Thursday, December 31, 2020

In The News - December 2020

Walters: Path from Legislature to lobbyist well traveled
December 14, 2020 - Steve Walters, GazetteXtra

Jay Heck talks redistricting reform, Wisconsin 2020 election recount and Packer football with Stan Milam
December 2, 2020 - WCLO 1230am / 92.7fm, Stan Milam Show

Jay Heck on Redistricting and the conservative maneuver for the WI Supreme Court
December 1, 2020 - Brian Kelly, The Devil's Advocates Radio


Friday, December 11, 2020

Common Cause Wisconsin Testimony for Today's Joint Legislative Committee Hearing on Election Results

Friday – December 11, 2020

Below are comments submitted to the joint state legislative committees holding a hearing today from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM reviewing the results of the November 3, 2020 election. The committee chairs limited testimony to invitees only, but we are making public our comments that we submitted to the legislators. You can watch (although not participate) in this "public" hearing by going here:

December 10, 2020

To: Senator Kathleen Bernier, Chair, Committee on Elections, Ethics and Rural Issues
Senator Alberta Darling, Vice-Chair, Committee on Elections, Ethics and Rural Issues
Senator Mark Miller, Senator Jeff Smith, Senator Duey Stroebel
Representative Ron Tusler, Chair, Committee on Campaigns and Elections
Representative Joe Sanfelippo, Vice-Chair, Committee on Campaigns and Elections
Representative Janel Brandtjen, Representative John Macco, Representative David Murphy, Representative Shae A. Sortwell, Representative Mark Spreitzer, Representative Lisa Subeck, Representative JoCasta Zamarripa
Re: Joint Public Hearing on 2020 Election - December 11, 2020
Dear Members of the Joint Committee on Elections,
Wisconsin makes a compelling case for why the election clerks across the state should have heard from you before the November 2020 election if you felt there was a need to further clarify standards to process ballots prior to Election Day. The options to use absentee ballots understandably became much more attractive to voters as COVID-19 hit and devastated Wisconsin beginning last Spring and accelerated in the Fall. But only now, after the election is over and the results have been canvassed and certified, you call into question the results of your own inaction, and in the process, incite chaos and undermine voter confidence in the election system you created over the last decade.
And now, clerks and election officials at every level across the state have had people from their districts and from out of Wisconsin, in their offices, on the phone, and on social media threatening and degrading them and their staff, and calling into question this election because you have not stood by the election officials who have done their civic duty, and, have acted conscientiously as public servants doing the work, proscribed by the law, that you wrote. You have not stood up to the people in Wisconsin who are angry about the results, and who are resentful because their candidate for President didn’t win this election, and who continue to echo the lies about the results and how this election has been administered. They have not brought forward credible evidence to buttress their claims, and they have put their candidate over their country. You have failed to tell them that they are wrong and that the rumors they believe are unfounded.

The damage being done to our election system and to our democracy is very real and palpable, the longer this charade continues. Wisconsin legislators are complicit in tearing down our system of government and law. Listen to Senator Devin LeMahieu’s own words in 2019, when he proposed legislation (SB 574) that sought to process absentee ballots early and provide the help that election clerks have been advocating for and advising for years: “Election integrity is of utmost concern for voters in Wisconsin, and the longer the count takes, the more potential for mistrust in results to be fomented by those who mean harm to our democracy.” State legislators who have supported the numerous false and unsupported allegations of voting fraud in Wisconsin have wrongly given credence and credibility to these vicious attacks on our system. You have been ignoring exactly what Sen LeMahieu warned about only a year ago.
And to what end? To claim you’re now investigating and seeking to improve the election process? To now ask questions and hold this hearing about the validity of the 2020 Wisconsin election after the final result has been canvassed, recounted and certified? You are now participating in the devaluation of tens of thousands of legitimately cast and counted votes after the election, simply because some of you don't like the result of the election. And your targeted disenfranchisement of only voters in Wisconsin's most populous counties, Milwaukee and Dane, are because they voted overwhelmingly for Joe Biden over Donald Trump and because they contain the largest number of Black and Brown voters in Wisconsin. The ramifications of this maneuver are beneath contempt.
Wisconsin has voted. America has voted. America is bigger than any one party or one candidate. Where we can agree is that we need to continue to look for ways to improve our elections to ensure people can vote securely, immediately process early votes, and expand voter access so every eligible citizen - no matter what they look like or where they live - can take part in our democracy. The voters have decided. Let’s get Wisconsin moving forward. Wisconsin leaders need to focus on beating COVID and helping our hurting economy instead of wasting time contesting confirmed elections. It’s time to accept the results and tackle the very real challenges Wisconsinites currently face.
In 2016, Common Cause in Wisconsin thanked our election officials for administering a difficult and very close election, including running a statewide recount. The 2016 recount confirmed that our process was secure and was done with integrity. Between 2016 and 2020, we worked tirelessly with many partners to increase voter education and improve election administration according to the law so that all eligible voters are more informed and engaged participants in our democracy.
In 2020, we again thanked our election officials for overcoming the challenges of administering a difficult election in an unprecedented year. This time with many more voters using absentee ballots but without giving clerks the ability to begin processing those ballots earlier so the results could be reported sooner. This time with a global pandemic to navigate which required implementing procedures to keep both voters and election officials safe. This time with greater transparency about election administration being reported to the public every step of the way. This time with completing their work across the state, as well as completing the recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties, as the law requires and with integrity. This time under threats to the lives and safety of election officials at every level from the commissioners at Wisconsin Election Commission to local municipal clerks and their staff. They all deserve your acknowledgement of their good work and respect for the integrity with which they administered this election.
Finally, election officials and the voters of Wisconsin deserve your respect and support for the outcome of this election in Wisconsin.
Thank you for your consideration of our comments.

Erin L Grunze and Jay Heck
On behalf of Common Cause in Wisconsin

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

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


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Common Cause Wisconsin Opposes Jensen/WILL Petition to WI Supreme Court to Short-Circuit 2021 Redistricting Process

Tuesday – December 1, 2020

Last June, former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, who was forced out of the Wisconsin Legislature for his role in the infamous Legislative Caucus Scandal of 2001-2002, and the ultra right-wing Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) petitioned the Wisconsin Supreme Court to short circuit and circumvent the normal legal channels involved in the decennial redistricting process which will occur next year during 2021. Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) is joining hundreds of Wisconsin citizens and numerous organizations in opposing this initiative, which will be argued before the Wisconsin Supreme Court on January 15th. CC/WI submitted these comments to the Court yesterday:

November 30, 2020

Wisconsin Supreme Court
P.O. Box 1688
Madison, WI 53701-1688

RE: Rules Petition 20-03
(Petition from Scott Jensen and Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty)

Dear Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court:

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on this petition on behalf of Common Cause Wisconsin, one of the state’s largest and oldest non-partisan advocacy organizations. Common Cause Wisconsin is a citizens’ political reform organization with currently more than 7,700 members and activists statewide and in continuous operation in Wisconsin since 1972.

We urge the Court to decline to use its rulemaking authority to amend Wis. Stat. (Rule) 809.70 by adding newly proposed subdivisions (4) and (5) and thereby reject the adoption of Rules Petition 20-03.

Our opposition to the Jensen petition is based on both the narrow scope of interest in the upcoming redistricting process which it seeks to define, as well as the abbreviated period of time in which it proposes the Court to act. Both of these factors undermine and even largely exclude altogether, the interests and concerns of most Wisconsin citizens, including our members. It is important to remember that voters and citizens are the ones whose rights are most impacted by redistricting, and who deserve to be protected by the Court. The petition seeks a rush to judgment without allowing citizens to have their concerns adjudicated and addressed through even the normal channels of judicial review. We discuss these concerns below, but first feel compelled to describe Common Cause Wisconsin’s particular stake in this proposal.

Common Cause Wisconsin is the state affiliate of the national organization, Common Cause, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Common Cause and its state affiliates have been very interested in and involved in the decennial redistricting process in states throughout the nation, including Wisconsin, through citizen education, advocacy, litigation and in other avenues. Support for fair, non-partisan, transparent redistricting processes has been central to the mission and objective of our work. A recent and very prominent example of our involvement in this arena was in the landmark redistricting case before the United States Supreme Court last year, Rucho v. Common Cause, No. 18-422, 588 U.S. (2019). While that particular case involved redistricting in the state of North Carolina, there were significant issues raised in the litigation that have important implications for Wisconsin and for the 2021 redistricting process.

In addition, Common Cause Wisconsin has been a leading advocate since the 2011 redistricting process for a much more accessible, visible, transparent and non-partisan redistricting process for 2021. This is because of the extreme secrecy and lack of transparency or accountability that occurred in the last round of redistricting. This petition undermines our efforts to improve the 2021 redistricting process and not repeat the grave errors of 2011.

We are also concerned that the petitioners seek to limit the scope of intervenors in the 2021 redistricting process in Wisconsin to “[t]he Governor, the Senate, the Assembly and political parties” (Jensen Rule subsection (5)(b). This may exclude the participation of members of Common Cause as well as all other citizens of Wisconsin who are not members of the Legislature or of a political party. Members of Common Cause as well as most, if not all citizens of Wisconsin are affected by, and have an abiding interest and stake in the way in which state legislative and congressional district maps are devised, constructed and implemented in the redistricting process. Rules Petition 20-03 seemingly denies that fact.

Further, Common Cause Wisconsin is deeply concerned about the narrowness and exclusivity of the judicial review of the Wisconsin redistricting process that the petitioners seek. The inability for a record to be developed through the trial court and appellate is problematic in our view. As is the timetable that does not account for the likelihood of federal claims that could flow from maps even after they are blessed by the Court.

While we understand redistricting litigation can involve election deadlines, and thus call for an expeditious process, the proposed rule here unnecessarily rushes and short-changes review in ways courts have not been compelled to in past redistricting litigation. Rushing this process will undermine public trust in the outcome, particularly if individual and membership groups are excluded from playing an active role.

In sum, we urge the Wisconsin Supreme Court to reject Rules Petition 20-03. Thank you for your consideration of Common Cause Wisconsin’s comments.


Jay Heck
Executive Director


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

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


Monday, November 30, 2020

In the News - November 2020

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Fair Voting Maps Advance in Wisconsin on November 3

For Release: Thursday – November 12, 2020

 2011 Gerrymander Allowed Very Few Close Elections in 2020 

A huge victory for Fair Voting Maps and Non-Partisan Redistricting Reform in Wisconsin on November 3rd as referendums in all eleven counties (& 3 municipalities) it was on the ballot in -- passed with margins as high as 77 percent. Every time this is on the ballot it has passed - now in 28 counties. This time voters in Adams, Bayfield, Brown, Crawford, Door, Dunn, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Rusk and Waushara Counties voted for advisory referendums stipulating support for a non-partisan redistricting process like our neighboring state of Iowa's, to be adopted by the Wisconsin Legislature and to be in place for the 2021 redistricting process.

While advisory referendums like this are not legally binding on legislators to follow the directives of the great majority of their constituents, they do exert considerable political pressure on them. For example, there are now five Republican co-sponsors of the redistricting reform legislation in the Legislature this past session, partly as a result of the passage of county referendums in the past two years. In the 2017-2018 legislative session there was only one Republican co-sponsor. Legislation to impose an Iowa-model non-partisan redistricting reform process will be reintroduced in the upcoming, new Wisconsin state legislative session in January.

In the meantime, the durability of the most partisan state legislative gerrymandering in the nation in 2011, which occurred in Wisconsin, was in full evidence in 2020 where only 10 of 99 Assembly Districts experienced even remotely competitive elections in which the margin of victory separating the winner from the lose was within 9 percentage points. And only four of those ten were truly competitive - within 4 points. All of the other 89 Assembly districts saw either "blow out" elections or elections that were entirely uncontested by candidates of one major political party or the other.

In the State Senate, only one of the 16 elections was truly competitive -- the 32nd District in western Wisconsin which includes La Crosse and surrounding counties. None of the other State Senate Districts was particularly competitive and none of Wisconsin's eight Congressional elections was remotely close at all.

The passage of the county referendums and the continuation of the People's Maps Commission public hearings, which resume next Thursday evening, November 19th at 6 PM, will continue to build public support and momentum for fair state legislative and congressional voting maps. The November 19th hearing will give priority to citizens residing in the 3rd Congressional District. To register to testify or submit written comments, go here. 

On Wisconsin!



Jay Heck
Executive Director

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


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Voter Participation Soars in A Largely Problem-Free Election

 For Release: Wednesday – November 11, 2020

The third closest Presidential election in Wisconsin in the last twenty years was concluded within about 15 hours of the polls closing on November 3rd. Unofficial results show former Vice President Joe Biden defeating President Donald Trump by 20,539 votes. The official statewide canvass of the votes is currently taking place and must be concluded by November 17th. Then, the Trump campaign can formally request a recount of the votes.

Voter turnout in Wisconsin for this election was the highest it has been since 2004 at just over 72 percent. More than 3.2 million of Wisconsin's 3.6 million registered voters cast ballots either utilizing absentee ballots or by voting in-person early or on November 3rd. Voter turnout in 2016 was 67.3 percent.

This level of voter participation is remarkable and even astonishing, coming as it did in the midst of the most infectious and deadly pandemic and health emergency occurring in the state and the nation in over a hundred years.

And, by every indication and measure that we have been able to determine thus far, this election in Wisconsin was conducted without any of the problems or threats that were anticipated by some, or which occurred in some past elections. According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission and to all objective observers of the electoral process, there were few problems or evidence of any election malfeasance, fraud, or voter intimidation and harassment on or before November 3rd.

In short, this was a remarkably smooth, problem-free election characterized by very high voter participation and interest throughout most of Wisconsin.

And yet, without any proof or evidence whatsoever, there have been wildly speculative, baseless and completely false assertions by some that voting fraud and malfeasance resulted in Trump finishing some 20,000 votes behind Biden. It must be noted that there were no such baseless assertions made in 2016 when Trump finished about 23,000 votes ahead of Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin.

Even more alarmingly, some elected officials in Wisconsin have, without evidence, suggested there were voter "irregularities" in Milwaukee, a thinly-veiled racial smear and have even gone so far as to suggest that the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature should control how the state's Electoral College delegates cast their votes for President, regardless of the will of the voters of the state. This is illegal. In Wisconsin, the state legislature plays no role in certifying or deciding which slate of electors vote in the electoral college.

We have many of you to thank for helping so much to make this election a relatively trouble-free and safe exercise of the democratic process! CC/WI was extremely busy in the weeks leading up to November 3rd to inform voters about what they needed to vote by absentee ballot and in-person, and to ready voters before they cast their ballot.

CC/WI also helped to recruit nearly 1,000 volunteers through Protect the Vote in Wisconsin for various election-related activities, including volunteers who called or texted voters to assist with registration and answer questions, poll monitors on Election Day, social media monitors to watch and report false and misleading election posts, in-area volunteers to support the Voter Helpline and assisted with taking voters to DMVs to get free IDs or be a witness to sign the absentee ballot envelope for voters. We also helped recruit lawyers to staff the Election Protection Hotline (1-888-Our-Vote) which is a service voters could use before and on Election Day to report any problems and concerns with voting.

This was a spectacular, all hands on deck effort by so many of you to bring about an election in Wisconsin that we can be proud of. But we need to be on guard against those who seek to undermine it, and who want to impose their own political will over that of the voters.



Jay Heck

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


Monday, November 2, 2020

Tomorrow is Election Day! What You Need to Know to Cast Your Ballot and Have it Counted

 For Release: Monday – November 2, 2020

Election Day has finally arrived: Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3rd - the most important and consequential election in our lifetime. Your vote is your voice in this fragile democracy we live in and I don't have to tell you that your voice matters now, more than ever before. So, if you haven't yet cast your ballot by absentee voting, then prepare now for how you will vote tomorrow.
The Wisconsin Election Commission put out this guidance last week to all voters:  Important Things Voters Should Know for Election Day
If you have a mail-in absentee ballot that was mailed to you and you have not returned it yet, be sure to hand return your completed ballot TODAY. Do NOT mail it. All ballots need to be received no later than 8pm tomorrow on Election Day (and some drop boxes will close prior to 8pm.) Your clerk and will have information about where you can take your ballot. Don't forget: The ballot envelope needs a witness signature and the address of the witness.
You can track your ballot through the official ballot tracker on MyVote. Don't see that your ballot was received? Contact your clerk for further information.
Also understand your options if you requested an absentee ballot but did not return it yet. 

If you are planning to vote in person at the polls, please take great care. Follow social distancing guidelines for your safety and the safety of others. Wear a mask. Consider bringing your own black or blue pen to mark your ballot. Be patient and safe. And read the information below so you are prepared when you show up to vote at your polling location. Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. 
You can register to vote on Election Day at your voting location. (Find your polling place.) Being registered to vote means being registered at your current address. You need to have lived at your current address for at least 28 days prior to Election Day in order to register to vote in that election district or ward. You'll need to bring a proof of residence document to complete your registration (this document can be shown electronically - like on your phone or tablet).
Photo ID: 
You are required to show a photo ID before you vote. If you have a Wisconsin driver's license or ID card, then you’re all set. Other forms of ID work too, and it’s good to check the official list of acceptable IDs at to make sure you have what you need. 
What if you don't have an acceptable ID to vote tomorrow? 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 (Friday, November 6th). If you don't have an acceptable ID for voting and need help getting one, contact the Voter Helpline 608-285-2141 for assistance.
Need a Ride to Your Polling Location to Vote? Call 414-246-1823
Souls to the Polls are arranging free rides for voters from anywhere served by Lyft and Uber in the state to your polling site and back home on Election Day. This free ride service includes taking a voter to an official ballot drop box to return your completed mailed absentee ballot - even today, the day before Election Day. So call to arrange your ride: 414-246-1823.
More transportation options for voters can be found on the Disability Rights Coalition website. Many of these services require advanced notice to arrange the rides.
Student Voters:
Students attending a university, college, or technical school in Wisconsin can find information to vote from the CC/WI webpage: Three Things College Students Need to Vote in Wisconsin.
Quarantined / Hospital Voting:
Given the unfortunate status of COVID throughout Wisconsin, voters who are quarantined or hospitalized will have to take special precautions to cast a ballot. The Wisconsin Election Commission has instructions and information for these voting situations.


Saturday, October 31, 2020

In The News - October 2020


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Wisconsin State Legislative Candidates and Partisan Gerrymandering: Which Side Are They On?

 For Release: Wednesday – October 28, 2020

Redistricting Reform Referendums on Eleven County Ballots and
a People's Map Commission Public Hearing - October 29th

During the current election season and during the 2019-2020 legislative session, non-partisan redistricting reform was a leading political reform issue and initiative among citizens throughout Wisconsin and in the media. Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) helped unite pro-reform legislators and citizens behind a single measure -- 2019 Assembly Bill 303 and 2019 Senate Bill 288 -- that is modeled after Iowa's highly successful, 40-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.
Nonpartisan redistricting reform has received the unprecedented endorsement of every Wisconsin daily newspaper editorial board. As well, thousands of citizens expressed their support for ending gerrymandering by voting for county advisory referendums to end partisan gerrymandering, in letters to editors, communications to legislators, and by attending one of numerous "reform forums" (both in-person and virtual) CC/WI and other organizations organized over 2019-2020 in every part of Wisconsin.

Advisory referendums in support of ending partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin during the upcoming redistricting process next year are on the November 3rd election ballot in eleven counties: Adams, Bayfield, Brown, Crawford, Door, Dunn, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Rusk and Waushara. In addition, referendums are on the ballot in three municipalities: the city of Barron (in Barron County), the city of Racine (in Racine County) and in Land O'Lakes (in Vilas County). Voters have the opportunity to send Wisconsin legislators a strong message that they oppose rigged, partisan voter maps in these referendums.

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

As we have done for every election since 2014, CC/WI wants to make it simple and easy for Wisconsin voters to see which state legislative candidates support the non-partisan redistricting reform embodied in the "Iowa Plan" by providing an updated list of those candidates on our website. These candidates have either co-sponsored AB 303/SB 288 during the 2019-2020 legislative session as incumbents, or have informed us, or one of our coalition partners that they support this reform if they are challengers. If a candidate who supports the Iowa Model reform legislation is not on our list, that candidate -- or her/his campaign -- may contact us and we will be happy to add them.

Wisconsinites will also have an opportunity to weigh in publicly this Fall and next year in support on ending partisan gerrymandering by testifying at one of the eight (virtual) public hearings (one in each of Wisconsin's eight congressional districts) being scheduled by Governor Ever's "People's Map Commission."

The next virtual People's Map Commission hearing is tomorrow evening - Thursday, October 29th. This one gives priority to voters who live in Wisconsin's 5th Congressional District (Milwaukee & suburbs) to testify for up to three minutes. But voters who reside in other congressional districts in Wisconsin may submit written comment and testimony at any time to the Commission. Here is how to testify and to submit written comments:
Thursday, October 29, 2020, 5th Congressional District, 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Hold state legislative candidates accountable for support for ending partisan gerrymandering and for fair voting maps in this upcoming election. Wisconsin deserves Fair Maps.
On Wisconsin! Forward!

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin

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

Common Cause in Wisconsin

152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703


Monday, October 26, 2020

Consider Voting This Week: Make a plan and Get it Done!

 For Release: Monday – October 26, 2020

Consider Voting This Week: Make a plan and Get it Done!

We urge you to seriously consider picking a day this week to cast your ballot for the November 3rd Election!
Why this week? Because we do not want you to miss this chance to have your voice heard at the ballot box. And the sooner you get your vote in, the more certain you can be that it will be counted.

You can vote by mail-in absentee ballot, by in-person absentee ballot - “early voting,” or in person on Election Day. Make a plan! Look over the information in this message to make sure you have what you need to be able to vote in this, the most consequential election in our lifetime, and share this information with others to help them be an engaged, successful voter.
You have three ways to vote during the next eight days:
First way to voteMail-in Absentee Ballot
While you have until October 29th to request a mail-in ballot, we suggest you either vote on Election Day or "Early Vote" (see explanations below) because the likelihood of receiving and returning the ballot by the deadline are slim since as we are nearing Election Day. However, if you have yet to return your completed ballot, do so NOW. Your ballot (sealed in the official envelope with your signature and a witnesses signature and address) needs to be to your clerk by Election Day! If you haven't mailed your ballot yet, it is better to drop the ballot off at your clerk's office or contact your clerk about designated ballot drop boxes. You can also search MyVote for official drop box locations.  
Second Way to VoteIn-person Absentee Ballot (Early Vote)
If you’d like to vote before Election Day in person, check with your clerk on locations and times that are occuring now -- through the end of this week -- for your village / town / city. Casting your ballot early helps to minimize long lines on Election Day and helps with social distancing and staying safe. Visit your municipal clerk’s website, contact your clerk, or search MyVote to find out about opportunities to vote early.
Third Way to VoteAt your polling location on Election Day
Prepare now if you’re going to vote at your polling place next week on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd. Be safe. Wear a mask. Social distance. Make a plan. Here are some things to know:
  • RegistrationYou can register to vote on Election Day at your voting location. (Find your polling place.) Being registered to vote means being registered at your current address. You need to have lived at your current address for at least 28 days prior to Election Day in order to register to vote in that election district or ward. You'll need to bring a proof of residence document to complete your registration (this document can be shown electronically).
  • Photo IDYou are required to show a photo ID before you vote. If you have a Wisconsin driver's license or ID card, then you’re all set. Other forms of ID work too, and it’s good to check the official list of acceptable IDs at to make sure you have what you need. 
Track your ballot: 
Track your ballot through the official ballot tracker on MyVote.
Information on the candidates and your ballot:
Get to know who wants to represent you and which candidate best represents your values before you vote. Find candidate and ballot information from the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin at Vote411. Or take a look at your official ballot through MyVote.
Election Results:
Every eligible voter should have their voice heard and their vote counted. It is going to take longer to count the votes and verify a winner in this year’s election — and that’s okay. As we have seen throughout this year, more voters are casting absentee ballots than ever before in Wisconsin. Absentee ballots take longer to count because of security measures to verify the accuracy of those ballots. Plus, in Wisconsin, election officials cannot start counting absentee ballots until the polls open on Election Day. Election integrity is more important than results reported on Election night. We need to be patient so election officials can take the time to make sure every eligible vote is counted accurately. 
Have questions or experiencing problems at the polls?

Call or text the WI Voter Helpline at 608-285-2141 and you will be connected to a nonpartisan person who can help answer all your questions. You can also request services such as getting assistance at the DMV to get an ID to vote or having someone witness your absentee ballot.

Voters with disabilities have the right to an accessible polling place. This includes the right to use an accessible voting machine, to assistance marking a ballot, and to voting curbside. Call the Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline for assistance: 1-844-347-8683.

If you experience problems at the polls or have questions, there is help. Call Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) for support from nonpartisan election protection volunteers with questions or to report problems.
You should now have all the information you need to vote. Now do it! Let's go vote!


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

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


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Two Weeks Until Election Day: Exercise Your Voting Options

For Release: Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Early Voting (In-Person Absentee) Starts Today!

Make Sure You're Ready to Vote On or Before November 3rd

Two weeks from today is Election Day - November 3rd. But you don't need to wait until November 3rd to vote with early voting options by mail and in-person. Choose the option best for you and make sure you have a plan to vote. Then help every eligible voter to do the same.

Make sure you are registered to vote at your current address

Go to, 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 28 days prior to Election Day in order to register to vote in that election district or ward.
If you find out that you are not already registered to vote at your current residence, you can still register:
  • In your Municipal Clerk’s Office. You can register in-person in your municipal clerk’s office up until the close of business on the Friday before the election in which you are planning to vote. For the Fall election, the last day to register in your clerk's office is next Friday, October 30th. You'll need to bring a proof of residence document to complete your registration (this document can be shown electronically). You can find your clerk's office information here.
  • 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 Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID card has your current address, that’s all you need.

Examples of proof of residence documents are here. 

Casting an absentee ballot / Early Voting

Municipalities can begin early voting today, October 20th, and must conclude by November 1st. To find out where and when you can cast an early, in-person absentee ballot in your city/town/village, contact your local municipal clerk’s officeIn-person early voting dates and times vary by municipality, and you can see your options at MyVote by clicking on "Vote Absentee" and filling in your information. Then click on the "Find my local absentee options" button to see your in-person early voting options.
If you requested a mailed absentee ballot, return it as soon as possible. Track your ballot through the official ballot tracker on MyVote. You can also find if your clerk has designated drop box options to return your ballot. Go to MyVote, click on "Vote Absentee" and fill in your information. Then click on the "Find my local absentee options" button to see if your municipality has drop box options for returning your ballot. Otherwise you can drop the ballot off at your clerk's office. If you still need to return your ballot by mail, don't wait and do it today. 
If you haven't requested your absentee ballot by mail, it's best to choose another option to cast your ballot (in-person early vote or vote on Election Day). Your ballot needs to be returned to the clerk by Election Day, November 3. Don't risk not having your ballot not counted because it isn't back in time by making a late request. 
All you wanted to know about absentee ballots (from how to fill them out to how they are counted) can be found here in these short videos created by the Wisconsin Election Commission.