Thursday, May 29, 2014

Redistricting Reform, Voting Rights and "Dark" Money at Racine Forum on June 5th

For Release: Thursday - May 29, 2014

Reform Forum in Racine on June 5th to
Focus on Redistricting Reform, Voting Rights
and "Dark" Money in Our Elections

State Rep. Cory Mason, State Sen. John Lehman,
Andrea Kaminski of the League of Women Voters-WI Among Panelists

Next Thursday night, Common Cause in Wisconsin is holding a free public forum at the Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church entitled: "Political Reform in Wisconsin: Where Things Stand." The event will run from 6:30 to 8 PM and will include a lengthy Q&A with the audience

We urge citizens from Racine and surrounding communities to attend this important issues forum.


In 2011, Wisconsin experienced the most secretive, partisan and expensive (over $2 million) redistricting process in state history – resulting in dramatically less competitive State Legislative and Congressional districts. We'll talk about why a measure that takes redistricting out of the hands of partisan legislators and puts that process into the hands of a non-partisan entity should be put into place as soon as possible – for the next redistricting process that will occur in 2021.

We'll also discuss Wisconsin’s 2011 extreme and restrictive photo voter ID law, the far-reaching implications of Federal Judge Lynn Adelman’s sweeping decision striking down that law in April – and the likelihood of a voter ID law returning in a new form in the near future. We will also take a closer look at other voting restrictions that were rammed through the Wisconsin Legislature in March at the end of the 2013-2014 legislative session.

And what about all that dark money flowing into Wisconsin?

Tens of millions of dollars were spent by outside interest groups on largely negative advertising leading up to the 2012 recall and general elections. But the citizens of Wisconsin still don't know who was really behind much of this avalanche of “outside” campaign cash and the constant barrage of special interest group “phony issue ads” during those elections.

Panelists and audience members will explore whether this lack of disclosure of these anonymous communications is a form of protected "free speech" – or if citizens should have the right to know who is trying to influence their vote.

Another issue we plan to cover is the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous 2010 decision Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission allowing corporations, labor unions and other interest groups (and their "Super PACs") to use unlimited money from their general treasury coffers to flood our airwaves with negative messages, giving them far greater influence on the outcome of elections. We'll discuss how Citizens United has affected Wisconsin.

And just last month, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down yet another horrendous decision in McCutcheon vs F.E.C. (or as some call it: “Citizens United, Part 2), allowing wealthy individuals to donate to many more candidates per election cycle, further expanding the corrupting influence of money in our political system, while drowning out the voices of non-wealthy voters. We’ll talk about McCutcheon and how it will affect Wisconsin – and we will explain a couple of other recent federal court decisions concerning Wisconsin’s campaign finance laws.

These and other vital reform issues will be the focus of discussion next Thursday, June 5th from 6:30 to 8pm at the Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church in Racine. This event is the latest in CC/WI's continuing series of "reform forums" around Wisconsin.

As noted above, the panelists will be State Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine), State Senator John Lehman (D-Racine), League of Women Voters executive director Andrea Kaminski, and CC/WI executive director Jay Heck.

Public Policy Chair Cheryl O'Brien of the American Association of University Women-Racine Branch will moderate the event.

For all of the details about this forum, go here. The event is free and you are encouraged to attend and participate!

Jay Heck – 608/256-2686

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703

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Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!

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