Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Public Support Growing for Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform in Wisconsin/Voter Photo ID Law on Trial

Common Cause in Wisconsin Reform Update
Tuesday November 5, 2013

1. Public Support Growing for Redistricting Reform
2. Wisconsin's Extreme and Restrictive Voter Photo ID Law Goes on Trial This Week

3. New Voter Photo ID Measure Circulated While Current Law is Litigated

1. The huge turnout of more than 250 citizens attending our Reform Forum in Stevens Point last week provided new and growing evidence of extensive citizen support and momentum for non-partisan redistricting reform legislation (Senate Bill 163 and Assembly Bill 185) that has been stalled by State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) since its introduction last April. Both apparently fear this needed reform so much that they continue to refuse repeated requests by CCWI and almost every major newspaper in Wisconsin to allow even a public hearing on the legislation. Clearly, the citizens at UWSP and most Wisconsinites feel otherwise.

Recently, the Kenosha News editorialized about increasing citizen interest and support for redistricting reform as evidenced by the big crowd at the CC/WI event last week. The Wisconsin State Journal weighed in yet again on the need for public hearings on redistricting reform. And CC/WI Board Chair Bill Kraus shared his insights on the matter on our blog site and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the cost to Wisconsin taxpayers for legal fees to high-priced lawyers for the most partisan, uncompetitive and secretive redistricting process in Wisconsin's history has been confirmed to be more than $2 million according to this report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

2. In 2011, the Wisconsin Legislature passed, and Governor Scott Walker signed into law, the most extreme and restrictive voter photo identification law in the nation. Since then, North Carolina has enacted into law a measure even more extreme. Wisconsin's law (Act 23) was so pernicious that it was almost immediately challenged and enjoined by state and federal courts. It was in effect for only the Spring primary election in 2012.

This week, the Wisconsin law "goes to trial" in federal court in Wisconsin and the entire nation is watching. CC/WI submitted a brief of Amici Curiae in the case of Jones v. Deininger, et al., 12-CV-00185 (LA), which you can read here.

3. While Act 23 was about to go to trial last week, Assembly Republicans, with the approval of Speaker Robin Vos, began circulating new photo voter ID legislation for introduction and consideration this month. The new measure is just about as restrictive and extreme as Act 23. But Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald wisely announced that the State Senate would not be considering any new photo voter ID legislation this year -- and not until the outcome of this week's trial was known. Vos, meanwhile, wants to go ahead with the new measure. We are sure he will grant a public hearing to new, restrictive voter legislation.

But what about non-partisan redistricting reform measures? Here is how you can contact Speaker Robin Vos and let him know how you feel about that kind of heavy-handed maneuver!

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!

No comments: