Author

Julia Vaughn

Julia Vaughn

Julia Vaughn is the Executive Director of Common Cause Indiana. Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. The Washington, D.C.-based group was founded in 1970 and works to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promotes equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empowers all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

Commentary

Ethics on cruise control in state government

By: - December 11, 2023

Ever been driving down the highway on cruise control when you’re suddenly forced to take back control of the car to avoid a collision? From my vantage point, that’s the crossroads the General Assembly has arrived at after former state representative Sean Eberhart pleaded guilty to corruption charges for his role in 2019 legislation benefiting […]

Commentary
public access

Sweetheart deal showcases need for more lobbying transparency

By: - June 15, 2023

At the end of May I filed my bi-annual report of lobbying expenditures, as did my employer Common Cause Indiana, per the requirements of Indiana’s lobbying disclosure laws. It’s not a burdensome requirement for us, because our only reportable expenses are my salary and parking while at the Statehouse. Unlike some lobbyists, we don’t wine, […]

Commentary
absentee mail-in ballot

Legislation puts more hurdles in place for Hoosier voters

By: - March 23, 2023

According to the Cost of Voting study conducted by Northern Illinois University in 2020 Indiana’s restrictive voting laws make casting a ballot in the Hoosier state more difficult than most others. Our ranking was 41st in 2020 and if House Bill 1334 passes, it adds hurdles that are sure to get worse. Sponsored by Rep. […]

Commentary

Following the big lie playbook

By: - February 2, 2023

For more than a decade, Indiana has ranked in the bottom 10 for voter turnout. You would think that embarrassing statistic would motivate lawmakers to address the issue.       Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening at the Indiana General Assembly this year. Instead of proposals designed to make voting more accessible, too many members of the Republican […]

Commentary

Lax gun laws put Hoosier voters at risk

By: - November 8, 2022

Forty-three. That’s where Indiana ranks in terms of voter participation, according to a report published by two non-partisan organizations, the U.S. Elections Project and NonprofitVOTE. The state dropped five places compared to the 2016 election. While there are several factors contributing to Indiana ranking near the bottom of the list (cutting off voter registration four […]

Commentary
campaign finance

Bringing up the Rear

By: - September 27, 2022

In Indiana, there’s been no serious effort to reform campaign finance laws since the mid-1990s and neglecting the issue has gained us another Hall of Shame moment.    A recent study published by the nonpartisan Coalition for Integrity ranked Indiana’s campaign finance laws 51st, weaker than every other state and the District of Columbia. From transparency […]

Commentary
redistricting

Supreme Court Could Do Even More Damage

By: - August 25, 2022

It’s been quite a year for the U.S. Supreme Court. Whether it’s leaks of draft decisions, ethics-related scandals and calls for investigations, undermining efforts to curb climate change or overturning years of legal precedence to take away abortion rights, the result is a public distrustful of the judicial process. A recent Gallup poll bears this […]

Commentary

Democracy is like a Lake Michigan beach  

By: - July 26, 2022

My family is fortunate to have a cottage in Northwest Indiana, near Lake Michigan, and I’ve come to understand that the lake plays an integral role in all aspects of daily life, from the weather to the drinking water. Over the past several years, we’ve had our neighborhood access to the beach significantly limited because […]