Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Today is National Voter Registration Day!

For Release: Tuesday - September 24, 2019

A Reminder that Participation is Key to a Healthy Democracy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sandra Miller
Director of Information Services & Outreach

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


Monday, September 9, 2019

The Battle Against Partisan Gerrymandering in Wisconsin Progresses This Summer

For Release: Monday - September 9, 2019

Editorial Cartoon by Phil Hands of the Wisconsin State Journal - 6/30/19

Despite U.S. Supreme Court's Cowardly Decision
to "Punt," States Move Forward

Wisconsin Fair Maps "Summit" - November 9th in Marshfield

At the end of June, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), who, together, have conspired to block redistricting reform and fair voting maps despite overwhelming citizens support for the past six years, must have thought they finally succeeded in strangling the increasingly powerful and growing citizen movement, working to end partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

A narrow, conservative, 5 to 4 majority on the U.S. Supreme Court issued a weak, cowardly and ill-conceived decision that said federal courts should not adjudicate, on the basis of excessive partisanship, the voting maps drawn by partisan legislators after the Census every ten years, even if the maps effectively disenfranchised a majority of voters in a legislative or congressional district in order to achieve a pre-ordained, partisan outcome.

Chief Justice John Roberts, the author of the decision, readily admitted that partisan gerrymandering was unfair and undemocratic, but chose to exclude the federal judiciary from weighing in to mollify the powerful right wing interests that had elevated him to his exalted position in 2005. But he did not preclude the states from pursuing an end to gerrymandering.

That June 27th decision ended a challenge to partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina, Rucho V. Common Cause and by extension, a pending and revised Wisconsin challenge to partisan gerrymandering, Gill V. Whitford.

But Vos and Fitzgerald, as is so often the case, miscalculated the strength and commitment that Common Cause in Wisconsin members and thousands of Wisconsin citizens bring in demanding some semblance of fairness and a return to democracy to Wisconsin. As we said on July 1st, "With federal courts now out of the fight, it's entirely up to "We the People." And we explained why the U.S. Supreme Court decision did not mean redistricting reform is dead. Far from it.

In July, CC/WI Director Jay Heck and two University of Wisconsin faculty experts on this issue explained the implications of the Supreme Court's decision on redistricting reform efforts in Wisconsin on Wisconsin Eye's special program on the matter.

And, after the Supreme Court "indecision," CC/WI continued the effort to educate Wisconsin Citizens about the importance of action on the local level to mobilize citizens in support of ending partisan gerrymandering. CC/WI board chair Tim Cullen, CC/WI board member Kriss Marion and CC/WI Director Jay Heck spoke at a well attended meeting in Darlington in Lafayette County about this.

In mid July, "stand alone" redistricting reform legislation based on the Iowa system, which CC/WI united pro-reform legislators and groups behind in 2013, was formally introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature by State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and State Representative Robyn Vining (D-Waukesha) with CC/WI Chair and former State Senator Tim Cullen. What was very different this time was the significant Republican support and co-sponsorship of the legislation: Senate Bill 288 and Assembly Bill 303. During the past three sessions of the Wisconsin Legislature, similar reform legislation had attracted only one Republican co-sponsor. Now, it has four: State Representatives Joel Kitchens of Sturgeon Bay, Todd Novak of Dodgeville, Loren Oldenburg of Virocqua and Travis Tranel of Cuba City.

Clearly state legislators are hearing from their constituents, including many CC/WI Members. Keep on applying the pressure on your state legislators. It's working!

On September 3rd, a state court in North Carolina overturned the partisan voter maps drawn by Republicans in that state in 2011 in a lawsuit brought by Common Cause North Carolina. While the facts of the case and wording of the state constitution are different in Wisconsin, as is the composition of state courts here, there is renewed hope that a remedy to the hyper-partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin could be remedied through state court action, as well as legislatively. In any event we will not stop pursuing our fight to bring fair voting maps to Wisconsin – now or ever.
* * *

CC/WI is one of a number of state reform organizations that are participating in, and will present at a Fair Maps Summit to be held in Marshfield on Saturday, November 9th. Any and all Wisconsin citizens are invited to attend. Mark your calendars now and plan to be there if you can!


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

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

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Sunday, September 1, 2019

In the News - September 2019