Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Overwhelming Momentum and Support for Ending Partisan Gerrymandering in Wisconsin


 
Voters in 11 Counties Can Vote for Fair Maps Advisory Referendum on November 3rd.
 
 
Public support for ending Wisconsin's hyper-partisan gerrymandering of the state's legislative and congressional districts has never been higher than it is today -- and ever since the 2011 redistricting process, which was considered to be the most egregious and unfair of any state in the nation in that year, was rammed through the Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Scott Walker. The demand by Wisconsin citizens that there not be a repeat of 2011 in the upcoming redistricting process in 2021 has never been louder, more visible, more insistent nor more organized than it is right now, with less than two months before the November 3rd elections.
 
The 2019-2020 Wisconsin legislative session ended earlier this year with unprecedented bi-partisan support for redistricting reform legislation, based on Iowa's fair, non-partisan, highly effective and successful redistricting process. 2019 Assembly Bill 303 and 2019 Senate Bill 288 attracted five Republican co-sponsors in this session, four more Republicans than had ever supported it since 2011. They joined all state legislative Democrats as co-sponsors of this measure, which also drew the support of Gov. Tony Evers. But for the fifth consecutive legislative session, the Republican leaders of the Legislature -- Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester and State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, arrogantly refused to schedule even a legislative public hearing of these immensely popular and widely supported measures.
 
But, no matter. Wisconsinites long ago have been wise to Vos and Fitzgerald's "game."

Fair maps and elections that aren't rigged would threaten their power to exercise absolute dictatorial control of the political and public policy agenda in Wisconsin and render them clueless about how to win elections and public policy based on the merits of their ideas and policy prescriptions. They need an unfair, skewed system in order to prevail. But the citizens of Wisconsin, both Republican and Democratic -- and everyone in between and beyond -- are on to their scam.
 


 
Seven years ago, Common Cause in Wisconsin united pro-reform legislators behind this “Iowa Model” legislation. Not many Wisconsinites knew or understood fully at that time what partisan gerrymandering entailed and just how destructive it has been to basic fairness and democracy in this state by effectively silencing the voices of millions of Wisconsin voters in elections since 2012. But now, after seven years of intensive citizen education and high visibility information about this issue by CC/WI and our allies -- virtually every citizen of all political stripes grasps this issue and the need to have fair voting maps, not the rigged, partisan maps we have now. A Marquette Law School statewide poll found that 72 percent of Wisconsinites support a nonpartisan redistricting process for 2021 and that includes 62 percent of all Republican voters. Every day, we are increasingly winning this battle for the hearts and minds of Wisconsinites.
 
Grassroots citizen pressure at the local level has resulted in the passage of resolutions in support of the Iowa Model by more than three fourths (55) of Wisconsin’s 72 counties thus far, most of which voted “red” (for Donald Trump and Scott Walker) in the 2016 and 2018 elections. And that movement is gaining even more strength each day. We worked with our reform allies to get citizen referendums on fair voting maps on ballots in eleven counties to pass overwhelmingly on April 7th and now have won in all 17 counties that have held such votes!
 
Every time they have an opportunity to weigh in at the polling place, Wisconsinites categorically and overwhelmingly reject the Vos/Fitzgerald rigged, hyper-partisan gerrymandering scheme. On April 7th, there were advisory referendums in support of a non-partisan redistricting process, modeled after Iowa's system on the ballot in eleven counties: Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Oneida, Pierce, Portage, Rock, St. Croix, Trempealeau, Vilas and Wood. It passed everywhere it was on the ballot with overwhelming public support.
 
This November, another eleven Wisconsin counties: Adams, Bayfield, Brown, Crawford, Door, Dunn, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Rusk and Waushara will have advisory referendums on their ballot asking voters in those counties if they support ending partisan gerrymandering and support a non-partisan fair maps process like the State of Iowa's. There is no doubt that voters will overwhelmingly vote yes in those counties. Why wouldn't you? Please be sure that you do. Here is a recent article about the Fair Maps advisory referendum effort in Door County. It is representative of the Fair Maps offensive in every Wisconsin county.
 
Wisconsinites will also have an opportunity to weigh in publicly this Fall and next year in support on ending partisan gerrymandering by testifying at one of the eight (virtual) public hearings being scheduled by Governor Ever's "People's Map Commission." The schedule for the virtual hearings is:
  • Week of September 21, 2020
  • Week of October 26, 2020
  • Week of November 16, 2020
  • Week of December 7, 2020
  • Week of January 18, 2021
  • Week of February 15, 2021
  • Week of March 15, 2021
  • Week of April 19, 2021
For more information about how to testify or watch these hearings go here.
 
 

 
 
Last month, CC/WI Board Chair, and former Wisconsin State Senator and Majority Leader Tim Cullen of Janesville, teamed up with former Republican State Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz to author this excellent guest editorial about the need for redistricting reform and adopting the Iowa Model for Wisconsin, that appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal. 
 
And also this Summer, the Wisconsin Examiner published this opinion-editorial by CC/WI Director Jay Heck about the ongoing deception that Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald have long perpetrated about the Iowa Model reform legislation and its constitutionality. 
 
Redistricting reform will occur in Wisconsin, sooner or later. Support for ending partisan gerrymandering is growing and Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin’s other statewide constitutional officers support it too. Republican support in the Legislature has increased and the issue is “front and center” for 2020 and 2021. Our task is to continue to advocate, educate, organize and keep pushing forward to get this done. And we will. We will never give in or quit in this fight. Nor will you.
 
Make ending partisan gerrymandering a top-tier issue when you vote this November!
 
On Wisconsin!




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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Friday, September 4, 2020

Only 60 Days Until Election Day - November 3rd! How to Vote Safely by Absentee Ballot

For Release: Friday - September 4, 2020

This week the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) mailed an application for an absentee ballot for the November 3 election along with additional voting information to approximately 2.6 million registered Wisconsin voters who have not already requested an absentee ballot. Voters have already begun receiving this mailing in home.
 
The mailing has an absentee request form and a postage-paid reply envelope. The WEC encourages voters who choose to vote absentee to request their ballot as soon as possible, whether online or by mail. Making your request early helps your clerk to prepare and ready ballots for you and the voters in your community.
 
You can also request your absentee ballot at MyVote.wi.gov now for November. Don't wait. Do it today!

Then, beginning September 17, clerks will begin mailing absentee ballots for November 3 to registered voters with requests on file. This gives voters time to complete the ballot and return it. When your ballot arrives, be sure to follow the instructions and fill out your ballot and return envelope correctly. You need to have an adult U.S. citizen witness and sign your return envelope. You will also have to sign your return envelope. Then mail it back to the clerk in the postage-paid envelope. Or return it to an official spot designated by the clerk, such as a secure drop box or to the clerk’s office. More information about these official return spots are at MyVote.wi.gov or contact your clerk.
 
When requesting an absentee ballot, you will be prompted to upload a picture of your ID. Bring it to the Ballot has information about valid IDs that can be used to vote in Wisconsin. Acceptable photo IDs include a Wisconsin driver license, state ID card, passport, veteran’s ID card, tribal ID card, military ID, student ID or certificate of naturalization. If you don’t have an acceptable photo ID, the Voter ID Coalition helpline (608-285-2141) can answer your questions and assist you in getting an ID. 
 
Once you have your photo ID to vote, you can find additional voting information online at MyVote.wi.gov. MyVote is the official website of the Wisconsin Election Commission and through this website, voters can register to vote, make their absentee ballot request, find their polling place, view a sample ballot, or contact their municipal clerk to learn more about voting by absentee ballot in-person and by mail. The WEC also has a toll free helpline (866-VOTE-WIS) if you run into problems navigating the website or have voting related questions.
 
Put your plan in place now for the Presidential Election on November 3, 2020 to vote safely and securely.

And it’s not just the presidential candidates on this ballot, there are also federal, state, and county candidates whose jobs have a direct impact on your everyday life, and who you get to vote for this November.

Preparing now can ensure that you get your ballot and information you need before the deadlines.

If you experience problems or have questions, there is help. Call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) for support from nonpartisan election protection volunteers with questions or to report problems. Voters with disabilities have the right to an accessible polling place. This includes the right to use an accessible voting machine, to assistance marking a ballot, and to voting curbside. Call the Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline for assistance: 1-844-347-8683.

Poll Workers Needed
Did you know you can also sign up to be a poll worker through MyVote? You can! While Wisconsin voters are increasingly using absentee ballots to vote this year, in-person voting will still be popular and poll workers are vital to making the voting process safe, secure, and smooth. If you’re able, consider becoming a poll worker. Find out more at
 




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, August 11, 2020

What You Need to Know to Vote in Today's Primary Election



For Release: Tuesday - August 11, 2020


Today's the day: Election Day for the partisan primary - August 11, 2020.

With all that is going on in your world - in this upside down, surreal and unprecedented time - we are all doing our best to get through. A Summer election day is maybe one of the last things on your radar screen, if it's there at all.

But, your vote is your voice in this fragile democracy we live in and I don't have to tell you that your voice matters now, more than ever before. So, if you can possibly do so, please make your voice heard today -- and then, absolutely on November 3rd. Consider today a "dress rehearsal" for the "main event" 85 days from now!

Here's what you need to know for today:


If you have a mail-in absentee ballot that was mailed to you and you have not returned it yet, be sure to return in your completed ballot directly to your polling location, the clerk's office, or a designated dropbox TODAY. All ballots need to be received no later than 8pm on Election Day. Don't forget: The ballot envelope needs a witness signature. More about your absentee ballot can be found here.

If you are planning to vote in person at the polls, please take care. Follow social distancing guidelines for your and others' safety. Wear a mask. Consider bringing your own black or blue pen to mark your ballot. Be safe. And read the information below so you are prepared when you show up to vote at your polling location. Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

Bring your acceptable form of photo ID for voting
You are required to show a photo ID before you vote. If you have a Wisconsin driver's license or ID card, then you’re all set. Other forms of ID work too, and it’s good to check the official Wisconsin Election Commission list at Bring It to the Ballot to make sure you have what you need. If you don't have an acceptable ID for voting and need help getting one, contact the Voter ID Hotline 608-285-2141 for assistance.

What if you don't have an acceptable ID for voting on tomorrow?
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 today OR bring your ID to your municipal clerk's office by 4:00 PM the Friday after the primary election (Friday, August 14th).

Know what's on your ballot

Wisconsin is an “open” primary state. Meaning, that Wisconsin does not require voters to register with a party and therefore, voters can choose their party preference on the ballot when they vote. BUT keep in mind when casting your partisan primary ballot, you must only choose one party and you must only vote for candidates of that party on this ballot. Read the ballot instructions carefully. Visit the Wisconsin Election Commission's What's on My Ballot page and type in your address to see a sample ballot.

You can register to vote on Election Day
You can register to vote on Election Day at your voting location. Being registered to vote means being registered at your current address. For the August 11th Election, if you moved July 14 or earlier, you must register at your new address. But if you move within 28 days of Election Day, which is July 15 or later, you must register and vote using your old address. Check to see if 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.

Know where your polling place is before you go
Polling places can change. To find out where to go to cast your ballot, visit the Find My Polling Place page on the My Vote Wisconsin website and type in your address.

If you experience problems or have questions, there is help.
Call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) for support from nonpartisan election protection volunteers with questions or to report problems. Voters with disabilities have the right to an accessible polling place. This includes the right to use an accessible voting machine, to assistance marking a ballot, and to voting curbside. Call the Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline for assistance: 1-844-347-8683.

Stay safe. Be ready. Go vote!




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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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

What You Need to Know to Vote in August's Partisan Primary Election



For Release: Wednesday - August 5, 2020


Why vote in a primary election?

First and foremost, because every election matters.

Further, in the Tuesday, August 11th Partisan Primary, voters determine which candidates will be on the November 3rd ballot for local, state, and federal races. Depending on the race, the candidate that wins the primary, locks up the victory for that office in the primary election.

So please do not miss this chance to make your voice heard at the ballot box. You can vote via mail-in absentee ballot, in-person absentee ballot - “early voting,” or in-person on Election Day. Make a plan. Look over the information in this message to make sure you have what you need to vote in this important primary election, and share with others to help them be engaged voters.


The ballot: Wisconsin is an “open” primary state. Meaning, that Wisconsin does not require voters to register with a party and therefore, voters can choose their party preference on the ballot when they vote. BUT keep in mind when casting your partisan primary ballot, you only choose one party and you only vote for candidates of that party on this ballot. More information and details about this primary ballot can be found on our website.

Ways to vote: Mail-in Absentee Ballot

While you have until August 6th to request a mail-in ballot, we suggest you either vote on Election Day or "Early Vote" (see explanations below) because the likelihood of receiving and returning the ballot by the deadline are slim since we are less than a week from the election. However, if you have yet to return your completed ballot, do so NOW. It needs to be to your clerk by Election Day! If you can’t mail it in time, drop the ballot off at your polling place on Election Day or call your clerk about designated ballot dropboxes. https://myvote.wi.gov/en-US/MyMunicipalClerk

Ways to Vote: In-person Absentee Ballot (Early Vote)

If you’d like to vote before Election Day in-person, check with your clerk on locations and times that are going on now through the end of this week. Casting your ballot early minimizes lines on Election Day and helps with social distancing and staying safe. Visit your municipal clerk’s website or call them to find out about opportunities to vote early. https://myvote.wi.gov/en-US/MyMunicipalClerk

Ways to Vote: In-Person on Election Day

Prepare now if you’re going to vote at your polling place next week on Election Day, August 11. Be safe. Wear a mask. Social distance. Make a plan. Here are some things to know:

  • Registration: You can register to vote on Election Day at your voting location. Find your polling place at https://myvote.wi.gov/en-US/FindMyPollingPlace. Being registered to vote means being registered at your current address. For the August 11th Election, if you moved July 14 or earlier, you must register at your new address. But if you move within 28 days of Election Day, which is July 15 or later, you must register and vote using your OLD address.
  • Photo ID: You are required to show a photo ID before you vote. If you have a Wisconsin driver's license or ID card, then you’re all set. Other forms of ID work too, and it’s good to check the official list at https://bringit.wi.gov to make sure you have what you need.

Information on the candidates:
Get to know who wants to represent you and which candidate best represents your values before you vote. Find candidate and ballot information from the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin at Vote411.

Problems at the polls or casting your ballot?
Call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) for support from nonpartisan election protection volunteers with questions or to report problems. Voters with disabilities have the right to an accessible polling place. This includes the right to use an accessible voting machine, to assistance marking a ballot, and to voting curbside. Call the Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline for assistance: 1-844-347-8683. Both these phone lines are open now for you.

The strength and health of democracy in our communities, our state, our country depend on our active involvement. Get ready to do your part and go vote!




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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