Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Most Restrictive Voter Photo ID Measure in the Nation Gets a Hearing on Wednesday/Big Crowd in Kenosha to Discuss Reform

Common Cause in Wisconsin Reform Update - April 26, 2011
  1. Most Restrictive Voter Photo ID Measure in the Nation Gets a Public Hearing this Wednesday in the State Capitol
  2. Packed House for Reform Forum In Kenosha on Campaign Finance, Redistricting and Election Reform Issues
  3. Join Us in The Next Big Thing: Redistricting Reform

1. On Wednesday, April 27th the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Election and Campaign Reform will hold a public hearing on ASSEMBLY BILL 7 - which, if passed and enacted into law, would be the most restrictive voter identification law in the nation. This measure would likely mean that tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of voters in Wisconsin would find it too difficult and onerous to cast their ballots on election day, and take Wisconsin from being one of the top two states in the nation in voter turnout to one of the lowest. It would be easier to vote in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and even Georgia (currently the second most restrictive state in the nation, after Indiana, in which to vote) than in Wisconsin if this measure becomes law. And why? For no other reason than for partisan advantage. It is one of the most undemocratic and misguided pieces of legislation ever proposed in Wisconsin's history.

The State Senate counterpart to this measure, Senate Bill 6, all but passed in the State Senate in February with only Republicans voting. Here is what we had to say about it in February before the SB 6 was modified in committee, and then as it was brought to the State Senate floor and brought to the verge of passage on February 24th.

The committee will "allow" citizens to testify on Assembly Bill 7, but for no longer than two minutes and testimony will be limited for the period between 10 AM and 4 PM on Wednesday. We will be there to speak up against this monstrosity and you should as well, if you can. For more details about the hearing, go here. If you cannot be there to testify, please let the members of the committee and your own State Representative and State Senator know what you think.

2. Last week at Carthage College in Kenosha, Common Cause in Wisconsin presented another in a long series of reform forums around the state to educate the public about political reform issues like voter photo ID, redistricting reform, campaign finance reform and the recent state Supreme Court election in Wisconsin. On Monday evening, April 18th between 125 and 150 citizens and students filled every chair and stood to participate in a very lively panel discussion that featured Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), State Senator Bob Wirch (D-Pleasant Prairie), Carthage College Political Science Professor Jerald Mast, Republican Assistant District Attorney of Kenosha County Dick Ginkowski and CC/WI Director Jay Heck. Carthage College Political Science Professor Jonathan Marshall moderated the forum and helped organize this very successful event with CC/WI Director of Information Services and Outreach Sandra Miller.

You can view a video of the Kenosha Forum on Wisconsin Eye, which covered the event. To see photos of the forum go here.

CC/WI has organized similar forums over the past several years in Green Bay, Milwaukee (twice), La Crosse, Oshkosh, Madison (twice), Sturgeon Bay, Eau Claire, Janesville, Pewaukee, Stevens Point, Middleton, Appleton -- and is planning upcoming forums in Green Bay and Wausau.

2. In the event you may have missed it, please read CC/WI Co-Chair Bill Kraus' excellent column on why redistricting reform is so a vitally important and why you need to lend your name to the effort!

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703

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