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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.
News. Community. Debate. Levers for better democracy.

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How Russia used disinformation on social media to target voters

Disinformation: Remain calm and do not spread

With eight days to go until the most important election of our lifetimes, voters are being bombarded with half-truths and outright lies that may confuse the public and suppress the vote. Once again, foreign actors are seeking to disrupt our elections. The FBI recently alleged that Iran hacked into U.S. voter registration data and sent threatening, spoofed emails to voters. There is plenty of domestic misinformation and voter suppression, too — from falsehoods on the president's Twitter account to online campaigns targeting Black and Latino voters. In New Hampshire, the state Republican Party is spreading disinformation about college students' voting rights.

As tempting as it may be to retweet and rave about disinformation, that can be counterproductive. By publicly calling out false claims, we risk elevating the disinformation — and unintentionally spreading it. Instead, here are four concrete steps that the public, election officials, social media platforms and the media can take to combat disinformation.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Private-sector coalitions are providing masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and other supplies to ensure safety in voting locations.

Business gifts to help run the vote expand, along with objections on left and right

Conservatives hoping to prevent private money from helping Americans vote have so far taken direct aim at just a couple of billionaires: Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, who on Tuesday announced another $100 million in donations to help local governments conduct comprehensive and safe balloting in three weeks.

The donation follows their previous gift of $300 million, which has prompted lawsuits from the right in eight battleground states arguing that such benevolence should not be permitted to cover election administration costs.

But the Facebook philanthropists are among hundreds of business leaders who have stepped forward to help cash-strapped election officials scrambling to put enough poll workers, protective gear and infrastructure in place to avert chaos on Election Day. From the four dozen stadiums that sports leagues have opened as polling sites to the millions worth of face shields, masks and safety supplies donated to election workers by major corporations — the private sector's investment in this election is without precedent.

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Indiana is the ninth state to extend the deadline for accepting mailed ballots since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Courts grant more time for absentee ballots in Indiana, Wisconsin

A federal judge extended the deadline Tuesday for mail-in ballots to arrive at the election offices in reliably red Indiana, while an appeals court upheld a similar extension in battleground Wisconsin.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker of Indianapolis ordered a 10-day extension for absentee ballots, meaning as long as they are postmarked by Election Day they will still be tabulated if they arrive by Nov. 13.

That ruling makes Indiana the ninth state where the window for accepting mailed ballots this year has been extended, either by the state voluntarily or as a result of a court order. The longer deadlines, which have become one of the more frequent easements for the record surge of voting by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic, mean results of close contests up and down many ballots may not be reliably clear for many days after Nov. 3.

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'Capturing the Flag' Screening and Discussion

Organizers: Feminist Majority Foundation, Ms. Magazine, Girls Learn International, Andrew Goodman Foundation and Common Cause

Register now for a virtual screening of "Capturing the Flag," a documentary that shares the story of three activists who worked to combat voter suppression in Cumberland County, N.C., in 2016, and a live town hall on how to make a difference during the 2020 elections season.

"Capturing The Flag" is an urgent cautionary tale that documents what's in store for the fast approaching election of 2020, and a close-up look of American democracy at its most vulnerable point. Through the intimate experiences of the film's citizen volunteers — and the hundreds of voters they try to assist — the human dimension of democracy comes into focus. The screening will be followed by a live town hall with:

  • Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at Common Cause;
  • Alexandria "Alex" Harris, executive director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation; and
  • Courtney Cardin, who directs nonprofit partnerships and influencer engagement for Power the Polls.
Location: Virtual
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