Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How You Can Help Advance Fair Voting Maps in Wisconsin





What Everyone Can Do to Advance Fair Voter Maps & Redistricting Reform and Oppose Hyper-Partisan Gerrymandering of State Legislative Districts

1.   Contact both your State Senator and your State Representative and demand they support redistricting reform legislation (Senate Bill 13 & Assembly Bill 44), which would take the drawing of state legislative and congressional districts out of the hands of partisan legislators and entrust that task to the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. This is what they do in Iowa and it is respected and trusted by everyone. Reform organizations and pro-reform legislators are united in support of the “Iowa Model.”

2.   Contact State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in support of Senate Bill 13/Assembly Bill 44 and demand that they schedule a public hearing and vote on the reform legislation.

    Sen.Fitzgerald@legis.wisconsin.gov
    (608) 266-5660

    Rep.Vos@legis.Wisconsin.gov
    (608)266-3387

3.   Contact both your State Senator and State Representative and Fitzgerald and Vos and demand that no additional taxpayer money be used to pay legal fees to defend the unconstitutional, rigged 2011 voter maps that Fitzgerald and Vos have authorized when the current lawsuit is appealed and considered by the Supreme Court of the United States.

4.   Sign the online petition in support of redistricting reform legislation (Senate Bill 13/Assembly Bill 44) The petition link is at the top of our home page. Urge others to sign it as well.

5.   Vote! Make sure you have one of the required forms of photo ID in order to vote in Wisconsin and take responsibility for 10 friends/family members to ensure that they have what is required to vote as well.




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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Monday, February 20, 2017

Are You Ready to Vote in Tuesday's Primary Election?



For Release: Monday - February 20, 2017


Polls Open Tomorrow from 7am to 8pm

According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, in the last 20 years there have been three primary races (in 2001, 2005, and 2009) for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, with the average turnout in those primaries at just 5.9% of the state's voting-age population.

We NEED to do better than this for Wisconsin's kids. If you haven't already cast an early ballot, make a plan now to vote in tomorrow's primary.

First, look over the IDs pictured left to ensure you have a photo ID that can be used for voting.

(Click to enlarge image)

If you already have a Wisconsin driver license or one of the other acceptable forms of ID for voting, then you're "ID ready." Just remember to bring it with you when you head to your polling place!

What if you don't have an acceptable ID for voting on Election Day?

You can ask for AND vote with a provisional ballot. But, for your ballot to be counted, you MUST either come back to your polling place with an acceptable form of ID before it closes at 8:00 pm tomorrow OR bring your ID to your municipal clerk's office by 4:00 pm the Friday after the primary election (February 24th).

For more on getting a free ID for voting, see our voter ID fact sheet or visit Bring It to the Ballot.

Are you a college student planning to use your student ID for voting?

If you do not have one of the other forms of photo ID pictured above, and you are a college student hoping to use your student ID and a proof of enrollment document as your "voter ID," look up your school NOW on the appropriate list linked below to see if your current student ID is an acceptable form of ID for voting. If your student ID cannot be used for voting, you can find out if a separate school-issued "voter photo ID" is available and how to get one.

  University of Wisconsin – 4-Year Schools
  University of Wisconsin – 2-Year Schools
  Wisconsin Private Universities & Colleges
  Wisconsin Technical Colleges


Are you registered to vote?

Before you head out to the polls, check to see that you are registered to vote at your current address. If you are not, be sure to bring a proof of residence document (hard copy or electronic on your cell phone or tablet) when you go to the polls on Tuesday so that you can register there.

Where is your polling place?

To find out where to go to cast your ballot, visit the "Find My Polling Place" page on the Wisconsin Election Commission's My Vote Wisconsin website and type in your address.

What's on your ballot?

Visit the Wisconsin Election Commission's "What's on My Ballot" page and type in your address to see a sample ballot.

For more information about the candidates for Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction, our partners at the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin posed important questions to the three candidates and have published the candidates answers here.

Remember – EVERY election is important. Make a plan and make your voice heard!




Contact:


Sandra Miller
Director of Information Services & Outreach
608/658-2109
smiller@commoncause.org

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, February 16, 2017

Taxpayers to be Fleeced by GOP Legislative Leaders for Defense of Unconstitutional, Rigged Voter Maps



For Release: Thursday - February 16, 2017


"Taxation Without Representation" in Every Sense of that Phrase

Late Wednesday, it was revealed that State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) had secretly signed contracts with two law firms to utilize hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to pay for the defense of unconstitutional, rigged voter maps created in secrecy by GOP leaders in 2011.

This is the most blatant example of "taxation without representation" in every sense of that famous phrase.

There was no public input into this secret decision, which will further burden Wisconsin taxpayers, who have already been forced to shell out more than $2.1 million to create and defend the maps of state legislative districts in Wisconsin. They were drawn in complete secrecy in what was considered to be the most hyper-partisan Republican gerrymander in the nation in 2011 and one of the five most hyper-partisan redistricting processes in American history.

Last November, a federal court panel struck down Wisconsin's 2011 voter maps as unconstitutional for excessive partisanship. That decision is very likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States soon. In the meantime, the federal court panel has ordered the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature to redraw the state's legislative districts in a less partisan and more transparent way before November 1, 2017 – in time for the 2018 elections.

The expenditure of taxpayer dollars to defend the 2011 gerrymander serves no legitimate public purpose. The Wisconsin Attorney General, Brad Schimel, and his cohort of taxpayer-paid lawyers at the Department of Justice are already on board to defend the unconstitutional 2011 voter maps. The unilateral decision to hire one Chicago and Washington, D.C.-based law firm for at least $175,000 and another Wisconsin-based GOP law firm at $300 an hour (with no cap) was made by Fitzgerald and Vos with no public input. Legal costs could soar at our expense.

Wisconsin citizens need to contact Scott Fitzgerald and Robin Vos and their own State Senator and State Representative and demand that taxpayer funds not be utilized to defend unconstitutional, hyper-partisan voter maps. Many of you have done this in the last several weeks and we know that your voices are generating considerable concern and consternation under the Capitol dome.

Secondly, we must demand that the Legislature quickly hold public hearings and then consider and bring to a vote Senate Bill 13/Assembly Bill 44 – bipartisan legislation introduced within the past month in the Legislature by State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). This legislation, introduced for the third consecutive legislative session, is modeled after the Iowa redistricting process which was adopted by and enacted into law in 1980 by a Republican Governor (Robert Ray) and a Republican-controlled Iowa State Senate and House. Why? Because the Governor and the Legislature came to the realization that a non-partisan system, in which a professional state agency should draw the maps (carefully following strict, specific criteria) and not partisan legislators, would have the support and confidence of the citizens of Iowa. In Wisconsin currently, public interest and concern is ignored in favor of narrow, selfish, partisan considerations.

It is imperative that all of us contact both our State Senator and our State Representative and demand that they co-sponsor and support Senate Bill 13/Assembly Bill 44. Thus far, the legislation has the support of 13 State Senators (all Democrats) and 33 State Representatives, including Republican Todd Novak of Dodgeville. We need to pressure Republicans to break rank with their leaders and do the right thing for voters. If you are not sure who your state legislators are, go here. Please share with us any response you may receive. Also, please let us know if you have contacted your State Senator and State Representative and they do not respond.

And finally, if you have not done so already, please sign our on-line petition in support of the Iowa-model legislation. We are nearing 3,000 signatures and want to add to that total in the weeks ahead.

Your voices are making a difference. Keep applying pressure!




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, February 2, 2017

Statement on Republican Legislative Leaders Hiring Undisclosed Law Firms to Defend Indefensible 2011 State Voter Maps




For Release: Thursday February 2, 2017

The revelation yesterday that Wisconsin Republican legislative leaders intend to hire – at taxpayer expense – two law firms through a secret vote, and without naming the firms, is richly ironic and insulting to every Wisconsin voter. Their 2011 state legislative voter maps were deemed unconstitutional last November by a panel of federal judges, in part, because of the lack of transparency and extreme secrecy utilized by these same leaders during the 2011 redistricting process.

Last Friday, the Wisconsin State Legislature was ordered to begin redrawing those 2011 maps and to complete the process by November 1, 2017 – and now the GOP leaders respond with more lack of transparency and still more secrecy.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) should stop acting like groundhogs hiding in their holes on redistricting matters. It gives a bad name to groundhogs.

All Wisconsin taxpayers, who will be forced to bear the cost for the defense of the unconstitutional maps by outside law firms, and all Wisconsin voters, who were robbed of input into the process and of real choices in general elections, should demand an end to this top-down arrogance and insist on complete transparency in all matters relating to complying with the federal court order to redraw voter maps this year and thereafter.

Complete transparency, for that matter, is a principle that should guide all state government actions.




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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