Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Call to Action against Legislative Leader's "Lame Duck" Session to Diminish Democracy



For Release: Tuesday - November 20, 2018


It takes a special type of arrogance and hubris when your political party receives fewer statewide votes in state legislative elections, and the other political party sweeps all of the statewide constitutional offices – and then you move to increase your own partisan political power and diminish that of the winning party, particularly that of the incoming Governor. And in the process of doing that, you deliberately thwart the will of the voters and further defile democracy.

And yet, with defeated Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker apparently a willing accomplice, that is exactly what Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) intend to do, beginning the week right after Thanksgiving Day and likely into December.

We do not know yet know all of the details of what Vos, Fitzgerald and Walker have in mind because the least transparent and most secretive legislative leaders and Governor in Wisconsin's history have made only a few public comments about what they think would be "good" to protect and enhance their political self-interest in this costly and totally unnecessary "Extraordinary" legislative session.

Expect that their "package" of lame duck session initiatives will be shielded from the public and media as long as possible and then unleashed and rammed through the Legislature suddenly and quickly. That's how they have operated for the past eight years and there is no reason to expect anything different this time.

Start with the fact that on November 6th, Democratic candidates for the State Assembly garnered 54 percent of the vote while Republican candidates received 46 percent. And yet, not a single incumbent legislator (of either party) lost their re-election and Republicans ended up with 63 Assembly seats and Democrats just 36. That, of course, is a result of the most extreme partisan Republican gerrymandering of any state in the nation, back in 2011.

And yet – after Wisconsinites voted for greater checks on their power – Vos and Fitzgerald are bringing the "lame duck" Legislature back into extraordinary session to consolidate and enhance their partisan control and to weaken the incoming Democratic Governor, Tony Evers. That's beyond chutzpah.

We do know that defeated Governor Scott Walker met with GOP legislative leaders Robin Vos & Scott Fitzgerald last week to discuss what damage they could do together before Tony Evers becomes Governor in January. Moving the April, 2020 WI Supreme Court date so it doesn't coincide with the 2020 WI presidential primary (and the big turnout of voters expected to participate, particularly on the Democratic side) seems likely.

Why? To try to boost the re-election chances of conservative Justice Daniel Kelly who will be running then. In addition to the unfair partisan advantage they will try to game here, it will cost you, the taxpayers, nearly seven million dollars and is opposed by already over-burdened election clerks all over the state.

Also likely on the GOP "Holiday" agenda: strengthening Wisconsin's already extreme and restrictive voter photo ID law, giving legislators more control over appointments and rule making, and possibly reducing the Governor's role and power in the redistricting process in 2021. The fact is, we don't really know what they're planning because its all being kept secret from the public, who will have to endure the consequences of their actions without a lot of input.

That's where you come in.

First, this week – before Thanksgiving – let your own State Senator and State Representative know that you oppose this "extraordinary session" because it defies the will of the state's voters, is a colossal waste of taxpayer money and will only increase partisan acrimony, not reduce it. If you are not sure who your State Senator and your State Representative are, you can look them up here.

Also, let Speaker Vos and Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald know what you think of all of this. Here is their contact information.

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

Rep.Vos@legis.Wisconsin.gov

(608) 266-9171

Finally, please be ready to take further action after Thanksgiving when we know more about exactly what will be unleashed against us.

If there was ever a time to make your voices heard after an election, this is it!

Please contact your state legislators, Vos and Fitzgerald and then have a happy Thanksgiving.

On Wisconsin! Forward.





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, November 8, 2018

Election Results Underscore Urgent Need to End Partisan Gerrymandering in Wisconsin



For Release: Thursday - November 8, 2018


Evers Election Means Partisan Rigged Maps of 2011 Cannot Be Repeated in 2021

Tuesday's state legislative and congressional election results demonstrate – clearly and convincingly – that the will of the citizens of Wisconsin at the ballot box will only be fully realized when the hyper-partisan gerrymandering of the state's legislative and congressional districts, in place since 2011, is ended.

Only one incumbent elected official of either political party lost their re-election effort on Tuesday. And in that case, Democratic State Senator Caleb Frostman (D-Sturgeon Bay), had held office for only four months – having won a special election in June to fill a seat in a state senate district drawn to favor Republicans.

This means that almost all of Wisconsin's state legislative and congressional elections were not competitive and that the outcome in virtually all of these elections was pre-ordained because of partisan gerrymandering.

"While Democrats swept statewide offices for U.S. Senator, Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer and Secretary of State, Republicans were able to thwart the will of the majority of voters in holding, virtually without change, almost the exact same number of state legislative and congressional districts that they held prior to the election. The sole explanation for this undemocratic disparity is the rigged, hyper-partisan voting maps rammed through the Wisconsin Legislature and enacted in 2011," said Jay Heck, Director of Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI).

On the bright side, CC/WI State Governing Board Chair Tim Cullen noted, "the election of Tony Evers as Governor means that the one-sided, partisan redistricting process that happened in 2011 can't be repeated in 2021 because Wisconsin will have split control of state government and of that process."

Cullen also said that this split will necessitate a compromise between the two major political parties on voting maps, and failing that, would have to be done by federal judges.

Cullen and Heck said that it behooves both Republicans and Democrats to adopt a non-partisan redistricting process prior to 2021 to avoid costly (to state taxpayers) legal expenses and increased partisan acrimony in the two years ahead. The non-partisan redistricting system in place in Iowa since 1980, when a Republican Governor and Republican-controlled Legislature enacted it into law, is the best process for Wisconsin.

CC/WI and other reform organizations and pro-reform legislators are all united in support of the Iowa model.




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, November 6, 2018

Today is Election Day: VOTE!



For Release: Tuesday - November 6, 2018



Do not miss this opportunity to make your voice heard at the ballot box in this critical midterm election!

First, make sure you are registered to vote at your current address.

If you discover that you are not already registered to vote at your current residence, don't panic.

You can still register at your polling place today. You will need to present a proof of residence document when registering (this document can be shown electronically). If your drivers license or state ID card has your current address, that’s all you need.

Examples of proof of residence documents are here.

And don't forget a photo ID.

When you vote, you will need to present one of the acceptable forms of photo ID for voting pictured left. (Click image to enlarge)

If you already have a Wisconsin driver license or one of the other acceptable forms of ID for voting pictured left, 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 OR bring your ID to your municipal clerk's office by 4:00 pm this Friday (November 9th).

For more information about voter photo ID – and how to get a free ID if you don't have an ID acceptable for voting – see our downloadable voter ID fact sheet and/or visit the Wisconsin Election Commission's voter photo ID website: Bring It to the Ballot.

If you do not have an acceptable ID for voting and need help getting one, contact one of these Voter ID Hotline #s: (608) 285-2141 or (414) 882-8622.

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

Need a ride to the polls?


Check out our statewide list of organizations, transit and cab companies, and over 200 individual Common Cause in Wisconsin volunteer drivers!

Milwaukee voters needing a ride can also call our "Rides to the Polls in Milwaukee" Hotline number – 414-323-1511 – to arrange a ride with one of our volunteers.

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.

Have voting questions or problems?


Common Cause in Wisconsin is once again partnering with the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, to provide "guidance, information and help to any American, regardless of who that voter is casting a ballot for." You have the right to vote without harassment or intimidation at your polling place.



Election Protection’s highly-trained legal volunteers are available at the hotline numbers above to assist voters with any questions or problems, no matter how simple or complex.

Remember: in order to preserve and protect our democracy, we have to participate in it.


That means voting in this and every other election – and doing everything we can to make sure every eligible voter we know does the same.




Contact:


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

Jay Heck
Executive Director
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512/9363 (cell)
jheck@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


Read More...


Monday, November 5, 2018

Tuesday, November 6th is Election Day: VOTE!



For Release: Monday - November 5, 2018

Remember and share with others this toll-free number to call
if there is any problem whatsoever voting on election day at your polling place.

Do not miss this opportunity to make your voice heard at the ballot box. If you haven't done it already, take time right NOW to make a plan to vote tomorrow – and then help every eligible voter you can do the same.

First, make sure you are registered to vote at your current address.

If you discover that you are not already registered to vote at your current residence, don't panic.

You can still register at your polling place on Election Day. You will need to present a proof of residence document when registering (this document can be shown electronically). If your drivers license or state ID card has your current address, that’s all you need.

Examples of proof of residence documents are here.

And don't forget a photo ID.

When you vote, you will need to present one of the acceptable forms of photo ID for voting pictured left. (Click image to enlarge)

If you already have a Wisconsin driver license or one of the other acceptable forms of ID for voting pictured left, 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 OR bring your ID to your municipal clerk's office by 4:00 pm this Friday (November 9th).

For more information about voter photo ID – and how to get a free ID if you don't have an ID acceptable for voting – see our downloadable voter ID fact sheet and/or visit the Wisconsin Election Commission's voter photo ID website: Bring It to the Ballot.

If you do not have an acceptable ID for voting and need help getting one, contact one of these Voter ID Hotline #s:(608) 285-2141 or (414) 882-8622.

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

Need a ride to the polls?


Our statewide list of organizations, transit and cab companies, and individual Common Cause in Wisconsin volunteer drivers is available here.

Milwaukee voters needing a ride can also call our "Rides to the Polls in Milwaukee" Hotline number – 414-323-1511 – to arrange a ride with one of our volunteers.

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.

Have voting questions or problems?


Common Cause in Wisconsin is once again partnering with the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, to provide "guidance, information and help to any American, regardless of who that voter is casting a ballot for." You have the right to vote without harassment or intimidation at your polling place.



Election Protection’s highly-trained legal volunteers are available at the hotline numbers above to assist voters with any questions or problems, no matter how simple or complex.

Remember: in order to preserve and protect our democracy, we have to participate in it.


That means voting in this and every other election – and doing everything we can to make sure every eligible voter we know does the same.




Contact:


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

Jay Heck
Executive Director
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512/9363 (cell)
jheck@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


Read More...