Thursday, September 24, 2020

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

For Release: Thursday - September 24, 2020

Illustration by Phil Hands

 
During the 2019-2020 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 303/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 and 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 real and virtual) CC/WI and other organizations organized over 2019-2020 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.

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.

Go here to see which state legislative candidates, on the ballot in the upcoming November 3rd election, we know are supportive of AB 303/SB288, the "Iowa Model" legislation either because they co-sponsored the legislation as incumbent members of the Wisconsin Legislature over the past two years, or, through "pledging" to support it through CC/WI or through one of our coalition organizations.

Any state legislative candidate (or their authorized proxy) who supports the "Iowa Plan" not on the list and who 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 listCandidates should be pro-active to have their names appear on this site. Get in touch with us!

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

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 being scheduled by Governor Ever's "People's Map Commission."
Virtual hearings schedule:
  • Thursday, October 1, 2020, 8th Congressional District
  • Thursday, October 29, 2020, 5th Congressional District
  • Thursday, November 19, 2020, 3rd Congressional District
  • Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 4th Congressional District
  • January hearing date TBD, 7th Congressional District
  • February hearing date TBD, 1st Congressional District
  • March hearing date TBD, 6th Congressional District
  • April hearing date TBD, 2nd Congressional District
For more information about how to testify or watch these hearings go here.




CONTACT: 
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
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org

 

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Today is National Voter Registration Day

For Release: Friday - September 22, 2020



 
Get Your "Voting Life" in Order for November
 
 
You already know that this upcoming election is likely to be the most important and consequential in your lifetime. So much is at stake for all of us and for our children and for future generations.
 
Voting is our once chance to have a say -- equal to that of everyone else in Wisconsin and in the nation -- about the future for our families, our community, about the state of Wisconsin, and of the nation.
 
Use today to get prepared for the November 3rd Election by registering to vote (if you have not yet done so) and encourage others to register to vote today in celebration of National Voter Registration Day.
 
Did you know that one in four Americans aren't registered to vote? There’s a good chance that some of your family members, friends, or neighbors are included in that number.
 
And, we know one of the most effective ways to get these people to register is if they’re asked to by someone they know.
 

Help celebrate National Voter Registration Day by registering to vote, checking your voter status, and sharing with others information about how they can register to vote, too.
 
You can begin by double-checking that you are currently ready to vote by going to myvote.wi.gov.
 
Then -- and here’s the important part -- encourage people you know who live in Wisconsin to do the same. Voters who live outside of Wisconsin can use this Common Cause tool to find out their voter registration. Share this voter registration reminder with FIVE friends so they can make sure they’re ready to go for the November 3rd election.
 
As Wisconsinites, our right to vote is a privilege and a responsibility, and it’s never been more important to make our voices heard -- and encourage the people in our lives to do the same. Wisconsin will once again be one of the "decider" states because the vote here is expected to be very close again between the two major candidates for President.
 
But this is also a critically important election at every level - federal, state, and local, and we want all voters to be prepared. Even if you think you’re registered or have cast a ballot recently, verify your voter registration here.
 
And, if you’ve never cast a ballot before, this is your moment to take action so that you can do so. Voting is one of the most meaningful ways that you can engage in our democracy and have your voice heard and counted.
 


 
Also, if you know a student attending a college or university in Wisconsin, make a special effort to reach out to them about voting. Over half of eligible young voters (ages 18-29) do NOT cast a ballot. They need encouragement and accurate information to be able to vote in Wisconsin. Because it is not always easy, simple and straightforward here to do so.
 
We have important information available to share from the Common Cause Wisconsin website:
  
Most students already have a Wisconsin driver license or one of the other acceptable forms of photo ID for voting.
 
Students who do not have one of the other forms of acceptable ID for voting should look up their college/university on the appropriate list linked below to see if their student ID can be used as a photo ID to vote or if their school offers a special photo ID card for voting:
  
A serious and harmful global pandemic can't and won't stop us from ensuring that voters statewide have the information and resources they need to register to vote -- a critical component of a free, fair, and accessible election.
 
Get prepared to vote in Wisconsin today.
 
✅ Register to vote. MyVote.wi.gov
✅ Have a voter compliant photo ID so that your vote will be counted. Bringit.wi.gov
✅ Know what’s on your ballot. Vote411.org
✅ Learn what the options are about how to cast your ballot. Elections.wi.gov
 
Voting is the key to a healthy democracy. And that determines what your life will look like tomorrow and beyond.



CONTACT: 

Erin Grunze
608/256-2686 (office)
egrunze@commoncause.org



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


Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org

 

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Overwhelming Momentum and Support for Ending Partisan Gerrymandering in Wisconsin

For Release: Friday - September 9, 2020

 
Voters in 11 Counties Can Vote for Fair Maps Advisory Referendum on November 3rd.
 
 
Public support for ending Wisconsin's hyper-partisan gerrymandering of the state's legislative and congressional districts has never been higher than it is today -- and ever since the 2011 redistricting process, which was considered to be the most egregious and unfair of any state in the nation in that year, was rammed through the Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Scott Walker. The demand by Wisconsin citizens that there not be a repeat of 2011 in the upcoming redistricting process in 2021 has never been louder, more visible, more insistent nor more organized than it is right now, with less than two months before the November 3rd elections.
 
The 2019-2020 Wisconsin legislative session ended earlier this year with unprecedented bi-partisan support for redistricting reform legislation, based on Iowa's fair, non-partisan, highly effective and successful redistricting process. 2019 Assembly Bill 303 and 2019 Senate Bill 288 attracted five Republican co-sponsors in this session, four more Republicans than had ever supported it since 2011. They joined all state legislative Democrats as co-sponsors of this measure, which also drew the support of Gov. Tony Evers. But for the fifth consecutive legislative session, the Republican leaders of the Legislature -- Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester and State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, arrogantly refused to schedule even a legislative public hearing of these immensely popular and widely supported measures.
 
But, no matter. Wisconsinites long ago have been wise to Vos and Fitzgerald's "game."

Fair maps and elections that aren't rigged would threaten their power to exercise absolute dictatorial control of the political and public policy agenda in Wisconsin and render them clueless about how to win elections and public policy based on the merits of their ideas and policy prescriptions. They need an unfair, skewed system in order to prevail. But the citizens of Wisconsin, both Republican and Democratic -- and everyone in between and beyond -- are on to their scam.
 


 
Seven years ago, Common Cause in Wisconsin united pro-reform legislators behind this “Iowa Model” legislation. Not many Wisconsinites knew or understood fully at that time what partisan gerrymandering entailed and just how destructive it has been to basic fairness and democracy in this state by effectively silencing the voices of millions of Wisconsin voters in elections since 2012. But now, after seven years of intensive citizen education and high visibility information about this issue by CC/WI and our allies -- virtually every citizen of all political stripes grasps this issue and the need to have fair voting maps, not the rigged, partisan maps we have now. A Marquette Law School statewide poll found that 72 percent of Wisconsinites support a nonpartisan redistricting process for 2021 and that includes 62 percent of all Republican voters. Every day, we are increasingly winning this battle for the hearts and minds of Wisconsinites.
 
Grassroots citizen pressure at the local level has resulted in the passage of resolutions in support of the Iowa Model by more than three fourths (55) of Wisconsin’s 72 counties thus far, most of which voted “red” (for Donald Trump and Scott Walker) in the 2016 and 2018 elections. And that movement is gaining even more strength each day. We worked with our reform allies to get citizen referendums on fair voting maps on ballots in eleven counties to pass overwhelmingly on April 7th and now have won in all 17 counties that have held such votes!
 
Every time they have an opportunity to weigh in at the polling place, Wisconsinites categorically and overwhelmingly reject the Vos/Fitzgerald rigged, hyper-partisan gerrymandering scheme. On April 7th, there were advisory referendums in support of a non-partisan redistricting process, modeled after Iowa's system on the ballot in eleven counties: Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Oneida, Pierce, Portage, Rock, St. Croix, Trempealeau, Vilas and Wood. It passed everywhere it was on the ballot with overwhelming public support.
 
This November, another eleven Wisconsin counties: Adams, Bayfield, Brown, Crawford, Door, Dunn, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Rusk and Waushara will have advisory referendums on their ballot asking voters in those counties if they support ending partisan gerrymandering and support a non-partisan fair maps process like the State of Iowa's. There is no doubt that voters will overwhelmingly vote yes in those counties. Why wouldn't you? Please be sure that you do. Here is a recent article about the Fair Maps advisory referendum effort in Door County. It is representative of the Fair Maps offensive in every Wisconsin county.
 
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 being scheduled by Governor Ever's "People's Map Commission." The schedule for the virtual hearings is:
  • Week of September 21, 2020
  • Week of October 26, 2020
  • Week of November 16, 2020
  • Week of December 7, 2020
  • Week of January 18, 2021
  • Week of February 15, 2021
  • Week of March 15, 2021
  • Week of April 19, 2021
For more information about how to testify or watch these hearings go here.
 
 

 
 
Last month, CC/WI Board Chair, and former Wisconsin State Senator and Majority Leader Tim Cullen of Janesville, teamed up with former Republican State Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz to author this excellent guest editorial about the need for redistricting reform and adopting the Iowa Model for Wisconsin, that appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal. 
 
And also this Summer, the Wisconsin Examiner published this opinion-editorial by CC/WI Director Jay Heck about the ongoing deception that Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald have long perpetrated about the Iowa Model reform legislation and its constitutionality. 
 
Redistricting reform will occur in Wisconsin, sooner or later. Support for ending partisan gerrymandering is growing and Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin’s other statewide constitutional officers support it too. Republican support in the Legislature has increased and the issue is “front and center” for 2020 and 2021. Our task is to continue to advocate, educate, organize and keep pushing forward to get this done. And we will. We will never give in or quit in this fight. Nor will you.
 
Make ending partisan gerrymandering a top-tier issue when you vote this November!
 
On Wisconsin!




CONTACT: 

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




Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703
608/256-2686

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!
www.CommonCauseWisconsin.org

 

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