Dane County Farmers' Market

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Counter Attack Begins on Hyper-Partisan Gerrymandering In 2016 Elections




For Release: Tuesday - July 26, 2016

Fair voter Maps/Redistricting Reform Being Elevated as a Prominent Election Issue

Overlooked in all of the dramatic international and national news that seems to have accelerated almost with each passing day in this most insane and tumultuous election year since 1968, has been the quiet but steady progress occurring this Summer on a number of state political reform fronts. Despite the determined efforts of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) to stamp it out as an issue and make Wisconsinites forget about it, non-partisan redistricting reform – the necessity of ending hyper-partisan gerrymandering of state legislative and congressional districts – continues to gain support among Wisconsinites of all political stripes, and will be a front-and-center issue for state legislative candidates running for election or re-election in 2016.

Statewide newspapers continue to editorialize about it and CC/WI continues to inform the public about this critical issue through opinion editorials like this one, this one, this one, this one, and many more.

One far right wing newspaper columnist decided he needed to try to defend the corrupt status quo by pathetically surmising that if the Democrats had been in power in 2011, they would have been just as awful as the Republicans were in robbing Wisconsinites of genuine choices in general elections. Really? That's the best defense they have? As if there isn't any positive alternative to the current, debased system? When that's the best they can come up with against ending partisan gerrymandering, then you know their policy is bankrupt and rotten to the core.

This Summer has seen a big surge in the number of Wisconsinites signing our online petition – to be delivered to the 2017 Wisconsin Legislature, early next year – demanding support for legislation that would establish the non-partisan redistricting system our neighboring state of Iowa has had in place since 1980. If you have not yet signed the petition, or know of others who haven't, please do so and urge other Wisconsinites to sign it as well. We now have well over 2,000 signees but would like to double that number, if possible.

A promising lawsuit challenging the hyper-partisan, secretive 2011 redistricting process that concluded oral arguments before a federal three-judge panel at the end of May could also lead to a court-ordered end to the current method of drawing new election maps every ten years. The U.S. Supreme Court may take the case next Fall. While a decision may not occur to effect the November 2016 elections, it could result in changes in 2017.

For an excellent analysis of the partisan gerrymandering situation throughout the nation, we recommend this article.

CC/WI will report on other progress being made on political reform issues critical for the strengthening and maintenance of democracy and the rule of law in Wisconsin in the days and weeks ahead.

Never surrender!




CONTACT:

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)




Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org



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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Are You Ready to Cast a Ballot in the August 9th Primary Election?




For Release: Friday - July 15, 2016


Please take some time NOW to make sure your vote can be cast and counted on August 9th!

Are you registered to vote? It's easy to find out. Just go to MyVote.WI.gov and select "Register to vote," then enter your name and date of birth to confirm that you are registered at your current address.

If you're not already registered, there are several ways you can register to vote:

By Mail
. Up to 20 days before the election. Next Tuesday, July 19th is the last day to register by mail in order to vote in the August 9th primary. You can start your voter registration form online at MyVote.WI.gov – then print, sign and mail it to your municipal clerk along with a proof of residence document.

By Special Registration Deputy (SRD). SRDs are appointed by a municipal clerk to register fellow citizens at many venues within their municipality. You will often see SRDs during election season at libraries, community centers, nursing homes, farmers' markets, outside of banks and supermarkets. You'll need to show an SRD a proof of residence document in order to complete your registration with them (this document can be shown electronically). The last day to register with an SRD to vote in the August 9th primary is next Tuesday, July 19th.

In your Municipal Clerk’s Office
. You can register in-person in your municipal clerk’s office up until the Friday before the election at 5:00 p.m. or close of business, whichever is later. You'll need to bring a proof of residence document to complete your registration (this document can be shown electronically).

At the Polls on Election Day. If you're unable to register by any of the methods above, you can still register when you go to the polls to vote. You will need to present a proof of residence document when registering (again, this document can be shown electronically).

Here are some examples of acceptable proof of residence documents
.

Remember – even if you're already registered to vote – in order for your vote to be counted, you must present one of the forms of photo identification pictured left.

For additional information on the photo ID you will need to present when casting a ballot, please see the links below.

All Eligible Wisconsin Voters

(Spanish Language version)

Senior Citizens

(Spanish Language version)

College Students


Click here for more on getting ready to vote in 2016!

If you or someone you know does not have a photo ID that is acceptable for voting, have any questions about getting a free photo ID to vote – or need assistance getting required documents – call one of these Voter ID Helplines: 608-729-7720 or 414-882-8622 to reach a team of folks helping voters across the state.

In addition, our friends at the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin are launching a statewide voter education/voter registration tour entitled "Gear Up to Vote" next Monday, July 18th at 10:00 AM at the Madison Senior Center, 330 West Mifflin Street.

Throughout this summer and fall, SRDs from the League will be taking their colorful minivan across Wisconsin (beginning in Madison's Theresa Terrace/Hammersley Road neighborhood on Monday) to "register citizens to vote, help them find their polling place, inform them about acceptable types of photo ID, and let voters know where to find information about candidates and issues." If you can make it for Monday's kick-off event, then come on out and get answers about voting, register – or just show your support for this welcome, much-needed effort!

Voting is a right none of us can afford to lose.

Take steps NOW to ensure that you and everyone you know can make their voice heard at the ballot box on August 9th and beyond!





CONTACT:

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)




Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org



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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Crunch Time for Getting Wisconsin Citizens Information on Voter Photo ID Requirements




For Release: Wednesday - June 29, 2016

Crunch Time for Getting Wisconsin Citizens Information
on Voter Photo ID Requirement


Only Six Weeks Until Primary Election Day

With the August 9th primary election now just under six weeks away, time is of the essence in getting Wisconsinites the information they need to know in order to vote. It is important that every citizen who is eligible and would like to cast a vote know what form of ID they need to bring to their polling place (or for in-person absentee voting before election day). It is also vitally important that citizens who do not yet have one of the required forms of ID to vote be informed about what they need and how to obtain it.

Common Cause in Wisconsin has designed and created a simple, easy-to-understand, two-page general information sheet for all voters about "What you need to know" about Wisconsin Voter Photo ID. You can see it (and download and print it) here. The same information sheet is also available in Spanish language here.

We have also developed a similar, simple, two-page information sheet specifically for senior citizen voters, both in English language here, and in Spanish language, here.

Finally, we have developed a very simple one-page information sheet: "What College & University Students need to know" about Wisconsin Voter Photo ID as well. You can download it here.

Our friends at the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and at Wisconsin Voices and many other groups are also utilizing this information to inform Wisconsin voters of all ages about what they need to know in order to get the ID they need for voting and having those votes counted.

CC/WI has a limited quantity of printed information sheets (for all voters) available for pick-up in Madison. If you would like to obtain some, please contact Sandra Miller to arrange pick-up.

Let's all pitch in and ensure that anyone and everyone who is eligible to vote and wishes to, is able to do so. Getting them the information they need will greatly assist in this critical task.

Thanks. On Wisconsin!




CONTACT:

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)




Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org



Read More...


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

First Returns Are In for the Uncompetitive 2016 Wisconsin Legislative General Elections




For Release: Thursday - June 8, 2016

High Number of Uncontested and Non-Competitive Legislative Districts Highlight the Need For Ending Partisan Gerrymandering
and Adopting Iowa's Redistricting Process



With the passing of the June 1st deadline for candidate filings for state legislative (and congressional) seats in Wisconsin, we now have a clearer picture of how just how incredibly uncompetitive Wisconsin's general elections have become and will be this November.

"Congratulations" State Senators-Elect: Darling, Miller, Stroebel, Wirch, Risser and Craig! You have won already!

Those six, of the 16 State Senators running for re-election (or in an open seat) this year, are totally unopposed.

And of Wisconsin's 99 Assembly seats, more than a third (34) feature incumbents who have no opponent whatsoever in November. There are 17 unopposed Republicans and 17 unopposed Democrats. In an additional six Assembly districts, Republican or Democratic incumbents face only minor party opposition. So in over 40 percent of Wisconsin Assembly elections this Fall, there is essentially no, or very little, opposition to incumbents (or in the case of open seats – to the current political party now holding that seat).

Here is the complete listing of candidates for state legislative and congressional districts for both the August Primary and November General Elections. Read it and weep.

"Thanks" to the most hyper-partisan gerrymandering of Wisconsin's state legislative districts (in 2011) in our state history – and among the most extreme such partisan map drawing in the history of the nation – Wisconsin voters have far fewer choices than ever before in general elections and the fewest districts on record that can even remotely be considered competitive.

The need for fair voter maps and for an end to partisan gerrymandering has never been more compelling.

Current CC/WI board member and former Republican State Representative Dave Martin, who represented Neenah-Menasha from 1961 to 1971 and was the GOP candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin in 1970, made a compelling case for why Republicans should embrace a non-partisan redistricting process like Iowa has had since 1980 in this opinion-editorial that was published just this past Sunday in the ten Gannett-owned Wisconsin daily newspapers in Appleton, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Manitowoc, Marshfield, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, Stevens Point, Wausau and in Wisconsin Rapids.

You can help elevate the need for fair voter maps in Wisconsin by signing (only if you have not yet done so) our petition to the Wisconsin Legislature demanding enactment into law of the Iowa redistricting model for Wisconsin in the next legislative session. Our goal is to get 5,000 signatures by December and we have almost 2,000 now, but we need your help in reaching our goal.

Thank you. Never surrender!




CONTACT:

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)




Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org



Read More...


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Only One in Ten State Legislative Districts Can be Considered Even Remotely Competitive for November




For Release: Tuesday - May 10, 2016

Just One in Ten State Legislative Districts in Wisconsin
are Competitive for the 2016 General Election
Dramatic Decrease From 2010 as a Result of Gerrymandering

The number of Wisconsin Assembly and State Senate legislative districts in 2016 that can be considered even remotely competitive this November is just 10 percent of the total – one of the fewest number of competitive state legislative districts on record – according to election data compiled by Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI). The figures are based on Assembly general election vote percentages in 2014 and on State Senate general election vote percentages in 2012. Assembly elections are every two years, State Senate elections are every four years.

Just ten of 99 State Assembly seats in 2014 and only two of 16 State Senate seats in 2012 experienced general elections in which the margin of victory was ten points or less (55% to 45% or closer – considered by political scientists to be within a “competitive” range). The total number of competitive legislative districts for the Wisconsin Legislature is 12 of 115 (99 Assembly and 16 State Senate seats) or just 10.4 percent for the upcoming November 8th election.

By contrast, during the 2010 elections – which occurred before the 2011 redistricting process that was rammed through the Legislature and signed into law in July 2011 – there were 21 competitive elections (of 99) in the Assembly and 6 of 16 in the State Senate, or 27 of 116 total (23.3 percent) in the November 2010 elections.

The 2011 redistricting process is widely considered to be the most partisan, secretive and expensive (to Wisconsin taxpayers) in Wisconsin’s history. The number of competitive Assembly and State Senate legislative districts in 2016, after that process, compared with the corresponding numbers in the 2010 election (before the gerrymandering) demonstrates that the 2011 redistricting process resulted in far fewer competitive state legislative elections in which voters had a real choice in the general election.

During the 2010 general election less than a quarter (23.3 percent) of all Wisconsin legislative seats were considered competitive, which was disgraceful. But the partisan 2011 redistricting process made it far worse. In 2012, competitive elections fell to under 15 percent of the total (14.8%) and in 2014 it dropped to just over 10 percent (10.3%).

Democracy is in serious trouble when only one in ten Wisconsinites has an opportunity to vote in an election in which they have a serious choice for the Wisconsin Legislature in the general election.

Longtime Common Cause in Wisconsin State Governing Board Member Dave Martin makes a compelling case in the Wisconsin State Journal about why Republicans and Democrats should end hyper-partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin and adopt Iowa's non-partisan fair voting maps process for 2021. Dave is a former Republican State Representative from Neenah and GOP candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin.

This is not a partisan issue.

It is all about making our elected officials responsive to we, the people.

Please go here to sign (if you have not yet done so) our petition to Wisconsin legislators demanding they support the "Iowa Plan" redistricting reform legislation that will be introduced in the next session of the Legislature. If you have already signed, please encourage others to do so! Our goal is 5,000 signatures and we have almost 1,500 so far. Thanks!





CONTACT:

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)




Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org



Read More...