celebrating a rare victory for one of their causes, some groups nonetheless said they would seek much more money in what's likely to be another pandemic response package from Congress this spring. These groups warned the initial infusion of cash will prove insufficient to prevent justifiable anxiety about voting this fall, and that an absence of any legislative mandates will allow too much of the grant money to get spent unwisely.

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Big Picture
RepresentUs

The annual Unrig conference, which Jennifer Lawrence has headlined the past two years, is going to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Pandemic alters the democracy reform world's rhythm and priorities

While the novel coronavirus has upended life across the country, the democracy reform community is sounding determined to stay on course through an election year that could prove pivotal for its goals.

The rapid spread of Covid-19 has brought unprecedented challenge to lobbyists and advocates for all causes, including those working to fix the broken political system. Not only have logistics been jumbled and planned campaigns threatened, but the public and the nation's policymakers are now singularly focused on the pandemic and the economic collapse it's threatening — leaving almost no room for discussing any other national ills.

Highlighting how fix-the-system efforts are in limbo, one of the most prominent and best-financed advocacy groups, RepresentUs, planned to announce that its Unrig convention, scheduled to take place in eight weeks, would be postponed for at least several months.

At the same time, the infectious and potentially deadly virus is also scrambling the democracy reform agenda, with an optimistic coalition rapidly assembling behind what had been a second-tier cause: expanding access to the polls by making voting at home the American standard.

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

There hasn't been a constitutional convention since the framers drew up the governing documents. One segment of the good-government movement wants another gathering, but only to address the campaign finance system.

Inside the messy fight over strategy among campaign finance reformers

Marty Wulfe opened his inbox one day this fall and found an unsettling email from an old friend.

It was a dire warning from the Maryland chapter of Common Cause: Special interests in his state are pushing a "dangerous" proposal for a second constitutional convention.

But Wulfe himself was one of those special interests, because he's a board member of Get Money Out – Maryland. The organization is lobbying the General Assembly to have the state join five others calling for a convention to consider changing the Constitution to allow Congress and state legislatures to rein in money in politics.

While he and other Get Money Out leaders "had a good laugh at being labeled a special interest group," said Wulfe (who views himself as a big fan of Common Cause), the opposition from one of the most venerable voices for democracy reform is no laughing matter. Instead, the rift highlights one of the most impassioned arguments these days in the world of good-government advocacy.

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How People Powered Redistricting Got California Fair Maps

Organizers: Common Cause Maryland and League of Women Voters of Maryland

To reduce political influence over legislative and congressional lines, a growing number of states are taking up bipartisan reforms such as Independent Redistricting Commissions to ensure that districts promote the will of voters, not politicians. Maryland, as one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation, must join this movement. Join Common Cause Maryland and the League of Women Voters of Maryland in Baltimore City to learn about California's Citizens Redistricting Commission and how we can adopt a similar model here in Maryland that will help Tame the Gerrymander! We'll be joined by California Commissioner, M. Andre Parvenu - a geographer, urban planner, community outreach specialist, and a former Zoning Analyst with the Los Angeles Department of City Planning. As we prepare to re-draw our district boundaries in 2021, come learn how to join efforts this upcoming session to create a process that will lead to fair maps.

Location: Function Coworking Community, 4709 Harford Rd., Baltimore, MD

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