Monday, November 25, 2019

CC/WI Urges UW Regents to Adopt Uniform Student Photo IDs Compliant with Voter ID Law for All Institutions

For Release: Monday - November 25, 2019

Only Four of the Thirteen Four-Year UW Institutions Currently Issue an Initial Standard Student Photo ID that Can be Utilized for Voting Purposes

The State Governing Board of Common Cause in Wisconsin, the state's largest non-partisan political reform advocacy organization with 7,000 members and supporters, sent the following letter to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents:

November 25, 2019

Andrew S. Peterson, President
Board of Regents
University of Wisconsin System
1860 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Dear President Peterson & Members of the Board of Regents,

We are concerned that many students attending University of Wisconsin institutions are currently experiencing difficulty in being able to vote utilizing photo identification cards issued by their UW institution. We believe that unnecessary obstacles hinder the ability of students to be able to exercise their most basic and important civic duty.

In April, Common Cause in Wisconsin, the state’s largest non-partisan political reform organization with more than 7,000 members and activists, sued the Wisconsin Elections Commission over this matter. In the lawsuit, we argue that the student ID requirements erect pointless barriers for casting a ballot in Wisconsin. Most students are newly registered voters and new to the voting process. The unnecessary requirements for student IDs can confuse and deter these new voters rather than making elections more accessible for them. The lawsuit challenges specific student ID requirements, not the state voter ID law as a whole.

Wisconsin’s current voter ID law singles out student voters by requiring information on college or university photo IDs that poll workers do not need or use. Under current law, a Wisconsin student may use a campus photo ID to vote if it includes his or her name, photo, issuance date, signature and an expiration date not more than two years after the issuance date. Students must also show proof of current enrollment, such as an enrollment verification letter or tuition fee receipt.

The proof of enrollment requirement makes issuance and expiration dates unnecessary for student ID cards. Other forms of acceptable voter IDs need not have expiration dates and are valid indefinitely. The current signature requirement is also unnecessary. Wisconsin’s voter ID law does not require election officials and poll workers to match the signature on an ID with the voter’s signature on the poll book or voter registration form. Other forms of accepted voter ID, such as Veterans Health Identification Cards and some tribal ID cards, do not contain signatures.

Common Cause in Wisconsin believes that the unnecessary hoops that the Wisconsin voter ID law forces students to jump through in order to be able to vote must be eliminated. Our lawsuit seeks to remove these superfluous barriers. Our litigation, however, may take many months or even years to achieve this goal. We are concerned that relief may not be forthcoming before the 2020 elections.

We therefore request that the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents act now to ensure that photo IDs issued to UW students at each of the system institutions are compliant with state law for the purpose of being able to use the student IDs to vote next year.

Currently, student photo IDs are compliant with state law for voting at only four of the thirteen four-year institutions: Eau Claire, Green Bay, Stout and Superior. At the other nine four-year institutions, the photo ID issued to students is not compliant with state law for the purposes of voting. At those institutions (La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Parkside, Platteville, River Falls, Stevens Point and Whitewater), students must obtain an additional photo ID for the purpose of voting.

We believe that providing all students at every four-year UW institution with a photo ID compliant with state law for voting would be a relatively simple and straightforward process at very little, if any, additional cost to state taxpayers or to students. It would make the process of voting more accessible and bring uniformity to the UW System of four-year institutions, which would be of great value and service to the citizens of Wisconsin.

Please let us know how you intend to act on this matter and how Common Cause in Wisconsin can assist you in simplifying and enhancing the voting experience for all of the students attending UW institutions.


Members of the Common Cause Wisconsin State Governing Board:
Tim Cullen, Janesville (Chair)
Penny Bernard Schaber, Appleton
Sue Conley, Janesville
David Deininger, Monroe
Luke Fuszard, Middleton
Kristin Hansen, Waukesha
William Hotz, Brookfield
E. Michael McCann, Pewaukee
Kriss Marion, Blanchardville
Calvin Potter, Sheboygan Falls
Robert Schweder, Princeton
Roger Utnehmer, Wausau

Jay Heck, Madison (CC/WI Director)
Common Cause in Wisconsin


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

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

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!


Monday, October 7, 2019

Momentum Keeps Building for Fair Maps

For Release: Monday - October 7, 2019

Yet another Wisconsin county — this time Sheboygan — has voted to end partisan gerrymandering of legislative and congressional voting districts.

The Sheboygan County Board last month voted 20-4 for a resolution that “strongly urges the Wisconsin legislative and executive branches to work together to enact bipartisan legislation that would create a fair and nonpartisan process for drawing legislative and congressional redistricting plans, as well as promote more accountability and transparency in the redistricting process.”

Congratulations to Sheboygan County Board Chairman Thomas Wegner of Plymouth and the vast majority of his colleagues for becoming the 48th county in Wisconsin to approve such a measure. Every county should join this bipartisan, good-government campaign so that, following the 2020 census, fair maps can be drawn by a nonpartisan agency that’s insulated from politics and tasked with strict rules to ensure a neutral outcome.

“The fact that two-thirds of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, many of them ‘red,’ are now on record in support of ending partisan gerrymandering, demonstrates the deep, grassroots support across the state for fair maps and against rigged elections,” said Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin.

He’s right. Sheboygan County favored the Republican in the last presidential election by 14 percentage points. Other conservative counties, such as Winnebago and Lincoln, have passed similar resolutions and allowed voters there to support nonpartisan redistricting in advisory referendums.

The same thing has occurred in liberal counties such as Dane, Eau Claire and La Crosse.

The U.S. Supreme Court this year left it up to the states to stop gerrymandering. In Wisconsin, that means the Legislature must pass Assembly Bill 303 (or its Senate companion, SB 288). AB 303 mirrors the Iowa model for fair maps. A nonpartisan state agency draws Iowa’s voting districts as compact and contiguous as possible, without favoring the incumbent politicians of either party. Then the Iowa Legislature approves or rejects the maps — without making changes. And if the Iowa Legislature votes the maps down, the nonpartisan agency drafts another version.

In Wisconsin, Republicans rigged voting districts after the 2010 census to help them keep control of the Legislature. In other states, such as Illinois, Democrats unfairly shaped the maps for their benefit.

The partisan games need to end so voters of all political persuasions are fairly represented and can hold their elected officials accountable.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, have shamelessly defended gerrymandering. But a growing number of their Republicans colleagues are joining Democrats in favoring a fair process following the 2020 census. Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, also is an advocate for the Iowa model, which saves Iowa taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees and produces more competitive seats.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents to the statewide Marquette Law School poll said they favored nonpartisan redistricting for Wisconsin. It’s time for Vos and Fitzgerald to respect the public’s wishes and allow fair elections.


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

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

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

In the News - October 2019


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Today is National Voter Registration Day!

For Release: Tuesday - September 24, 2019

A Reminder that Participation is Key to a Healthy Democracy

We urge Wisconsinites to take a few moments today to stop and think about what National Voter Registration Day actually means – and why now, more than ever, it's so important to take steps to honor this day.

A healthy democracy represents the views of the many, not the few.

In order for "the many" to have our say, we must have access to the the ballot box – and to do this, we must register to vote.

So make sure right now that you're registered to vote at your current address, and then ask friends, family members – anyone you come across – if they are registered, too.

To find out if you are registered to vote at your current address, go to and enter your name and date of birth. If you discover that you are not already registered to vote at your current residence, here are some ways you can register today:

Online. Eligible voters in Wisconsin who have a valid Wisconsin driver license or a Wisconsin DMV-issued ID can register online at up to 20 days before the election in which they are planning to vote.

By Mail. You can start your voter registration form online at – then print, sign and mail it to your municipal clerk along with a proof of residence (POR) document.

In your Municipal Clerk’s Office. You can also register in-person in your municipal clerk’s office up until the 5pm (or close of business) on the Friday before the election in which you are planning to vote. You'll need to bring a proof of residence document to complete your registration (this document can be shown electronically).

And again, don't forget to make sure that anyone you know who is eligible to vote is also registered.

Do you need help registering to vote – or more information about how to help others register?

Partner organizations – including our friends at the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and many local Leagues – are holding voter registration events in areas across the state today and are happy to help! You can find National Voter Registration events near you by going here and entering your zip code.

Remember, National Voter Registration Day is not about paying attention for just this one day, but rather, it is a day meant to highlight an important step that all eligible voters must take to preserve and protect our democracy.


Sandra Miller
Director of Information Services & Outreach

Jay Heck
Executive Director
608/256-2686 (o)
608/512-9363 (c)