‘Purple State’ beer brewed to fight gerrymandering in NC

A new brew from Fullsteam in Durham lets folks drink beer while helping to end gerrymandering.

For every pint sold of Purple State beer, Fullsteam Brewery will donate $1 to Common Cause NC’s fight for fair voting maps. Continue reading

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Barbara & Tom Coulson: Champions of Democracy

For more than three decades, Barbara and Tom Coulson have been tirelessly working to make democracy work in North Carolina. This month, Common Cause NC honored the couple with its inaugural Champions of Democracy Award. Continue reading

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The holy grail of redistricting reform

The time is now for our state and country to implement strategic redistricting reform measures. The growing and impactful trend of creating independent redistricting commissions to draw voting maps in an unbiased manner could be the holy grail of redistricting reform and can serve as a guide to achieving a more democratic process.

Why America Needs Redistricting Reform

The people’s vote is a fundamental, legitimate and democratic right that is firmly rooted in the foundation of this nation. However, the redistricting of states to garner party advantage has jeopardized this liberty and has had drastic, negative impacts, like diluting voter strength and resulting in serious discrimination offenses in recent years. Continue reading

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Trial challenging NC partisan gerrymandering concludes

The fate of Common Cause v. Rucho, a potentially landmark lawsuit against partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina, now rests with a three-judge panel.

During a four-day trial at a federal courthouse in Greensboro, attorneys for the good-government group Common Cause argued that the NC legislature violated the constitutional rights of voters by drawing congressional districts with the express aim of benefiting Republicans at the expense of other parties. Continue reading

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The beginning of the end to partisan gerrymandering

America was founded on the democratic principles of equality, freedom and justice. However, the practice of gerrymandering – particularly partisan gerrymandering – is denying voters equal representation and ultimately limiting our democracy.

Gerrymandering is not a partisan issue, it is a systematic failure that both parties are guilty of perpetuating. This unconstitutional practice has undermined our democratic system, allowing politicians to pick their voters, versus the other way around, resulting in politicians who are unresponsive to their constituents. This is limiting the people’s right to choose their representatives.

North Carolina in particular has been a hotbed of court cases involving both racial and partisan gerrymandering offenses. One such case, Common Cause v. Rucho, went to trial Monday at a federal courthouse in Greensboro. That lawsuit has the potential to result in a landmark decision to end partisan gerrymandering. Continue reading

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A big month in the fight to end gerrymandering

This October is shaping up to be a pivotal month in the effort to finally end gerrymandering in North Carolina and across the nation.

Last week, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, a case coming out of Wisconsin that challenges partisan gerrymandering.

And a week from today, the case of Common Cause v. Rucho challenging partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina will go to trial at a federal courthouse in Greensboro. Continue reading

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It’s time for NC to join the growing trend of online voter registration

North Carolina is a hub of companies on the cutting edge of digital technology, but the state still lags behind the rest of the nation when it comes to applying that technology to key aspects of our voting process.

The Tar Heel State has made some moves toward modernization, however. Last year, the state DMV launched a new system allowing residents to securely update their voter registration online when making changes to their driver’s licenses and other DMV records.

Allowing voters who are already registered to use online tools to make updates to their registration is a positive step for North Carolina. The next step would be to join the majority of states that now allow citizens to register to vote online. Continue reading

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Redistricting committee falls short on public hearing for new legislative maps

UPDATE: A seventh hearing location has been added today, an improvement, but still far short of the number of locations that should be made available to concerned citizens. See the list here.

The Joint House and Senate Redistricting Committee on Wednesday released a list of locations for Tuesday’s public hearing on new legislative maps.

The following is a statement from Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC, in response to that announcement by the committee.

“The locations chosen by the redistricting committee’s leadership leave out large sections of the state that will likely be directly impacted by this latest redistricting, including most of eastern North Carolina. Having just one hearing location east of Raleigh makes participation unduly burdensome for concerned citizens in that region. Continue reading

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Bob Havely, longtime political & nonprofit consultant in NC, passes away

From Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC:

“We are very saddened by the passing of Bob Havely, a well-respected political and nonprofit consultant in North Carolina.

From serving in the White House, to working as director of government relations at Duke University and advising a wide variety of elected officials, candidates and nonprofit organizations, Bob dedicated his life to the democratic process and education in our state.

We are humbled and profoundly grateful to Bob for his wish that contributions be made in his memory to Common Cause North Carolina and our effort to strengthen democracy.  You can make a tax-deductible contribution in Bob’s memory here.

And we invite you to learn more about Bob’s years of dedicated service in North Carolina. ”

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The move to criminalize protests is a threat to democracy

At the recent People’s Hearing on Fair Redistricting held at the legislature, my mother had to really take into consideration where she sat.

I don’t mean she was overly concerned about the direct-viewing angle, or closeness to the speaker queue. She is one of the 30-some citizens who is banned from the NC Legislative Building – seemingly indefinitely – by Wake County Magistrate Jeffrey Godwin as part of their conditional release from detainment. Continue reading

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