Monday, September 17, 2018

Dozens of State Legislative Candidates Tell CC/ WI of Their Support for Ending Partisan Gerrymandering



For Release: Monday - September 17, 2018

52 State Assembly & 12 State State Senate Candidates and 2 Statewide Candidates
Signal Support for "Iowa Model"

Last week, dozens of candidates running for the Wisconsin Legislature in the 2018 November election informed Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) of their support for ending partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin and, instead, establishing a non-partisan redistricting process based on the system established in Iowa, in 1980.

As of Monday morning, September 17th, there are 52 State Assembly & 12 State State Senate Candidates and 2 Statewide Candidates whom we know support the "Iowa Model."

To see the constantly updated listing of supporters, go to this page on the CC/WI website.

During the 2017-2018 Legislative Session, non-partisan redistricting reform was the leading political reform initiative in the media and among citizens throughout Wisconsin. CC/WI helped unite pro-reform legislators and citizens behind a single measure – Assembly Bill 44/Senate Bill 13 – that is modeled after Iowa's highly successful, 38-year-old redistricting process that takes the partisan politics out of redistricting and delegates the boundary-drawing to a non-partisan state entity that does not utilize partisan political considerations in their task.

This issue has received the unprecedented endorsement of 19 Wisconsin daily newspaper editorial boards and thousands of citizens expressed their support for ending gerrymandering in letters to editors, communications to legislators and by attending one of numerous "reform forums" CC/WI and other organizations organized over 2017-2018 in every part of Wisconsin.

While the legislative leadership continues to oppose this reform and refused to hold even a public hearing during the past legislative session, redistricting reform is already very much an issue during the current election season.

We want to make it simple and easy for Wisconsin voters to see which state legislative and statewide candidates support the non-partisan redistricting reform embodied in the "Iowa Plan" by providing a continually updated list of those candidates on our website.

Any statewide or state legislative candidate (or their authorized proxy) who supports the "Iowa Plan" and would like to see their name listed on our site should contact CC/WI by phone at (608) 256-2686 (leave a message if no answer), by email or by letter: CC/WI, P.O. Box 2597, Madison, WI 53701-2597.

Citizens can urge candidates to support non-partisan redistricting reform and request that they get their names on this list. Candidates must be pro-active to have their names appear on this site.

We will update the list constantly and have published a link to it in the sidebar of our website for anyone to check to see who is on it and therefore in support of the Iowa Plan.

There is more that you can do to advance non-partisan redistricting reform in Wisconsin in the next few months.

First, you can download and print the postcard sized information sheet with questions to ask state legislative and statewide candidates at candidate forums and to distribute to your friends and family to do the same.

Challenging candidates in person or through the media to support redistricting reform is very powerful and effective.

Second, if you haven't done so yet, please "sign" the online petition in support of the "Iowa Plan" for Wisconsin and urge friends and family to do so as well. We already have just over 4,000 "signatures" and would love to have well over 5,000 to present to the new Wisconsin Legislature, after the election, in early 2019.

Let's make ending partisan gerrymandering a central focus during this election season and finally achieve the redistricting process Wisconsin voters of all political persuasions want and deserve.

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...


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Help Protect the Integrity of the November 6th Election



Thursday - September 13, 2018

We need your help.

CC/WI is recruiting volunteers across the state for the nonpartisan Election Observer Program organized by our longtime coalition partner, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. Volunteers will help ensure we have a fair election by watching for signs of voter disenfranchisement and intimidation, and by monitoring the way Wisconsin's election laws and procedures are being applied.

Even if you can only spare a couple of hours on Election Day, you can still sign on as an election observer!

According to the League, past volunteers have said that providing this public service was both "very rewarding and educational" as they got to "see democracy in action and report on how well our voting procedures work and how they can be improved."

Becoming an election observer is a vital way you can help maintain a strong democracy in our state, so don't put it off – sign up now!

It's simple.

Just fill out the League’s online Election Observer Volunteer Form.

Once you sign up, the League provides everything you need to quickly get up to speed: online training, a reporting form, a polling place assignment with flexible shifts, and an Election Day hotline number if you have a question or need to report a problem.

If you have already volunteered, that's terrific – thank you! Please share this message with your friends, family – with anyone you think might be willing to be a part of this vital program.



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...


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

2018 Statewide and State Legislative Candidates Who Support Ending Partisan Gerrymandering in Wisconsin (that CC/WI knows of, thus far)



For Release: Tuesday - September 11, 2018

All support the "Iowa Model" for Wisconsin

On August 30th, CC/WI issued a press release announcing that we would be posting the names of the statewide and state legislative candidates in 2018 who support ending partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

Since that time we have heard from, or know that two statewide candidates, 33 candidates for state representative to serve in the Wisconsin State Assembly, and eight candidates for the Wisconsin State Senate support non-partisan redistricting reform and, specifically, the "Iowa Plan."

To view that listing now, go here on the CC/WI website.

During the 2017-2018 Legislative Session, non-partisan redistricting reform was the leading political reform initiative in the media and among citizens throughout Wisconsin. CC/WI helped unite pro-reform legislators and citizens behind a single measure – Assembly Bill 44/Senate Bill 13 – that is modeled after Iowa's highly successful, 38-year-old redistricting process that takes the partisan politics out of redistricting and delegates the boundary-drawing to a non-partisan state entity that does not utilize partisan political considerations in their task.

This issue has received the unprecedented endorsement of 19 Wisconsin daily newspaper editorial boards and thousands of citizens expressed their support for ending gerrymandering in letters to editors, communications to legislators and by attending one of numerous "reform forums" CC/WI and other organizations organized over 2017-2018 in every part of Wisconsin.

While the legislative leadership continues to oppose this reform and refused to hold even a public hearing during the past legislative session, redistricting reform will be very much an issue during the current election season.

We wanted to make it simple and easy for Wisconsin voters to see which state legislative and statewide candidates support the non-partisan redistricting reform embodied in the "Iowa Plan" by providing an updated list of those candidates on our website.

Any statewide or state legislative candidate (or their authorized proxy) who supports the "Iowa Plan" and would like to see their name listed on our site should contact CC/WI by phone at (608) 256-2686 (leave a message if no answer), by email or by letter: CC/WI, P.O. Box 2597, Madison, WI 53701-2597.

Citizens can urge candidates to support non-partisan redistricting reform and request that they get their names on this list. Candidates must be pro-active to have their names appear on this site.

We will update the list constantly and have published a link to it in the sidebar of our website for anyone to check to see who is on it and therefore in support of the Iowa Plan.

There is more that you can do to advance non-partisan redistricting reform in Wisconsin in the next few months.

First, you can download and print the postcard sized information sheet with questions to ask state legislative and statewide candidates at candidate forums and to distribute to your friends and family to do the same.

Challenging candidates in person or through the media to support redistricting reform is very powerful and effective.

Second, if you haven't done so yet, please "sign" the online petition in support of the "Iowa Plan" for Wisconsin and urge friends and family to do so as well. We already have about 4,000 "signatures" and would love to have well over 5,000 to present to the new Wisconsin Legislature, after the election, in early 2019.

Let's make ending partisan gerrymandering a central focus during this election season and finally achieve the redistricting process Wisconsin voters of all political persuasions want and deserve.

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...


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Where do Wisconsin state legislative and statewide candidates stand on non-partisan redistricting reform?



For Release: Thursday - August 30, 2018


We cannot rely on the courts alone to end partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin

CC/WI will keep a running list of who supports the "Iowa Plan"

On June 18th, the U.S. Supreme Court "punted" on making a decision about whether or not to affirm a federal court three-judge panel's November, 2016 ruling that Wisconsin's radically, hyper-partisan 2011 gerrymandering of state legislative districts was unconstitutional.

This past Monday, another federal court panel of judges again struck down North Carolina's 2011 congressional district partisan gerrymandering, injecting new life into our Wisconsin case that the Supreme Court had decided to take a pass on. But, when that could happen and in what form is unknown at this time.

What has become abundantly clear is that we cannot just rely on the courts alone to end hyper-partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin. We need to enact real reform into law to solve this problem once and for all.

During the 2017-2018 Legislative Session, non-partisan redistricting reform was the leading political reform initiative in the media and among citizens throughout Wisconsin. CC/WI helped unite pro-reform legislators and citizens behind a single measure – Assembly Bill 44/Senate Bill 13 – that is modeled after Iowa's highly successful, 38-year-old redistricting process that takes the partisan politics out of redistricting and delegates the boundary-drawing to a non-partisan state entity that does not utilize partisan political considerations in their task.

This issue has received the unprecedented endorsement of 19 Wisconsin daily newspaper editorial boards and thousands of citizens expressed their support for ending gerrymandering in letters to editors, communications to legislators and by attending one of numerous "reform forums" CC/WI and other organizations organized over 2017-2018 in every part of Wisconsin.

While the legislative leadership continues to oppose this reform and refused to hold even a public hearing during the past legislative session, redistricting reform will be very much an issue during the current election season.

We want to make it simple and easy for Wisconsin voters to see which state legislative and statewide candidates support the non-partisan redistricting reform embodied in the "Iowa Plan" by providing an updated list of those candidates on our website.

Any statewide or state legislative candidate (or their authorized proxy) who supports the "Iowa Plan" and would like to see their name listed on our site should contact CC/WI by phone at (608) 256-2686 (leave a message if no answer), by email or by letter: CC/WI, P.O. Box 2597, Madison, WI 53701-2597.

Citizens can urge candidates to support non-partisan redistricting reform and request that they get their names on this list. Candidates must be pro-active to have their names appear on this site! Even incumbent legislators running for re-election who co-sponsored AB 44/SB113 during the last legislative session must contact us to be on the list.

We will update the list constantly and will have a tab in the sidebar of our website for anyone to check to see who is on it and therefore in support of the Iowa Plan.

There is more that you can do to advance non-partisan redistricting reform in Wisconsin in the next few months.

First, you can download and print the postcard sized information sheet with questions to ask state legislative and statewide candidates at candidate forums and to distribute to your friends and family to do the same.

Challenging candidates in person or through the media to support redistricting reform is very powerful and effective.

Second, if you haven't done so yet, please "sign" the online petition in support of the "Iowa Plan" for Wisconsin and urge friends and family to do so as well. We already have about 4,000 "signatures" and would love to have well over 5,000 to present to the new Wisconsin Legislature, after the election, in early 2019.

Let's make ending partisan gerrymandering a central focus during this election season and finally achieve the redistricting process Wisconsin voters of all political persuasions want and deserve.

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...


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

TODAY is Primary Election Day – Go Vote!



For Release: Tuesday - August 14, 2018


Today, August 14th, voters will whittle down the field of partisan candidates for Governor, for the U.S. Senate and Congress, and for many other state and local offices. Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Make sure you have a voice in determining who will be on the ballot in November.

Remember: you can only vote for candidates in a single political party in the primary. No "mixing" candidates of different political parties for your voting selections. If you do, your ballot will be invalidated.

Are you registered to vote?

Before heading out to the polls, check to see that you are registered to vote at your current address. If you're 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 so that you can register there.

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, 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 tonight OR bring your ID to your municipal clerk's office by 4:00 pm this Friday (August 17th).


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 Elections 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


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 to assist voters with any questions or problems, no matter how simple or complex. Voters may call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683) toll-free with any questions or issues that may arise. Spanish-speaking voters may seek assistance through the 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682) hotline.

Review this information NOW and then go make your voice heard at the ballot box in this important primary election – and encourage every eligible voter you know to do the same!





CONTACT:

Jay Heck

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


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...


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Everything you need to know to vote on (or before) the August 14th Primary



For Release: Tuesday - August 7, 2018


Next Tuesday, August 14th, voters will pare down the field of partisan candidates for Governor, for the U.S. Senate and Congress, and for many other state and local offices. Make sure you have a voice in determining who will be on the ballot in November.

Before you cast your ballot, remember: you can only vote for candidates in a single political party in the primary. No "mixing" candidates of different political parties for your voting selections. If you do, your ballot will be invalidated.

To preview your Primary Election ballot, visit the Wisconsin Elections Commission's "What's on My Ballot" page and type in your address.

Early, absentee voting is available NOW!

If there is even the slightest chance you won’t make it to the polls next Tuesday, don’t wait – see our guide to voting with an early, absentee ballot – in person or by mail, and then VOTE.

The process for casting a ballot early varies across the state, so be sure to contact your local municipal clerk’s office to see what days and hours you can vote early.

The deadline for voters to request a mailed absentee ballot is this Thursday, August 9th. All absentee ballots must be returned to the municipal clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14th. The last day for in-person absentee voting is Saturday, August 11th, but many cities end early voting on Friday, August 10th.

To confirm that you're registered to vote at your current address:


Visit the "My Voter Info" page at MyVoteWI.gov, and enter your name and date of birth to check your voter registration status. You need to have lived at your current address for at least 10 days prior to Election Day in order to register to vote in that election district or ward.

If you're not already registered, you can still register to vote – here's how:

In your Municipal Clerk’s Office.
You can 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. For the August primary, that date is this Friday, August 10th. You'll need to bring a proof of residence document to complete your registration (this document can be shown electronically).

At the Polls on Election Day.
If you're unable to register by before the election, you can still register at your polling place on Election Day. You will need to present a proof of residence document when registering (again, this document can be shown electronically). If your driver’s license or state ID card has your current address, that’s all you need.

Examples of proof of residence documents are here.


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


(Click to enlarge image)

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 #: 608/285-2141.

Are you (or do you know) a college student voting in Wisconsin?


Here are "Three Things College Students Need to Do To Vote in Wisconsin"


Don't put this off – or think that a primary election isn't worth turning out for. Every election matters, and your participation is crucial to restoring a healthy democracy in our state.




Contact:


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

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...


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

In the News - August 2018






Read More...


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Everything You Need to Know to Vote in the August 14th Primary Election



For Release: Thursday - July 19, 2018

Prepare NOW to Vote in the August 14th Primary Election


The dog days of summer are upon us in Wisconsin and the temperature isn't the only thing heating up. On Tuesday, August 14th, voters will whittle down the field of candidates for Governor, for the U.S. Senate and Congress, and for many other state and local offices.

The August 14th Primary Election is less than a month away. It's important to take steps now to ensure that you have a voice in who will be on the ballot for the November 6th General Election.

To preview your Primary Election ballot, visit the Wisconsin Elections Commission's "What's on My Ballot" page and type in your address.

Early, absentee voting is available NOW!

If there is even the slightest chance you won’t make it to the polls on Tuesday, August 14th, don’t wait – see our guide to voting with an early, absentee ballot – in person or by mail, and then VOTE.

The process for casting a ballot early varies across the state, so be sure to contact your local municipal clerk’s office to see what days and hours you can vote early.

The deadline for voters to request a mailed absentee ballot is Thursday, August 9th. All absentee ballots must be returned to the municipal clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14th. The last day for in-person absentee voting is Saturday, August 11th, but many cities end early voting on Friday, August 10th.

To confirm that you're registered to vote at your current address:


Visit the "My Voter Info" page at MyVoteWI.gov, and enter your name and date of birth to check your voter registration status. You need to have lived at your current address for at least 10 days prior to Election Day in order to register to vote in that election district or ward.

If you're not already registered, there are several ways you can register to vote:

Online. Eligible voters in Wisconsin who have a valid Wisconsin drivers license or a Wisconsin DMV-issued ID can now register online at MyVote.WI.gov up to 20 days before the election in which they are planning to vote. For the August 14th primary, the last day to register online is Wednesday, July 25th.

By Mail. You can start your voter registration form online at MyVote.WI.gov – then print, sign and mail it to your municipal clerk along with a Proof Of Residence (POR) document. Your form and POR must be postmarked no later than 20 days before the election in which you are planning to vote. Again, for the August 14th primary, that date is Wednesday, July 25th.

In your Municipal Clerk’s Office.
You can 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. For the August primary, that date is Friday, August 10th. You'll need to bring a proof of residence document to complete your registration (this document can be shown electronically).

At the Polls on Election Day.
If you're unable to register by any of the methods above, you can still register at your polling place on Election Day. You will need to present a proof of residence document when registering (again, this document can be shown electronically). If your driver’s license or state ID card has your current address, that’s all you need.

Examples of proof of residence documents are here.

Save time and hassle. Register to vote now.


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


(Click to enlarge image)

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 #: 608/285-2141.

Are you (or do you know) a college student voting in Wisconsin?


Here are "Three Things College Students Need to Do To Vote in Wisconsin"


Make sure you vote. Your participation is vital to a healthy democracy!




Contact:


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

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...


Sunday, July 1, 2018

In the News - July 2018






Read More...


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



Read More...


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

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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



Read More...


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...