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Charge CPS obstruction on LSC election info

Neighborhood new sites report they’re “fighting to get basic information” about candidates in next week’s Local School Council election.

Citing “privacy” concerns, CPS has required Center Square Journal and Austin Talks to file FOIA requests for lists of candidates, candidate statements and contact information, according to reports.  In the past that information was routinely released.

On April 4, after weeks of inquiries, CSJ and AustinTalks received lists of candidates’ names and addresses, but no candidate statements and no phone numbers, according to Ellyn Fortino at AustinTalks.

Mike Fourcher of Center Square Journal writes that CPS has “obstructed” efforts to promote LSC elections – and CSJ efforts to report on the election.

“Obtaining a list of candidates for public office is a basic right of the voting public and the press,” Fourcher writes. “It’s necessary for citizens to determine for whom they plan to vote, for the press to report on candidates’ qualifications, and for candidates to know their opponents.

“In elections for any other public office, local governments make candidate lists easily available as a matter of course.”

“This practice of demanding FOIAs for information that should simply be publicly available in the case of the elections is something we’ve never seen before,” Don Moore of Designs for Change told CSJ.

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