Wisconsin State Capitol, Dane County

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



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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

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




For Release: Wednesday - 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



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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...


Sunday, May 1, 2016

In the News - May 2016


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Breathing New Life into Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform/Ending Partisan Gerrymandering




For Release: Tuesday - April 26, 2016

Breathing New Life into Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform/Ending Partisan Gerrymandering

Finally – A Public Hearing, A Promising Lawsuit and Action Citizens Can Take

For three years, from 2012 through 2014, non-partisan redistricting reform was the "hottest' political reform issue in Wisconsin, with meetings and forums about the subject all over the state (CC/WI organized nearly 20 alone), support and frequent editorials from virtually every Wisconsin's daily newspaper (21) and thousands of calls and messages pouring into the Capitol to legislators demanding that they end partisan gerrymandering of state legislative and congressional districts.

But Republican legislative leaders, chiefly Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), jealously guarded their command of redistricting because of the enormous political power they possess. Consequently, they allowed virtually no Republican legislators to publicly support non-partisan redistricting reform and they refused to allow the scheduling of even a public hearing on legislation that would establish a non-partisan process, such as the one that has worked so well in Iowa since 1980.

During 2015, Vos and Fitzgerald shifted their attention to expanding their power, such as destroying the non-partisan Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, transforming Wisconsin's campaign finance law into among the worst, least regulated and least transparent in the nation, and to exempting politicians from effective investigation and prosecution from political corruption. Consequently, good government reform groups such as CC/WI had to shift their emphasis and focus from educating the public about anti-gerrymandering and instead, deploy all of our energy and resources towards fighting those new battles and trying to mitigate the damage caused by the GOP offensive to turn Wisconsin into a one-party state that they could completely control, long into the future.

But we have kept non-partisan redistricting reform a "live" issue and have continued to work with newspaper editorial boards to continue to try to elevate the issue, particularly when non-partisan redistricting reform legislation, based on Iowa's system, was introduced during 2015: Senate Bill 58 and Assembly Bill 328.

Finally, our "badgering" showed at least some fruit when State Rep. Kathleen Bernier (R-Lake Halle), the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections, finally scheduled an "information only" public hearing in the Capitol earlier this month on non-partisan redistricting reform after a number of editorials citing CC/WI such as this one in the Wisconsin State Journal. CC/WI Director Jay Heck was one of the eight individuals that were asked to testify at the hearing. You can see/listen to the entire hearing on Wisconsin Eye here (Jay's testimony begins at 1:56). While the hearing will not advance actual legislation, because the Legislature has adjourned for the session, the precedent for having a "sanctioned" public hearing on the issue has finally been set after five years of not allowing even that.

Meanwhile, on the legal front and also earlier this month, there was a very encouraging development in the battle against the extremely partisan, secretive, expensive (to taxpayers) and utterly undemocratic GOP gerrymander of Wisconsin's state legislative districts in 2011. Many legal experts give this case a very good chance of reaching the U.S. Supreme Court in the near future. Reformers are making progress on this issue.

You can help us advance this issue too! Make sure that you ask all state legislative and congressional candidates about their position on non-partisan redistricting reform (specifically the "Iowa Model") during this long election season that will lead to November 8th – Election Day.

And please sign this petition, if you haven't already done so, that we will send to the Wisconsin Legislature after November 8th to demand action on non-partisan redistricting reform. If you have already signed the petition, please direct others to the site and urge them to sign it.

Finally, CC/WI Director Jay Heck is helping to "kick off" this renewed push to end partisan gerrymandering and establish non-partisan redistricting reform in Wisconsin before 2021, by addressing the Wisconsin Council of Churches Board of Directors today in Sun Prairie. As is the case with almost every other political reform issue such as voting rights, campaign finance reform, transparency and ethical laws and governance – fair voting maps through the enactment into law of non-partisan redistricting reform is a deeply moral issue for a healthy and vibrant democracy.

Please do your part to make it a reality!




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...