Wednesday, June 27, 2018

It's Up to Us to End Partisan Gerrymandering Since the U.S. Supreme Court Won't Now



For Release: Wednesday - June 27, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court decided on Monday not to take a North Carolina partisan gerrymandering case, a week after "punting" on Wisconsin's Gill v. Whitford case, and one in Maryland. That means that, for now, it's solely up to us – the citizens of Wisconsin – to continue to move this issue forward and advance the case for establishing a non-partisan redistricting process in Wisconsin for the constitutionally-mandated redistricting process in 2021, which will follow the national Census of 2020.

Last week, the nation's highest court did not rule on the merits of the 2011 Wisconsin legislative district gerrymander, considered one of the most partisan state redistricting processes in the history of the nation. Instead, it side-steeped the issue and sent it back to the federal district court in Wisconsin that had ruled in November, 2016, that the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature's redrawing of district boundaries was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court said, last week, that the original plaintiffs in the case had to show how they were harmed on a district-by-district basis and not solely on a statewide basis.

No one saw that coming. But attorneys for the plaintiffs say they should be able to articulate that harm and bring the case back to the U.S. Supreme Court. That could happen in the next two years – in time for a redrawing of Wisconsin's state legislative districts for the 2020 elections. Or not.

Regardless and in the meantime, CC/WI and other reformers in Wisconsin are determined to press ahead with consideration and enactment of a new, non-partisan redistricting system for Wisconsin to be in place for the 2021 redistricting process based on the non-partisan process that our neighbor Iowa has had in place since 1980.

The establishment of such a system can occur, regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decides in Gill v. Whitford. Do not let any opponent of fair maps tell you that because the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to rule on Gill v. Whitford, the current, corrupt hyper-partisan redistricting process must remain in place. That's a flat out lie.

CC/WI and other reformers – when CC/WI united pro-reform legislators and organizations behind it – have strongly supported "Iowa model" redistricting reform legislation. During the 2017-18 legislative session, it was introduced as Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bill 44. State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and State Rep. Don Vruwink (D-Milton) introduced this bipartisan reform legislation that would transform Wisconsin's current hyper-partisan, highly secretive, extremely costly (to we, the taxpayers) redistricting process to one like Iowa's – where a neutral, nonpartisan state agency draws state legislative and congressional voting maps every ten years. This is a system that has the overwhelming support of that state's voters, both political parties, and even of the legislators. This is because it's fair, transparent, impartial and provides voters with real choices in general elections. And it costs taxpayers next to nothing. Wisconsin's current system has none of those qualities or characteristics.

You can continue to advance this reform by continuing to advocate for it with candidates for the State Senate and State Assembly and candidates for statewide office – and by insisting that their support for the Iowa model for Wisconsin will figure mightily in your intention to vote for them or not. That will get their attention.

You can also sign our on-line petition here, if you have not yet done so. If you've signed already, then urge friends and family to do so as well. We have nearly 4,000 signees to date and would love to have over 5,000 to present to the "new" Wisconsin Legislature in early 2019.

And finally, you can inform yourself further about the issue.

Here is CC/WI's statement about the U.S. Supreme Court decision last week in the Wisconsin gerrymandering case, Gill v. Whitford.

Last week, CC/WI joined other reformers at a Capitol rally in support of fair maps and ending gerrymandering.

Video of CC/WI Director Jay Heck's remarks is here
.

To hear Jay Heck's and CC/WI Chair Tim Cullen's remarks on the Supreme Court decision on Milwaukee radio, go here and here.

To see Jay Heck interviewed about gerrymandering on Up Front With Mike Gousha, prior to the Supreme Court decision, go here.

For even more on the decision go here (Wisconsin Gazette) and here (Fox 6 News).

Above all, keep involved, stay engaged and turn up the heat on candidates for public office to support fair maps and end partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

We are winning this fight. The U.S. Supreme Court isn't going to lend a helping hand right now, but may later. But we cannot depend on that. It's up to We the People.

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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Monday, June 18, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Delays Decision for Now on Wisconsin Gerrymander Court Case



For Release: Monday - June 18, 2018

But the Issue Remains Very Much Alive and In Play Here and Elsewhere

The Supreme Court of the United States this morning issued a decision in which they declined to rule on the merits of Gill v. Whitford, the Wisconsin state legislative gerrymandering case. There was essential agreement by the court that "standing" was at issue in this case, not the merits of the case itself, and that therefore this is not the vehicle in which to judge excessive partisanship as a constitutional matter at this time. The Court said unanimously that they were returning the Wisconsin case to the Federal District Court to give plaintiffs the opportunity to demonstrate specific and concrete harms as a result of partisan gerrymandering.

But the issue is far from "dead," as guardians of the current, corrupt system might hope. The Wisconsin case – as well as one in Maryland and one in North Carolina – could still bring about a favorable decision on ending excessive partisan gerrymandering.

"Today, the U.S. Supreme Court did nothing to address the unconstitutionality of one of the most partisan gerrymanders of state legislative districts (2011) in American history, but we remain hopeful that standing can be addressed and we can win justice in the courts" said Jay Heck, the long-time executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin. “We even more urgently renew our call on the Wisconsin Legislature to replace this broken system with a transparent, non-partisan process modeled after our neighbor, Iowa, in time for the 2021 redistricting cycle, if not before." Heck added.

"I am disappointed with today's non-decision by the U.S. Supreme Court," said Tim Cullen, the Chair of the CC/WI State Governing Board. "But this fight is not over until gerrymandering ends. We must move forward quickly to get fair voting maps in place as soon as possible," he added. Cullen, a former State Senate majority leader, was a leading supporter of non-partisan redistricting reform in the Wisconsin Legislature.





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, June 13, 2018

Stronger Judicial Recusal Rules Needed Now: Before Upcoming WI Supreme Court Election in Early 2019



For Release: Wednesday - June 13, 2018


Wisconsin has the 47th weakest judicial rules in the nation for recusal by judges at all levels with regard to receiving campaign contributions or benefiting from spending by outside special interest groups. Essentially Wisconsin doesn't have any requirement to step aside when it comes to political money.

Judges can decide for themselves whether to step aside, or not.

This "non-rule" is awful because it was written verbatim by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and the Wisconsin Realtors Association and adopted by a narrow 4 to 3 vote by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2010.

Earlier this year, WMC spent about $1 million to influence the outcome of the Supreme Court election between Rebecca Dallet and Michael Screnock, primarily on scurrilous, nasty and largely untrue ads attacking Dallet. Had Screnock (WMC's anointed candidate) won the election, he would not have been required to recuse himself from a case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court in which WMC was a party. Even though Screnock benefited from $1 million in spending by WMC. That is so absurd it is beyond comprehension or logic.

The urgent need for strong judicial recusal rules was a front-and-center issue in the Dallet-Screnock election. Dallet supported them and Screnock opposed them. Dallet won the election handily in a major upset. Unquestionably, Dallet's support for strong judicial recusal rules helped her, while Screnock's opposition to them hindered his effort.

In less than six months, another election will be underway to fill the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat being vacated, after 42 years, by Justice (and formerly Chief Justice) Shirley Abrahamson. This election will no doubt be mightily contested and millions of dollars will be spent – most by big donors and "outside" special interest groups.

The need for stronger judicial rules for judges at all levels should and will be a central issue again.


To help raise the visibility of this critical issue, CC/WI just released it's third informational video about the role of big campaign contributions and the need for stronger recusal rules. Marquette University Law School Professor Edward Fallone, a candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2013, does a superb job of framing the issue in this short video. We believe you will like it and learn from it:



Earlier this year, we produced and released two other videos on this issue which we also urge you to watch and share. The first one features former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Janine Geske and Louis Butler:



The second video, also released earlier this year, features Wisconsin citizens talking about the issue, expressing surprise about how weak our recusal rules are, and saying why they believe we have got to have stronger rules now:



Please feel free to share these widely – with family, friends or complete strangers! Education about issues leads to action and positive change. Be a change agent.

And here is further incentive to be concerned about this issue, if you need it. Currently, Illinois has stronger judicial recusal rules than does Wisconsin. Yes, even Illinois!

That must change.

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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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Wisconsin Still Waiting for U.S. Supreme Court Decision That May End Hyper-Partisan Gerrymandering



For Release: Thursday June 7, 2018


This past Monday morning, political reform "geeks" – like us at CC/WI – huddled over the U.S. Supreme Court website, eagerly anticipating and expecting the nation's highest court to render its long-anticipated decision in Gill v. Whitford, the case in which a federal court declared that Wisconsin's hyper-partisan, secretive, expensive (to Wisconsin taxpayers) gerrymandered redistricting process in 2011 by the Republicans, was unconstitutional.

In November 2016, a panel of three federal judges said that, in effect, the partisan Republican maps violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution and effectively disenfranchised many voters who voted for Democratic state legislative candidates because – even if a majority of voters voted Democratic – there was no chance that a Democratic legislative majority could be achieved because of the way the voter maps were configured, in secret, and at tremendous cost to Wisconsin taxpayers.

The U.S. Supreme Court accepted the case for consideration and judgment last year and oral arguments were heard last October. Earlier this year, the Court combined the Wisconsin case with a partisan gerrymander by Democrats of a congressional district in Maryland that had long elected a Republican.

Their decision was not handed down last Monday. We are now expecting that the decision could come as soon as this Monday, June 11th.

Last Sunday, CC/WI Director Jay Heck appeared on the statewide ABC public affairs television program: "UpFront With Mike Gousha," to preview this critical decision, and particularly what it means for Wisconsin voters. You can view that segment here.

We will be back on watch this early Monday morning to digest the expected decision and let you know what it means. Stay tuned.




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



Read More...


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

State Supreme Court Election Results Demonstrate Widespread Citizen Support for Stronger Judicial Recusal Rules



Tuesday - April 10, 2018


Election Winner Supported Them; Loser Did Not

Last week's Wisconsin Supreme Court election results – and the size and scope of Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet's victory over Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock – demonstrated the high level of citizen support for stronger judicial recusal rules for judges in the state. That issue became a central focus of the election campaign with Dallet, who supported strong recusal rules, decisively defeating Screnock – who, not only opposed strong rules, but spent much of the campaign trying to obscure the issue altogether.

According to the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice of New York University, the most accurate tracker of the money spent in this and other Wisconsin Supreme Court elections:

"The nonpartisan election saw $2.6 million in spending on television and radio ads alone, with more than $1.7 million coming from outside groups. Outside groups’ ads focused on candidates’ rulings in criminal cases – one ad described Dallet as “one of Wisconsin’s toughest judges,” and one ad argued Screnock “has a record of throwing the book at murderers, abusers and predators.” Ads also attacked Dallet and Screnock for allegedly ruling leniently in particular criminal cases. The race attracted national attention, including robocalls by former Vice President Joe Biden on behalf of Dallet, and spending by the National Rifle Association on behalf of Screnock.

The race elevated judicial recusal as a central issue. Despite recent reform efforts, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has maintained lax recusal rules, which say that campaign contributions alone are insufficient grounds for recusal. Dallet and Screnock debated whether their opponent would step aside in cases involving special interests or lawyers who supported their campaigns. Dallet said after her victory that “one of her top priorities…is to reopen the idea of changing the court’s recusal rules.”

The biggest outside spender in the election, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), spent about a million dollars, including on particularly vicious and largely untrue attack ads against Dallet on a criminal matter. WMC, a business organization, was willing to tear down Dallet at any cost, to protect their investment in Screnock and his opposition to strong judicial recusal rules. Citizens might ask how running nasty, untrue attack ads is good for "business" in Wisconsin.

The current "non-rule" on judicial recusal was written by WMC in 2010 and was adopted verbatim by a narrow 4 to 3 conservative majority. It basically said that judges should recuse themselves from a case only if they felt the need to do so. Large contributions to their campaigns or a significant amount of money spent by a so-called "independent," outside special interest group (such as WMC) to benefit a candidate, do not trigger recusal from a case if the donor or outside group is a party to a case before the judge or justice – as it does in almost every other state.

As a result of this pathetic standard, Wisconsin has been judged to have the 47th weakest judicial recusal rules in the nation.

CC/WI has spent much of the past six months educating thousands of Wisconsin citizens about the need for stronger judicial recusal rules for judges at all levels. We strongly support the specific proposal put forward in January, 2017 by 54 retired Wisconsin jurists at all levels, in the form of a petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which was not only rejected by a 5 to 2 margin, but denied even a public hearing, almost exactly a year ago. CC/WI organized public hears last Fall in Green Bay, Milwaukee and in Madison, and this year has been further educating citizens over social media through two short videos on the subject of judicial recusal:





Please view both of these videos and let us know what you think. And share them with others so that more citizens will be educated about the need for reform in this critical area. Already more than 20,000 Wisconsinites have viewed them on our website, Facebook and YouTube. Please join them!

The issue of judicial recusal will continue to be very important this year as the Wisconsin Supreme Court will continue to be pressed to hold public hearings and consider stronger recusal rules. And the issue will likely play a central role in the upcoming 2019 State Supreme Court election, now less than a year away.

For more on this issue and for CC/WI's commentary on the 2018 WI Supreme Court election, go here, here, and here.

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



Read More...


Monday, April 2, 2018

Wisconsin' s Spring Election is Tomorrow – Make Sure You Are Ready to Vote!



For Release: Monday - April 2, 2018


In tomorrow's Spring Election, Wisconsin voters voters will elect a new State Supreme Court Justice to replace retiring conservative, Justice Michael Gableman. Voters will also choose Court of Appeals and Circuit Court judges – along with local officials and school board members in areas across the state. A Constitutional referendum to eliminate the Office of State Treasurer is also on the ballot.

So if you think a Spring election doesn't matter, think again – every election matters. And, because Spring elections tend to have a much lower turnout than those taking place in the Fall, individual voters can actually have an even greater influence on the outcome of these elections.

Do NOT sit this one out!

Before you head to your polling place tomorrow, look over the information below to make sure you have what you need to cast your ballot.

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

(Click to enlarge image)

If you already have a Wisconsin driver license or one of the other acceptable forms of ID for voting, 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 on Election Day OR bring your ID to your municipal clerk's office by 4:00 pm the Friday after the election (April 6th).

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. 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 statewide Voter ID Hotline numbers: 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

Are you registered to vote?


Before you head to the polls tomorrow, check to see that 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 your polling place so that you can register there.

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.

Prepare NOW so you can make your voice heard tomorrow in this vital Spring Election – and encourage every eligible voter you know to do the same!





Contact:


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


Friday, March 30, 2018

Citizens and Democracy Win One as Walker and Fitzgerald Back Off Blocking Special Elections



For Release: Friday - March 30, 2018


Congratulations to all you Wisconsin citizens who treasure more democracy, not less – and who value the rule of law and of an independent judiciary, not defiance of them.

On Thursday morning, Governor Scott Walker and State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) realized they lacked almost any support from Wisconsin citizens, faltering support from their own party's state legislators, and adamant opposition from independent and impartial judges, to defy long-standing Wisconsin law stipulating that special elections needed to be called as soon as possible following the resignation of two Republican legislators last December to take high-paying political patronage jobs in the Walker Administration.

Fearing the loss of one or both of these seats in a special election, Walker and Fitzgerald teamed up to try to deny elected representation to the citizens of the 1st State Senate District and the 42nd Assembly District for more than a year. Their "rationale" for doing so was not credible or believable. And you, the citizens of this state, were not having any of it.

After the Dane County Circuit Court and State Court of Appeals rejected his case to postpone the elections to fill these two vacancies until November – in the strongest possible terms – Walker wisely threw in the towel and did what the court ordered him to do: call for a special election in the two vacated legislative districts for June 12th, following May primaries.

And Fitzgerald, who scheduled an "Extraordinary Session" of the Legislature for this coming Wednesday, April 4th, for the sole purpose of ramming through a hyper-partisan rewrite of the special election law, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars to underwrite legislative action that would continue to deny elected representation to about 228,000 Wisconsin citizens, cancelled the session when Republican State Senators, hearing from hundreds of their constituents opposing the measure, began to waver in their support for it.

Thank you for making your voices heard. They heard you and fear your increasing power and strength. Celebrate this victory this weekend and cap off this win for democracy and the rule of law by exercising your most powerful and precious instrument to weigh in on the direction our democracy takes – your vote, this Tuesday, April 3rd in a very important election to fill a vacancy on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and on other matters.

To read CC/WI Director Jay Heck's testimony in opposition to the measure changing the long-standing special elections law before the State Senate Elections Committee on Wednesday, go here. It was also reprinted in The Capital Times and in Urban Milwaukee. To view the public hearing on this measure form Wednesday, you can go to Wisconsin Eye. (Jay Heck's oral testimony begins at 02:18:57).

Remember, your voice and your vote both make a big difference. Never give up. On Wisconsin!

And Happy Easter and Spring.





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



Read More...


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Statement of CC/WI Director Jay Heck on Proposed Measure to Change State Law on Holding Special Elections



For Release: Wednesday - March 28, 2018

Tyranny of the Legislative Majority May Yield Short Term Partisan Gain
But it Will Seriously Undermine Democracy & Citizen Confidence in State Government


The recent machinations by Governor Scott Walker and the majority party in the Wisconsin Legislature were not rushed to the forefront of state government consideration to "save taxpayer dollars" or to "avoid confusion." There is not a single person in the Capitol – and very few outside of it – who believe that to be the case for a second.

Everyone knows that this measure to dramatically change the decades-old law governing the responsibility of the Governor to call for a special election to fill, as soon as possible, the seat of a State Senator or State Representative who leaves office prior to the completion of her or his term, is being undertaken for purely partisan reasons. Namely, the fear that the majority party may lose one or both of the two currently vacant legislative seats – one in each chamber – because of the current state of the political "atmosphere" in Wisconsin and in much of the rest of the nation.

The biggest losers in this obvious exercise of partisan political muscle are the citizens of Wisconsin's 1st State Senate and 42nd State Assembly Districts, who will have been robbed of elected representation in the Legislature for over a year and thus have had no voice as the Legislature considers and votes on critical legislation such as this proposed, ill-advised measure.

This legislation also undermines the rule of law by circumventing explicit court orders for the Governor to call special elections that could easily be held in June to fill both vacancies.

Whenever one or two of the three branches of government take aim to defy and circumvent the lawful decisions issued by the remaining branch, our democratic institutions are shaken and citizen confidence in all three branches is diminished.

Certainly the Legislature has the right to make new laws. That is their function. But when the law serves only the narrow, partisan political interest of the majority party while undermining the greater public interest, as this measure irrefutably does, then citizens must resist.

This has occurred, in similar ways, in too many matters over the last eight years. Enactment of one of the nation's most extreme and restrictive voter photo ID laws, the most partisan political gerrymander of state legislative districts in the nation in 2011, the destruction of the non-partisan Government Accountability Board, the exemption of only politicians and political crimes from investigation under the state's effective John Doe law, the retroactive decriminalization of campaign coordination between candidates and so-called independent special interest groups engaged in phony issue advocacy, the elimination of almost all meaningful disclosure of outside campaign spending, the elimination of limits on money flowing to legislative campaign committees and political parties. The list goes on and on.

And now this. The majority party may gain some small, temporary partisan advantage by enactment of this misguided measure to change the rules governing special elections. But at some point soon, the day of reckoning will come for this, and for all the other measures that have diminished democracy and undermined the ability of citizens to expect and attain a responsive and responsible state government that serves the public interest instead of the self-serving, partisan interest that currently dominates public policy in 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



Read More...


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Wisconsin's Spring Election is Next Tuesday, April 3rd - Make a Plan NOW to Cast Your Ballot!



For Release: Tuesday - March 27, 2018


With just one week remaining before next Tuesday's Spring Election, we are urging Wisconsin voters to do what they can right now to ensure their voices are heard at the ballot box.

In Wisconsin's April 3rd Spring Election voters will elect a new State Supreme Court Justice to replace retiring conservative, Justice Michael Gableman. Voters will also choose Court of Appeals and Circuit Court judges – along with local officials and school board members in areas across the state. A Constitutional referendum to eliminate the Office of State Treasurer is also on the ballot.

So if you think a Spring election doesn't matter, think again – every election matters. And, because Spring elections tend to have a much lower turnout than those taking place in the Fall, individual voters can actually have an even greater influence on the outcome of these elections.

Do NOT sit this one out!

Before you head to your polling place next week, look over the information below to make sure you have what you need to cast your ballot.

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

(Click to enlarge image)

If you already have a Wisconsin driver license or one of the other acceptable forms of ID for voting, 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 on Election Day OR bring your ID to your municipal clerk's office by 4:00 pm the Friday after the election (April 6th).

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. 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 statewide Voter ID Hotline numbers: 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

Are you registered to vote?


Before you head out to the polls next Tuesday, check to see that 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 your polling place so that you can register there.

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.

What if you can't get to your polling place on April 3rd?


You may still be able to vote early with an in-person absentee ballot; however, because each municipality determines the days and hours when early voting is available, please contact your local municipal clerk to find out if early voting is available this week in your municipality.

Prepare today so you can make your voice heard in this vital Spring Election – and encourage every eligible voter you know to do the same!





Contact:


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


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Common Cause in Wisconsin Releases Videos to Educate Citizens About the Critical Need for Stronger Judicial Recusal Rules



For Release: Thursday - March 22, 2018

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices and Citizens Address the Issue

Wisconsin has the 47th weakest recusal rules in the nation for judges at all levels who receive campaign contributions or benefit from spending from outside spending groups with no threshold or limit.

A Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice could benefit from election spending of hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars from a special interest group or individual and not have to recuse her or himself from a case involving that interest group under the current recusal rule, which was written by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and the Wisconsin Realtors Association and adopted verbatim by the WI Supreme Court in 2010.

This lack of strong recusal rules has undermined the impartiality, credibility and public confidence in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. This problem is so urgently in need of a strong remedy that it has emerged as a central issue in the current election to fill a vacancy on the Court which will occur on April 3rd.

A 5 to 2 majority on the Court rejected a strong and sensible proposal put forth by 54 retired jurists of all levels last April without so much as a public hearing. CC/WI organized three public hearings around the state last October to educate the public about the retired jurists' petition.

Today, we release two videos on the issue which will be disseminated widely to help educate Wisconsinites about this critical and vitally important matter. We invite you to share them widely as well – with family, friends and anyone who might or should care about a fair, independent, transparent and impartial judiciary and the need for more equal access to justice under the law.

View the video featuring retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Louis Butler and Janine Geske:



View the video "starring" five Wisconsin citizens sharing their impressions about the issue:




Wisconsin deserves to have a judicial system worthy of its citizens!




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



Read More...


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Don't Let Wisconsin Legislature Quit for the Year Before Acting on Fair Voting Maps Legislation



For Release: Tuesday - March 6, 2018

Step Up the Pressure on Legislators and Sign the Online Petition

In what can only be described as a giant rip off of Wisconsin taxpayer dollars, the Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly (Robin Vos) announced at the end of February that "his" chamber is done for the year. And the State Senate Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald has said "his" chamber will meet for one more day this month before calling it quits for the year. What a great gig. Two months of work with a full year's salary and a "Cadillac " package of benefits – all paid for by you.

Wisconsin is by far, the smallest state (population-wise) in the nation with what is considered a "full time" Legislature but obviously there is nothing full time about it. And there is so much that the Legislature hasn't even considered or held a public hearing on that the citizens of this state have been clamoring for – for years.

At the top of the list is the legislative leadership's continued blocking of redistricting reform, fair voting maps legislation which has been introduced, ignored and smothered by Vos and Fitzgerald every year since 2013. Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bill 44 is reform legislation that would transform Wisconsin's current hyper-partisan, highly secretive, extremely costly (to we, the taxpayers) redistricting process to one like Iowa's – where a neutral, nonpartisan state agency draws state legislative and congressional voting maps every ten years. This is a system that has the overwhelming support of all of that state's voters, both political parties and even of the legislators because it's fair, transparent, impartial and provides voters with real choices in general elections. And it costs taxpayers next to nothing. Wisconsin's current system has none of those qualities or characteristics.

So, before Wisconsin state legislators quit to go campaign for re-election this year while being paid a full-time salary with benefits, demand that they come back into either a "Special Session," which Gov. Scott Walker must call, or into "Extraordinary Session," which Vos and Fitzgerald can call for. Demand that they hold public hearings on Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bill 44 and act on it this year so that Wisconsin voters will know where they stand.

Contact both your State Senator and your State Representative. If you are not sure who your state legislators are, go here.

And, another effective way you can help us pressure the Legislature is by signing our online petition in support of the fair voting maps legislation, but only if you have not yet done so. We are very close to having 4,000 signatures and need just a few more to reach that significant threshold. So please sign, or if you have already, urge friends and family members to do so!

The Wisconsin Legislature will have to come back into session anyway, to act on a number of measures Gov. Walker is pushing to get done, such as gun safety legislation and closing the Lincoln Hills School, as well as a few other "loose ends."

Furthermore, the Legislature may have to come back into session to vote on new voting district maps for the 2018 elections if the Supreme Court of the United States upholds a November, 2016 federal court decision that determined that the hyper-partisan state legislative district maps drawn by the Republicans in 2011 were unconstitutional. If that occurs – and there is a very good chance that it might – Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bill 44 would be the perfect solution to this horrific injustice.

So please contact your state legislators, sign the petition and step up the pressure of this "do nothing" Legislature.


Never surrender. Never give in. 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, March 1, 2018

In the News - March 2018


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Monday, February 19, 2018

Be Sure You Are Ready to Vote in Tuesday's Primary Election



For Release: Monday - February 19, 2018


The next opportunity for Wisconsinites to make their voices heard at the ballot box is tomorrow!

You might think a Spring primary is not a big deal. But make no mistake, it is a big deal – every election matters.

In Wisconsin's February 20th Spring Primary voters will determine which two candidates will run for the critical State Supreme Court seat being vacated by retiring conservative, Justice Michael Gableman.

To learn more about the State Supreme Court primary election candidates, go here. Voters will also choose two Court of Appeals judges and Circuit Court judges in counties across the state.

Also, keep in mind that – because Spring elections tend to have a much lower turnout – individual voters can actually have a far greater influence on the outcome of these elections.

So please don't sit this one out.

Before you head to your polling place tomorrow, look over the information below to make sure you have what you need to cast your ballot.

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

(Click to enlarge image)

If you already have a Wisconsin driver license or one of the other acceptable forms of ID for voting, 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 tomorrow OR bring your ID to your municipal clerk's office by 4:00 pm the Friday after the primary election (February 23rd).

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. 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 this statewide 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

Are you registered to vote?


Before you head out to the polls, check to see that 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 tomorrow so that you can register there.

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.

Remember: EVERY election is important.

Make a plan today so you can make your voice heard at the polls tomorrow – and encourage every eligible voter you know to do the same!





Contact:


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


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