Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Common Cause Wisconsin, Fair Elections Center & Others Challenge Wisconsin’s Requirements for Student IDs Used as Voter ID

Tuesday - April 23, 2019

Contact: Jay Heck, Common Cause Wisconsin o) 608-256-2686 c) 608-512-9363 jheck@commoncause.org
Kristen Muthig, Fair Elections Center o) 202-331-0114 c) 419-706-3431 kmuthig@fairelectionscenter.org

WISCONSIN – Today, Fair Elections Center and Pines Bach LLP filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, on behalf of Common Cause in Wisconsin and individual plaintiff Ben Quintero, challenging Wisconsin’s unnecessary requirements for student IDs to qualify as voter ID.

The lawsuit argues that the student ID requirements are a pointless barrier for casting a ballot in Wisconsin. Most students are newly registered voters and new to the voting process. These unnecessary requirements on student IDs can confuse and deter these new voters rather than making elections more accessible for them. The lawsuit is challenging specific student ID requirements, not the voter ID law as a whole.

"The completely unnecessary hoops that the Wisconsin voter ID law forces students to jump through to be able to vote, need to be eliminated,” said Jay Heck, the long-time director of Common Cause in Wisconsin. “These pointless obstacles create confusion, frustration, and ultimately disillusionment with what should be a simple, and uncomplicated process for students to be able to exercise their fundamental right to cast a ballot. This suit seeks to remove these superfluous barriers."

”Busy students with exams and jobs already bring multiple documents to the polls in order to register and vote on Election Day, but Wisconsin law requires them to request a separate form of photo ID that displays information poll workers do not need or use,” said Jon Sherman, Senior Counsel at Fair Elections Center. “Just as states cannot lawfully require voters to bring a toothbrush or sandwich to the polls, they cannot insist a voter present useless or irrelevant information.”

Wisconsin’s current voter ID law singles out student voters, requiring information election and poll workers do not need or use if the voter presents a college or university photo ID when they cast a ballot. Current law allows Wisconsin students to use their campus photo ID if it contains their name, photo, issuance date, an expiration date not more than two years after the issuance date, and the student’s signature. Students must also show proof of current enrollment, such as an enrollment verification letter or tuition fee receipt. This proof of enrollment requirement makes issuance and expiration dates unnecessary and irrational for student ID cards, and other forms of accepted ID do not have expiration dates and are indefinitely valid.

The lawsuit also claims the signature requirement is 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, and other forms of accepted voter ID, such as Veterans Health Identification Cards and some tribal ID cards, do not contain signatures.

The full text of the complaint can be found here.

Common Cause in Wisconsin is the state's largest non-partisan citizen political reform advocacy organization with more than 7,500 members and activists. They have worked for honest, clean, open and accountable government and politics in Wisconsin since 1972 and are the state affiliate of national Common Cause.

Fair Elections Center is a national, nonpartisan voting rights and election reform organization which works to remove barriers to registration and voting for traditionally underrepresented constituencies. The Center works to improve election administration through legislative, legal and administrative reform, to protect access to the ballot through litigation, and to provide election law expertise, voter information and technical assistance to voter mobilization organizations.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Former GOP State Representative, Retired Judge & 2018 Democratic State Senate Candidate Elected to Common Cause in Wisconsin Governing Board

For Release: Tuesday - April 16, 2019

Join Leadership of State's Largest Non-Partisan Reform Group

David Deininger
of Monroe and Kriss Marion of Blanchardville were elected to the State Governing Board of Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) at the organization's April 11th board meeting in Madison. The election results were announced by CC/WI Board Chair Tim Cullen of Janesville.

"Common Cause in Wisconsin is fortunate to have two community leaders as skilled and as dedicated to honest, open, fair, and accountable government and politics as Dave Deninger and Kriss Marion," said Cullen. "Their election to our board continues our long tradition of bringing together citizens of both major political parties who seek bipartisan solutions to the urgent need to bring about fundamental political reform in Wisconsin," Cullen added.

Deininger, of Monroe, served as a Republican State Representative from 1987 to 1994, when he was elected as a Circuit Court Judge of Green County. In 1996, he became a judge on the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin, District IV and retired in 2007. He then served as a member and Chair (2007-2008) of the non-partisan Government Accountability Board, which oversaw and administered Wisconsin's elections, public officials' ethics code, and campaign finance regulations. He served again on the G.A.B. from 2010 to 2013 and was Chair in 2012.

"I am increasingly concerned about the direction that state government and politics has taken in recent years and I want to assist Common Cause in Wisconsin in its efforts to return Wisconsin to its once nationally-recognized status as a beacon for clean politics and good government," Deininger said. "Fair voting maps and fair elections are not partisan issues and we need to begin to work again in a bipartisan manner to restore citizen confidence in our democratic institutions," he added.

Marion, of Blanchardville, is a small business owner and organic farmer. She is a Lafayette County Supervisor and serves on the Lafayette County Development Corporation. Marion ran as a Democrat for the Wisconsin State Senate in the 17th Senate District in 2018 in a contest that saw record campaign spending. She received the endorsement of the Wisconsin State Journal, in part, because of her support for ending partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin. Marion had not been previously involved in partisan politics and has a long record of community involvement in rural issues, most prominently for clean water.

"With dark money flooding into local campaigns and gerrymandered maps that keep legislative seats from being competitive, the electorate is robbed of an opportunity of being able to get to know the truth about their candidates or to be able to select a challenger who has any chance of defeating an incumbent," Marion said. "That should be a red flag for citizens that the current system is broken. Educating citizens and fighting for fair elections is what Common Cause in Wisconsin is all about, and I am delighted to be part of their effort and to direct my energy toward these important objectives," Marion concluded.

Common Cause in Wisconsin is the state's largest non-partisan political reform advocacy group with more than 7,500 members and activists. For more information, go to commoncausewisconsin.org or call 608-256-2686.


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!


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Testify in Support of Ending Partisan Gerrymandering at April Budget Hearings Beginning Friday, April 5th

For Release: Thursday - April 4, 2019

Hearings in Janesville, Oak Creek, River Falls and Green Bay

The battle for fair voting maps and for ending partisan gerrymandering received a big boost in Tuesday's election. Voters in La Crosse and Vernon counties showed their support for non-partisan drawing of legislative boundaries in the state based on Iowa's non-partisan redistricting process. Both counties had advisory referendum questions on the ballot Tuesday.

In both places, more than 70 percent of voters approved the question. The vote in La Crosse County was 16,637 to 4,858 while in Vernon County the totals were 4,245 to 1,741.

A Marquette Law School poll earlier this year showed that 72 percent of all Wisconsinites support non-partisan redistricting, including 62 percent of all state Republicans. They totally understand now that voters should be selecting their elected officials instead of politicians selecting their voters, as is the case now in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin citizens will have their first opportunity in more than a decade to testify in support of fair voting maps and against partisan gerrymandering of state legislative and congressional districts at "sanctioned" state legislative public hearings scheduled by the Joint Finance Committee during the month of April around Wisconsin.

Gov. Tony Evers included non-partisan redistricting reform in his state budget at the urging of CC/WI and other reformers. Your voice is needed to ensure that it is not pulled out of the budget by guardians of the corrupt status quo – of which there are many in the Wisconsin Legislature, but not in the public at large.

Try to get to one of these public hearings and make your voices heard! The 16 legislators comprising the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee are supposed to be in attendance at these public hearings, and the media will cover them as well. So this is the best opportunity yet to bring wider public attention and support to ending one of the most partisan gerrymandering of legislative and congressional districts of any state in the nation.

Joint Finance Committee Public Hearings on the Budget

Friday, April 5 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Pontiac Convention Center
2809 North Pontiac Drive
Janesville, WI 53545

Wednesday, April 10 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Oak Creek Community Center
8580 South Howell Avenue
Oak Creek, WI 53154

Monday, April 15 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
University Center
Riverview Ballroom #260
500 Wild Rose Avenue
River Falls, WI 54022

Wednesday, April 24 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
University Union – Phoenix Room
2430 Campus Court
Green Bay, WI 54311

The Co-Chairs of the Joint Finance Committee may decide to limit testimony to two or three minutes. They haven't announced that yet. Written comments can be emailed to the Committee at BudgetComments@legis.wisconsin.gov

For more background information from CC/WI about this issue to educate you and to help you prepare your comments to the Joint Finance Committee, see this January communication and press release.

Also, this recent guest editorial on fair maps, partisan gerrymandering and the U.S. Supreme Court in the Wisconsin State Journal written by CC/WI Director Jay Heck and CC/WI State Governing Board Chair and former Wisconsin State Senator Tim Cullen.

For much more information about this issue, please browse our website.

Finally, if you have not already done so, please sign our petition to the Wisconsin Legislature in support of the Iowa model redistricting reform legislation that is now in the state budget. We are 85 percent of the way toward our goal of 5,000 signatures so please help us get to the finish line!

And, as always, be sure to email or call Jay Heck if you have any questions or require further information.

On 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!


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

TODAY is Election Day in Wisconsin!

For Release: Tuesday - April 2, 2019

Here's What you Need to Know to Vote

Non-partisan Spring elections may seem to be "less important" than November elections, but that is certainly not the case this year. Today is the most important election of 2019. There is much at stake.

Today, Wisconsin voters will choose a a replacement for retiring State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson to serve on our state's highest court.

Voters will also select new school board members and other local officials – individuals who make decisions that can have a direct and profound impact on our local communities.

Further, because Spring elections tend to have lower turnout, your vote carries even more weight in determining the election's outcome.

So please do not miss this chance to make your voice heard at the ballot box in a big way. Look over the information below to make sure you have what you need to vote in this important election.

When can you vote?

Polls are open today from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM.

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 tonight OR bring your ID to your municipal clerk's office by 4:00 pm this Friday (April 5th).

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 WI – 4-Year Schools
University of WI – 2-Year Schools
WI Private Universities & Colleges
WI 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 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 provides us all with a chance to strengthen the health of our democracy. Get ready NOW and go vote!


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

Sandra Miller
Director of Information Services & Outreach

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

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!


Monday, April 1, 2019

In the News - April 2019