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. 


Thursday, October 8, 2020

How You Can Protect This Election

 For Release: Thursday – October 8, 2020

What You Can Do to Help Protect this Election

You can make a major difference for voters this year. Make sure EVERYONE in your community has a voice in this year’s critically important election on November 3rd - Sign up to be an Election Protection volunteer today!

Every eligible voter deserves to have their vote counted -- that’s the cornerstone of our democracy. And democracy suffers when eligible, registered voters are turned away from the polls, unable to find their polling place, or otherwise prevented from exercising their right to vote.

That’s why every election year -- and particularly this election on November 3rd -- we need to mobilize and activate nonpartisan Election Protection volunteers here in Wisconsin. These trained, nonpartisan volunteers serve as voters’ first line of defense against confusing voting rules, insufficient infrastructure, rampant misinformation, and needless obstacles to the ballot box.

You can be part of the solution. You’ll make a major, positive impact for your community, our state, and our democracy by signing up as an Election Protection volunteer.

There’s a role for everyone -- whether it’s helping voters from home, assisting voters safely in person, or tracking online disinformation. Sign up today!


Friday, October 2, 2020

How Wisconsin College and University Students Must Prepare to Vote On or Before November 3rd

For Release: October 2, 2020

Important Information You Need to Be Able to Vote

Now that classes are underway this semester and we are just about one month from the November 3 election, NOW is a good time for college and university students to make sure they are ready to vote in Wisconsin.

Common Cause Wisconsin has updated the information students need to be ready to cast their ballot this fall: 

Three Things College Students Need to Do To Vote in Wisconsin

Here, students will find straightforward information on how to register to vote and which photo IDs are eligible to cast a ballot in Wisconsin.

Students can look up their school on the lists Common Cause Wisconsin has compiled on campuses across the state to see if their current student ID is an acceptable form of ID for voting. If the student ID cannot be used for voting, find out if a separate school-issued photo ID card for voting is available and how to get one.

As of August 2020, the standard student ID at only five of the University of Wisconsin's thirteen four-year schools and at eleven of the state's 23 private colleges can be used as a photo ID to vote. 

So, if you don't have a WI driver license or one of the other acceptable IDs, know your options and look up your school today!

Note: you can use a school-issued ID for voting that is expired. If you do present an expired student ID, you must also present (or display electronically) at the polls a separate, current proof of enrollment document, such as an enrollment verification form, class schedule or tuition bill. If the ID is unexpired, then you do NOT need to present proof of current enrollment.

As we have in past years, we will continually update this resource as new information is received or changes. Share this link widely with anyone you know who is attending a college, university, community or technical school in Wisconsin!

Here are some additional voting resources for student voting in any state:

Prepare now, so your voter experience can go more smoothly when you cast your ballot. On Wisconsin!


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

Erin Grunze
Voting and Elections Consultant 

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

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