Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Fair Price for Fair Maps

For release: Wednesday - February 28, 2024



Image: Tim Cullen


Wisconsin Taxpayers to Pay Just $64,000 for Fair Voting Maps After Doling Out More Than $3 Million for Unfair,  Partisan Gerrymandered Maps Over last 13 Years

On Monday, consultants hired by the Wisconsin Supreme Court submitted bills totaling about $128,000 for advice and analysis of state legislative voting maps submitted to the court in January after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional, partisan gerrymandered state voting maps passed by the Wisconsin Legislature during 2021-22 and imposed on Wisconsin by the previous Wisconsin Supreme Court majority.

Of the $128,000 to be paid to the consultants, about half that amount – $64,000 will come from Wisconsin taxpayers. The other half will be paid for by private funds.

The $64,000 being shouldered by taxpayers for fair, constitutional state legislative district maps stands in stark contrast to the more than $3 million taxpayers were forced to pay for to devise and defend for 13 years among the most secretive, unfair, uncompetitive, unconstitutional and most partisan gerrymandered voting maps enacted into law in the nation, first in 2011 and then again during 2021-22.

Among the maps submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in January that the consultants judged to be much fairer and more constitutional than the voting maps currently in place, are the maps submitted by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. Those maps were passed by the Wisconsin Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Evers on February 19th and will be in place for the 2024 elections.

Governor Evers and the Wisconsin Legislature, prompted by the Wisconsin Supreme Court's landmark December 22nd decision striking down the current state legislative voting maps, have come together in achieving a significant victory for the voters of Wisconsin and at a fraction of the financial cost to taxpayers that 13 years of unfair partisan gerrymandering has cost them.

"The savings to be realized by the end of unfair voting maps is just the icing on the cake for this new era of fairer and more representative elections that the recent enactment of new maps has set in motion," said Common Cause Wisconsin Board member and former State Senate Majority Leader Tim Cullen of Janesville. "Wisconsin taxpayers paid over $3 million for gerrymandered maps which greatly decreased the value their vote in 2011 and then again in 2021-22, but only $64,000 to help restore the value of their vote. That's real value and progress!" Cullen, a longtime leader and advocate for fair voting maps, added.

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Jay Heck
608/512-9363 (cell)

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The Polls are Open for the Spring Primary

For release: Tuesday - February 20, 2024



Image: Vote Here sign outside of polling place / Photo: E Grunze

Check to see if you have an Election Today!

School board, alderperson, mayor, judges, town board or city council, county board members - these are elected positions that could be on your ballot today. However, because there is not a statewide contest in the spring primary, not all voters have a primary ballot to cast today, February 20th. You can check if you have any candidates on your ballot today by reviewing your sample ballot on MyVote Wisconsin.


These contests are important because you have the opportunity to narrow the field of candidates for school board seats and other local offices on the April 2nd Spring Election ballot. These school and local government officials represent you and your neighbors – and the decisions they make have a direct and real impact on your local community. So please do not miss this chance to make your voice heard at the ballot box in a big way. Look over the information below to make sure you have what you need to vote in this primary election. Polls in Wisconsin are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.


After you’ve checked MyVote to see if you have an election today and you know that you do, see if you are registered to vote at your current address by checking your voter status on MyVote. And, if you’re not registered (or your address or name has changed since you last voted), you can register to vote today at your polling location. Be sure to bring a proof of residence document (hard copy or electronic on your cell phone or tablet) when you vote today.


If you need 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.


If you want to see candidate information for those wanting to represent you, check vote411.org.


AND REMEMBER, every voter needs to bring an ID to the polls to vote. Bringit.wi.gov has complete information about what IDs you can use. Students attending any Wisconsin private and public universities, colleges, and technical colleges can see if their IDs can be used to vote at CCWI's student information page.


If you have any questions or have any problems at the polls, call the Election Protection Hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-886-687-8683).


The year’s elections kick off today! Be ready to vote in each election this year - April 2, August 13, November 5 - by making a plan. Your vote. Your voice. Your right.


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

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

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Monday, February 19, 2024

Wisconsin Has Fair Legislative Voting Maps!

For release: Monday - February 19, 2024




Image: Governor speaking at the Fair Maps bill signing / Channel 3000 photo


Gov. Evers Signs Transformative Redistricting Measure into Law

Monday, February 19th is a federal holiday celebrated around the nation as President’s Day. Today, Wisconsinites also can begin celebrating new, far more fair and representative state legislative district voting maps that will be in effect for this year’s August primary and November general elections. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed into law the very same voting maps he submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The court decided last December that if the Governor and Legislature came to an agreement on new voting maps to replace the unconstitutional district maps currently in place, then those agreed upon maps would become effective for 2024 and beyond.

This is a tremendous, well-earned and much deserved victory for the voters of Wisconsin. The new State Senate and Assembly maps that will now be in place for 2024 did not greatly please Democratic partisans or Republican partisans, to say the least. But they are fair and beneficial for the voters of Wisconsin. These new maps are constitutional and much better reflect the true and nearly even partisan preferences of Wisconsin voters. Wisconsin is among the most evenly and closely divided and contested 50/50 states in the nation.

“Fairer and more representative legislative districts in Wisconsin will lead not only to fairer and more representative election outcomes, but hopefully also to a legislature that works toward finding bipartisan consensus in addressing the concerns of our citizens,” said Common Cause Wisconsin Advisory Board Co-Chair David Deininger.

The new legislative district maps will provide far more competition in legislative elections in our state than we have experienced in many years. The quality of candidates as well as the power of policy prescriptions and ideas will once again determine the outcome of more elections instead of preordained outcomes derived from district lines devised and skewed for partisan advantage.

Wisconsinites from every corner and county in Wisconsin have organized and advocated for fair voting maps since 2011. That year, Wisconsin became one of the most egregiously gerrymandered states in the nation only to get worse in 2021-22. However, thousands of voters pressed to pass county resolutions and referenda as well as have contacted their legislators in support of redistricting reform and fairer maps. These actions elevated the matter of fair voting maps and the need for more competitive elections, and brought the issue to the attention of the Governor, the Legislature and to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

And now, finally, the citizens and voters of Wisconsin have prevailed.

The enactment of the Governor’s maps into law will likely put an end to the current litigation regarding legislative district maps. It will also provide stability and certainty for voters about their new state legislative voting districts through the 2024 elections, and hopefully, until the next decennial redistricting in 2031. This is not a permanent solution to the redistricting problem in Wisconsin, however. We still need to enact into law a nonpartisan redistricting process for 2031 that takes redistricting out of the hands of partisan elected officials and entrusts it to a nonpartisan entity. Wisconsin should never again have to experience the divisive political polarization that gerrymandering has caused in our state for over 13 years.

But for now, we celebrate and give our thanks to Gov. Evers, the Legislature, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and most importantly, to the active, engaged and dedicated citizens of Wisconsin who are what really made this significant victory possible for all of us!

"The people haven't won very often in the Capitol. They won on Monday," added immediate past chair of Co-Chair of Common Cause Wisconsin Tim Cullen, a former Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leader.


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

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

Read More...


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Wisconsin Legislature Passes Governor's State Legislative District Voting Maps

For release: Wednesday - February 14, 2024


Image: Wisconsin Deserves Fair Maps


Evers Has Said He Will Sign Maps Legislation into Law Effective for 2024 Elections


Fairer and more representative state legislative district voting maps are finally on the verge of becoming a reality in Wisconsin.


The Wisconsin Legislature on Tuesday passed new and dramatically different state legislative voting maps to be in place for the 2024 elections. Gov. Tony Evers has indicated he will sign them into law. The maps are a significant improvement over the current, hyper partisan gerrymandered Republican maps currently in place.


The vote for passage of the maps was 18 to 14 in the State Senate and 63 to 33 in the State Assembly. The enactment into law of these maps may also end ongoing legal action in the Wisconsin Supreme Court which ruled on December 22, 2023 that the current maps were unconstitutional.


Thousands of Wisconsin citizens and activists have been involved and invested in the struggle for fair voting maps since 2011. They are the major reason this issue, so important to democracy, came to the attention of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. To those voters goes the credit and our gratitude for this important moment.


In their remarks before votes in the Assembly and State Senate, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) all but promised that there would be no further legal challenges from Republicans to the Democratic Governor's maps, assuring that these maps will be in place through November 2024 and beyond. While that is certainly positive, the actions of Vos and LeMahieu, not their words, will be what will matter.


The process by which Vos and LeMahieu brought the maps to the floor of the Legislature for a vote yesterday was done with virtually no input from the people most affected by this matter – the voters and citizens of Wisconsin. That underscores the need for Wisconsin to continue to work toward taking the process of legislative and congressional redistricting out of the hands of partisan politicians and, by 2031, entrusting it to a nonpartisan entity that makes it truly possible for voters to select their elected representatives instead of the inverse.


“I am excited for the citizens of Wisconsin who have had the value of their vote and their voice returned to them by the passage of this legislation,” said Common Cause Wisconsin (CC/WI) Co-Chair Penny Bernard Schaber, a former Democratic State Representative from Appleton. “The same voters are committed to working towards a permanent nonpartisan redistricting process that will ensure that their votes always have equal value,” Bernard Schaber added.


"We urge Gov. Evers to sign his voting maps passed by the Wisconsin Legislature into law. That will help bring stability and certainty to the fast-approaching 2024 election cycle and for the years ahead until the next decennial redistricting process occurs in 2031," said Jay Heck, the executive director of Common Cause Wisconsin (CC/WI) since 1996.


Here are links to the Governor’s state legislative voting maps:

Wisconsin State Assembly 

Wisconsin State Senate



--------------------------

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

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

Read More...