Thursday, May 26, 2022

G.O.P. Dysfunction and Turmoil Over Wisconsin Elections Commission Entirely Predictable

Thursday - May 26, 2022




Fortunately, There is a Solution to the Problem -- 
Reconstitute the G.A.B.
 
 
The seeds of the chaotic turmoil and dysfunction among Republicans over the resignation of Republican Wisconsin Election Commissioner Dean Knudson yesterday evening were planted almost seven years ago in late 2015, when Wisconsin state legislative Republicans and then-Governor Scott Walker engineered the completely partisan destruction of the independent, non-partisan Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) and replaced it with the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) in a deliberate attempt to gain partisan control over the administration and outcome of elections in this state.
 
Now, because their plans to be able to dominate and control the outcome of elections has not gone quite the way they had hoped and expected, Republicans are engaged in the wholesale undermining and destruction of the WEC and in replacing it with a newly empowered, partisan office of Secretary of State whom they are betting will be occupied after November by a partisan Republican state legislator now running for that office.
 
Instead of moving ahead to try to cast greater doubt, uncertainty and out right manipulation in the administration of Wisconsin elections by undermining election administrators, clerks and WEC Commissioners by exerting even more hyper partisan control, Republicans should, return to the model that every single Republican State Senator and State Representative voted for in the Wisconsin Legislature in early 2007 -- the creation of the non-partisan, independent GAB -- which, instead of partisan appointments to the GAB Board to oversee Wisconsin's elections, ethics and campaign finance laws -- had six retired judges making sound decisions based on the law, not on partisan positioning and advantage that is currently the case.
 
The GAB, during the time of its existence from 2008 to 2015, was considered a model for integrity, independence and impartiality for the administration of elections in the nation. A return to the establishment of the GAB would go a long way toward re-establishing the trust and confidence of Wisconsin voters in our elections and our democracy.

--------------------------

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

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

Read More...


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Awaiting a Ruling on Return Absentee Ballots and Voting Drop Boxes

 
Wednesday - May 18, 2022


Green Bay drop box photograph by NBC26 10/23/20

Decision Will Tell Much About What Kind of a State 
and People We Are
 
 
​In the very near future, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to render its decision in a case that will determine how absentee ballots can be returned to election clerks and whether or not the use of safe and secure voting drop boxes, widely used during the 2020 elections in Wisconsin, will continue. The decision by the court could have a particularly significant effect on the votes cast by thousands of Wisconsinites with various disabilities who rely on other people to help them to complete the absentee ballot process and to either mail or personally deliver their ballots to election clerks in time to be counted.
 
The case originated last year when a radical right wing law firm in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), decided it could help Republicans win elections by making it more difficult to vote by absentee ballot and, in particular, to make it more difficult for people with disabilities to vote. WILL, which is largely funded by the ultra-conservative Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee, cynically calculated that more Wisconsinites voting by absentee ballot cast their votes for Democrats than Republicans and so by making absentee voting more difficult and outlawing the use of secure voting drop boxes which enabled absentee voters to return their ballots more conveniently, they could reduce the number of votes for Democrats and therefore ensure Republican victories in more elections.
 
Late last year, WILL sought out a conservative circuit court judge that would be sympathetic to their scheme and found one in Waukesha County, Michael Bohren. Bohren blocked the use of secure voter drop boxes for the April 2022 election. The question for WILL then became whether they could have voter drop boxes eliminated for this November's election. The case was appealed to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and then to the Wisconsin Supreme Court where a decision on both matters -- who can actually return or even put in the mail box an absentee ballot for a voter physically or otherwise unable to mail or deliver their ballot to the election clerk themself, and the use of voter drop boxes is expected by June.
 
This matter is attracting national attention and Monday USA Today and Gannett papers throughout the nation published this article about attempts to limit or eliminate completely the use of secure voting drop boxes throughout the nation. CC/WI was interviewed about the situation in Wisconsin.
 
The very troubling attack on Wisconsin voters with disabilities by WILL is explained and explored in this excellent Wisconsin Public Radio article. 
 
We can only hope that conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court will not view this case through the same partisan lenses through which they seem to view and decide so many important and critical matters concerning democracy, justice and equal protection under the law. We already know there are no limits on how far conspiracy theorists, election deniers, ultra-partisan political hacks and Trump-appeasers like Michael GablemanJanel BradtjenTimothy Ramthun and the lawyers at WILL may go to achieve their partisan objectives. What a majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court soon decides about how citizens who require to be able to vote by absentee ballot and to be able to have their ballots returned and counted in time for their voices to be heard, will tell us much about the kind of state and people we are. And about the future of democracy in Wisconsin.
 
What then can we do to be proactive about voting? You can make sure you are registered to vote. If you’d like to request an absentee ballot by mail, you can also apply now for ballots for the August and November elections to be sent to you. Make your plans to vote in this falls elections. All this can be done at MyVote WI (myvote.wi.gov).
 
Forward,
Jay Heck
 
--------------------------

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

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

Read More...


Monday, April 18, 2022

Wisconsin Supreme Court Embraces Hyper Partisanship and Polarization in Choosing State Legislative Voting Maps

 
Monday - April 18, 2022


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


Late on Friday afternoon, as families all over Wisconsin were making preparations for two of the most important religious observances of the year -- Easter and Passover -- or, just beginning what was hopefully a warmer, Spring weekend, the Wisconsin Supreme Court chose to release its shockingly unfair, hyper partisan, and completely misguided decision regarding the state legislative redistricting process and voting maps and set the stage for yet another decade of deeply polarized, undemocratic and unrepresentative state government in Wisconsin.

The four "conservatives" on the court committed an act of unprecedented radical judicial activism in selecting the ultra-partisan gerrymandered voting maps drawn in secret by state legislative Republicans less than six weeks after having chosen the less partisan, fairer voting maps submitted to the court by Governor Tony Evers.

The U.S. Supreme Court, on March 23rd had remanded Wisconsin's state legislative voting maps back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for additional information, explanation and possible slight revision saying that in expanding to seven, from the current six the number of majority-minority Assembly districts in Wisconsin, the Governor needed to show more evidence that his maps did not constitute a "racial gerrymander" and were fully compliant with the Voting Rights Act. This, Evers said he was willing to do. Another way to address the concerns of the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court about utilizing race-based redistricting might have been to revise only the majority-minority districts (all in the Milwaukee area) and reduce the number of them from seven in the Governor's plan, back to six. The rest of the state legislative districts drawn by Evers were not at issue and could have been left intact.

But in what may be remembered in our state as the "Good Friday Surprise Attack on Democracy," the Wisconsin Supreme Court chose another path. And it was the worst possible alternative. Conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn, who had led the court in choosing the Governor's redistricting plan because it most closely adhered to his "least change" (from the 2011 redistricting) directive, on Friday executed a 180-degree pivot, and chose the severely partisan and even more gerrymandered (than in 2011) Republican state legislative maps, dishonestly claiming the court "had no other choice." That declaration was as absurd as it was untrue.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court could have accepted and reviewed the additional evidence that Gov. Evers offered to provide about how he determined the addition of a majority-minority Assembly district in his redistricting plan. It rejected that offer. The court could have made some revisions to the composition of the majority-minority districts to address the concerns of the U.S. Supreme Court about a "race-based" redistricting scheme. It refused to do so. Instead, Justice Hagedorn joined conservative justices Annette ZieglerPatience Roggensack, and Rebecca Bradley in selecting the most unfair, hyper partisan redistricting plan available that is specifically designed to lock in absolute Republican control of the Wisconsin Legislature for the next decade and to achieve for the Republicans a veto-proof, supermajority in at least one of the two legislative chambers.

Some legal experts have said that there is very little or no precedent for a state or federal court to have made such a partisan, completely unbalanced redistricting choice as the 4 to 3 conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court made on Friday. There is no precedent for a court selecting a redistricting scheme that was legally vetoed by a Governor, ignoring that action, and then ramming it into effect, without any revision or compromise whatsoever. This will likely go down as one of the worst assaults on justice and fairness in the history of American jurisprudence.
 
Wisconsin Justice Jill Karofsky, a progressive, got it right in the dissent she wrote, and which was joined by progressive Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Dallet. Karofsky argued the court's majority had ignored a long history of racism in Milwaukee, one of the most segregated cities in the nation where Black residents have long faced racial disparities in homeownership, education, employment, health care and the criminal justice system. "The fault and responsibility to remedy this systemic segregation lies not with Milwaukee's residents but instead with the government and the society that perpetuated racial redlining and restrictive covenants," Karofsky wrote. "Those practices shaped Milwaukee and that history of discrimination cannot be undone by force of will alone."
 
The Governor's plan attempted to address and correct some of that disparity and injustice in expanding from six to seven the number of majority-minority Assembly districts. The Republican plan adopted by the court majority decreases to five, the number of majority minority Assembly districts and enhances racial disparity and injustice. Rather than address this issue and attempt to alleviate the problem as one might reasonably expect a fair and impartial state supreme court to do, the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted to wash its hands of any responsibility for this blight on our state. Instead, they exacerbated the problem.
 
Common Cause in Wisconsin has long advocated for and supported the adoption of a non-partisan redistricting process for Wisconsin based on our neighboring state of Iowa's 42-year-old non-partisan process with which, even with Republican state legislative majorities and a Republican Governor in power, earlier this year adopted non-partisan state legislative and congressional voting maps that were supported by almost every Democratic and Republican member in both chambers of the Iowa Legislature.
 
Contrast that process and outcome with Wisconsin's, which with this horrendous state supreme court decision, has once again earned the dubious distinction of being one of the most hyper partisan, polarized and unfairly gerrymandered state of any in the nation. And lest there be any question that this is simply a "Republican problem," it most definitely is not. Democratic legislative majorities with Democratic Governors this year rammed through hyper partisan, unfair state legislative gerrymanders in Illinois and New York every bit as egregious as the G.O.P. assault on fairness and democracy in Wisconsin.
 
The long-suffering citizens of Wisconsin clearly deserve much better than the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Wisconsin Legislature have been willing or able to deliver. We will continue our relentless pursuit of non-partisan redistricting reform for our state for as long as it takes to achieve it. It will be up to "we the people" to make the necessary changes to restore some modicum of liberty and justice for all of us. And we cannot and will not rest until we do.
 
Onward,
Jay Heck
 
--------------------------

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

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

Read More...


Friday, April 8, 2022

Actions You Can Take to Promote and Protect Democracy

Friday - April 8, 2022



WE Power - democracy is our common cause

You can continue to make a difference this year in Wisconsin to strengthen fair and free elections!


Thanks to each and every voter who participated in the Spring 2022 elections! Local elections have direct impacts on our lives, families, and communities. Thanks for using your personal power to make a difference and to enhance our right to vote.

Now, with our next statewide election just ahead in August, here are some exciting, upcoming opportunities for you to learn, explore, and help direct your citizen activism to preserve and protect our freedom to vote.


CALLS to ACTION (write to your government officials TODAY, which is easy to do with the Common Cause online writing tool)
  • The anti-voter legislative bills have been sent to Governor Tony Evers. He needs to veto these measures. Write to him today to thank him for defending our right to vote because he will need to act on these bills by early next week. Even if you have done this in the past on earlier voter suppression measures, it’s important that you weigh in against this latest assault on free and fair elections in Wisconsin. And it takes only a few minutes to construct and send out this important message by using this easy-to-use Common Cause letter writing tool.
  • Write to both your State Senator and your State Representative and demand a public hearing and then a vote on SB 389 and AB 395 in support of redistricting reform. While the Wisconsin Legislature has "adjourned" for the year to campaign for the 2022 elections, they could easily convene again in Extraordinary Session to consider and pass SB 389/AB 395. Demand that they do so - write to them today!


What's Undermining Our Courts? (webinar)

Common Cause Wisconsin Director, Jay Heck, joins a panel with Marquette University Law Prof. Edward Fallone and dark money expert Lisa Graves for a conversation moderated by former Wisconsin Public Radio personality Joy Cardin about how secret, dark political money and weak recusal rules are undermining our courts. The free, virtual event sponsored by LWVWI is this coming Wednesday, April 13 at Noon.

Register for the Fair Courts webinar. The recorded event will be posted on the League's website and YouTube page.


Thank Election Heroes Day (online)
 
Join Common Cause Wisconsin, many partnering organizations, and voters across the state to thank our local clerks, poll workers, and election officials for all their work for ensuring Wisconsin elections are secure, fair, free and accessible. Send your clerk a letter, email or message via social media on Tuesday, April 12 -- "Thank Election Heroes Day." Let's all come together to thank our election workers and let them know how grateful we are that they count every vote and protect our freedom to vote. A little kindness from you goes a long way toward making democracy better!
 
You can find your clerk's contact information at MyVote.wi.gov

 
VoteRiders Voter ID Clinic/10th Anniversary Party (in person event)
  
On Tuesday, April 19 at 3:00 pm CT, Vote Riders will be kicking off our first Wisconsin Voter ID Clinic for 2022 in Milwaukee! Join them to celebrate 10 years and for ID clinic to give for assistance with IDs, Social Security Cards, Birth Certificates, and more! Refreshments will be served.

Milwaukee Public Library - Central Branch
Rotary Club of Milwaukee Community Room
814 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, 53233
 
Contact Nick Ramos, Vote Rider WI Voter ID Coalition Coordinator for more information.


Prepare NOW to VOTE in August and November 2022 Elections! (vote by absentee ballot or on Election Day)

If you have moved and/or need to update your voter registration, there's no better time than right now to do that so you're ready for the next election. Go to MyVote.wi.gov and enter your address information or contact your municipal clerk. You can find more voting information at the Common Cause Wisconsin website including resources for how to get assistance and answers for your election questions.


Please take action now and participate in one or more of these opportunities to move your civic engagement from beyond just the voting booth.

Stay involved. Stay encouraged. Stay connected!

Your active engagement makes our democracy stronger and preserves our freedom to vote and have our voices heard.

Thanks, and all best to you,
Jay Heck
 
--------------------------

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

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

Read More...


Tuesday, April 5, 2022

What You Need to Know for Today's Election

Tuesday - April 5, 2022



Make time today to vote in the 2022 Spring Election - Tuesday, April 5, 2022 - and strengthen democracy by participating in our time-honored and tested selection process. If you haven't yet voted by casting an absentee ballot, then here is how you can vote in-person today. Remember, every election matters. Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
 
The Wisconsin Election Commission put out this guidance to all voters for this election: Things to Know for the April 5, 2022 Spring Election.
 
Mail-in Absentee Ballot
If you still 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 by 8PMDo NOT mail it. All ballots need to be received no later than 8pm on Election Day. Your clerk and myvote.wi.gov 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.
 
In-Person Voting at your Polling Location
If you are planning to vote in person at the polls, 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.
 
Polling Location
Polling places can change. In many communities, redistricting has occurred and where you vote now may be different than in the past. To find out where to go to cast your ballot, visit the Find My Polling Place page on the My Vote Wisconsin website and type in your address.

Registration
You can register to vote on Election Day at your polling location. 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 Bring It to The Polls to make sure you have what you need.

What if you don't have an acceptable ID to vote today? 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, April 8th). If you don't have an acceptable ID for voting and need help getting one, contact the Voter Helpline 608-285-2141 for assistance.
 
Your Ballot
You will find a variety of races on your ballot. These may include District Court Judges, City Council seats, Village President, County Board seats, Mayor, School Board seats and Alders. (Find out what is on your ballot at MyVote). These offices and the people who serve in these roles have direct impact on you, your family, and your community. Find out who who is running for these offices.
 
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.
 
College Students voting in Wisconsin
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 Do To Vote in Wisconsin

Have questions or need some assistance? 
Help is just a call, text, or email away.
 
  • 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, getting assistance marking a ballot, and using curbside voting. Call the Disability Rights Wisconsin Voter Hotline for assistance: 1-844-347-8683. Or email: info@disabilityvote.org. Additional online resources are also at the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition website.
  • Contact Vote Riders if you need immediate assistance with a photo ID to vote. You can get free, in-state ID assistance ASAP from the online form.
  • 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.
 
Be involved in state and local elections. Democracy depends on you. Go vote! And share this voting information with others today.
 
--------------------------

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

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

Read More...


Thursday, March 31, 2022

In the News - March 2022



Jay Heck on the courts and redistricting maps.
March 30, 2022 - Stan Milam Show, WCLO 1230am / 92.7fm

Early Voting Is Underway for the April 5 Elections in Wisconsin. Here’s What You Need to Know.
March 23, 2022 - Keya Vakil, Up North News

Drop boxes the only election change
March 22, 2022 - Steven Walters, Beloit Daily News

Editorial | Justice Hagedorn declares his independence
March 9, 2022 - Editorial Board, The Cap Times

Jay Heck on the WI Supreme Court adopts governor's redistricting maps
March 4, 2022 - Between the Lines with Greg Stensland, WFDL Radio

A win for Democrats, but still work to do with Wisconsin’s legislative map-making process
March 4, 2022 - Rick Solem, WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM

Problems with the Gableman Report on Wisconsin Elections
March 3, 2022 - Tim Kowols, Door County Daily News

Read More...


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Block Wisconsin Legislative Redistricting Plan May Require Only Minor Revision

Tuesday - March 29, 2022


Cartoon Illustration by Phil Hands - Wisconsin State Journal

Keep Pressuring the Legislature to Pass Redistricting Reform!

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) rendered a surprising and disturbing decision, rejecting the state legislative redistricting plan adopted earlier this month by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. It sent the plan back to Wisconsin for "reconsideration" and correction. It was somewhat unexpected because SCOTUS had recently rejected Republican legislative appeals to strike down redistricting plans adopted by the state supreme courts of North Carolina and Pennsylvania on the basis that such intervention would cause voter confusion by changing the voting maps so close to the upcoming 2022 elections. But SCOTUS did not apply that sensible reasoning to Wisconsin.

"It is unprecedented interference with Wisconsin's state maps after the administration of our elections (for 2022) has already begun." said Mel Barnes, a redistricting expert and attorney for Law Forward of the SCOTUS decision. The Wisconsin Elections Commission and local election clerks have already started preparations for this year's elections based on the state legislative and congressional districts approved by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The SCOTUS decision applies only to the state legislative (Assembly and State Senate) voting maps that had been accepted from Gov. Tony Evers and approved by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The congressional redistricting plan submitted by Evers and adopted by the Wisconsin Supreme Court were not affected by the SCOTUS ruling and cannot be changed. Those maps will be in effect for the 2022 election.

But the state legislative maps were struck down because SCOTUS determined that there was insufficient evidence cited in the Wisconsin Supreme Court-adopted plan to justify the creation of a seventh majority-black Assembly district in Wisconsin in the Milwaukee area, from the current six. Barnes and other legal experts have determined that the Wisconsin Supreme Court could possible remedy this situation and satisfy the concerns of SCOTUS by submitting in more detail, the research and legal rationale it utilized in determining compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the creation of an additional majority-minority Assembly district in Wisconsin. Or, it could possibly address SCOTUS concerns by revising from seven to six, the number of black-majority Assembly districts.

Such adjustments would not require the redrawing of the entire state legislative voting maps and the rest of the state maps could remain essentially the same with the revisions occurring only in the Milwaukee area in the majority minority districts in question. A similar, limited re-drawing of state Assembly maps occurred after the 2011 redistricting process in which two Assembly districts had to be revised but the remainder of the Assembly districts remained as majority-Republicans had drawn them.

Lawyers for the Republican legislative leadership and the even-more heavily G.O.P. gerrymandered plan passed by the Legislature (and vetoed by Gov. Evers) last year are asserting that SCOTUS should simply adopt their maps rather than those submitted by Gov. Evers and the Wisconsin Supreme Court. That's just outrageous and ridiculous, even. The concerns put forward by SCOTUS could be adequately addressed by making limited revisions to the current legislative voting maps submitted by Evers and the Wisconsin Supreme Court majority.

The Wisconsin Supreme can and must act very quickly. This week, even, so that preparation for the August partisan primary and November general elections can proceed.

There are other alarming developments to be wary of as well. Three of the seven current members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court have recently signaled a willingness to consider "permitting" the Legislature to pass gerrymandered redistricting plans through a process involving the utilization of a joint resolution, which would not be subject to a gubernatorial veto. Such an action, which the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled was unconstitutional in 1964, would permit majority Republicans to ram through another hyper partisan gerrymander unencumbered. But for the time being, that is not an active concern.

What is an active consideration and very clear, regardless of how both the Wisconsin Supreme Court and SCOTUS ultimately rule in the weeks ahead, is that the push for redistricting reform must continue during the remainder of 2022. It needs to be a prominent issue in the 2022 election and the adoption of a non-partisan redistricting process based on the system our neighboring state of Iowa has had in place since 1980, must be a front and center priority for all of us now, more than ever.
 
Legislation, with bipartisan support, to establish a similar process in Wisconsin, has been introduced in the last seven legislative sessions and has not received so much as a public hearing since 2009.
 
Here is what you can do: contact both your State Senator and your State Representative and demand that they support the bipartisan redistricting reform legislation introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature last June based Iowa's non-partisan redistricting process. Senate Bill 389 and Assembly Bill 395 is the "Iowa Model" legislation whose lead sponsors are State Sen. Jeff Smith and State Rep. Deb Andraca, who discussed the measures in this August 17th CC/WI webinar.
 
It is simple and very easy to use the tool Common Cause developed to write to both your State Senator and your State Representative and demand a public hearing and then a vote on SB 389 and AB 395 in the weeks ahead, before the 2022 election season kicks into high gear. While the Wisconsin Legislature has "adjourned" for the year to campaign for the 2022 elections, they could easily convene again in Extraordinary Session to consider and pass SB 389/AB 395. Demand that they do so!
 
Take less than a minute and do it now, even if you have before, because repeating your demand for reform is effective and necessary.
 
Thank you for your continued activism,
Jay Heck

🗣 TAKE ACTION 🗣

Demand that the Legislature meet in Extraordinary Session to pass SB 389/AB 395 and make the redistricting reforms that Wisconsinites want and need. Write your state senator and representative a letter TODAY. (This form makes it simple and very easy to make your voice heard.)
 
--------------------------

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

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

Read More...


Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Early Voting Begins Today for Spring Election!

Tuesday - March 22, 2022




How to be Sure You're Ready to Vote On or Before April 5th

Two weeks from today is Election Day - April 5th. And that means in-person absentee voting (also known as "early voting") begins today!  Therefore, you don't need to wait until April 5th to vote with early voting options by mail and in-person balloting. Choose the option that is best for you and make sure you have a plan to vote. Then, help every voter you can to do the same.

Make sure you are registered to vote at your current address

Go to MyVote.wi.gov, and enter your name and date of birth to check your current 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 to do so:

  • 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 this Spring election, the last day to register in your clerk's office is next Friday, April 1st. You'll need to bring a proof of residence document to complete your registration and this document can be shown electronically (the link to proof of residence documents is below). 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.


Casting an absentee ballot / Early Voting

Municipalities can begin early voting today, March 22nd, and must conclude by April 3rd. 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 don't see any options, then contact your clerk for this information.

If you requested a mailed absentee ballot, return it as soon as possible by mail or by dropping it off at your clerk's office. Recently, rules for returning ballots have changed. Contact your clerk for specific information about ballot return. You can also track your ballot through the official ballot tracker on MyVoteIf 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, April 5th. Don't risk having your ballot not counted because it isn't returned in time, which could occur by making a late absentee ballot request. 

All you want 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. 


 And don't forget your photo ID

If you already have a Wisconsin driver's license or state ID card, then you're "ID ready." Just remember to bring it with you when you head to your polling place!

Check which other IDs are valid to use to vote at the official site: Bring It to the Ballot. Here you can also learn how to obtain a free state ID card to vote and review other ID information.


Are you a college student voting in Wisconsin? Or do you know a student who wants to vote in Wisconsin?

Here is important information from the Common Cause Wisconsin website to share:

Three Things College Students Need to Do To Vote in Wisconsin

Most students already have a Wisconsin driver's 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 which you may need to obtain:



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.


Questions or Problems? There's assistance available!

Registering to vote, having the correct ID, finding your polling place...None of these things need to be intimidating or frightening, but they can be somewhat overwhelming. Fortunately, help is just a call or text away!

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, have assistance marking a ballot, and being able to vote 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 readily available! Call Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) for support from nonpartisan election protection volunteers with questions or to report problems.

Make a plan to be a voter. And then go vote! There is still time to prepare and be voter ready however you choose to vote in this Election. But please participate. Your vote is your voice and it must be utilized to keep our elections free and fair.

All best to you,

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

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

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Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Urge Gov. Evers to Veto the Latest Batch of Voter Suppression Legislation!

Tuesday - March 8, 2022


Gov. Tony Evers vetoing anti-voter legislation in the Capitol - August, 2021


Your Voice is Vital to Help Preserve and Protect Fair and Free Elections in Wisconsin

You’re probably already aware that majority Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature passed yet another batch of shameful, anti-voter bills late in February. (Read Common Cause Wisconsin's testimony against the measures.)

They’re trying to keep alive their completely false and debunked conspiracy theories and lies about the 2020 election in Wisconsin and to further deceive and inflame their most extreme supporters, and others who have responded to 2020's record voter turnout with hundreds of dangerous attacks on our right to vote -- restrictions particularly targeted at shutting out from our democracy voters of color, college and university students and even elderly and persons with disabilities. And, they are trying to make it more difficult for all of us to be able to vote.
 
Fortunately, we anticipate that Gov. Tony Evers will veto these anti-voter bills -- but he’s sure to come under harsh and unfounded criticism from the far-right, Trump-aligned forces behind this nationwide campaign of voter suppression and deception.
 
That’s why he needs to hear -- loudly and clearly from us -- that if he is willing to stick up for Wisconsin voters and defend our rights, we’ll have his back. Can you write to him today to thank him for defending our right to vote? Even if you have done this in the past on earlier voter suppression measures, it’s important that you weigh in against this latest assault on free and fair elections in our state. And it takes only a few minutes to get out this important message by using the Common Cause letter writing tool.
 
Elections in Wisconsin can always be improved. And there is opportunity to accomplish this constructively and responsibly. That process must start from the premise that the 2020 elections in Wisconsin were successfully and remarkably well conducted and during the worst public health crisis in a century! Election officials, clerks, and poll workers performed extraordinarily well under the unique and extenuating circumstances of 2020. We must not overlook and diminish the very significant fact that, according to experts in Wisconsin and across the nation, the 2020 election here is considered to be among the most securely run and administered in recent state history.
 
Yet, during this legislative session, partisan and unjustified legislation has been rammed through the Legislature focused on how to make voting more difficult for voters and making the administering of our elections needlessly complicated for clerks and election officials. Instead of drafting positive and forward-looking changes that empower voters and clear up ambiguities in current law, the bills’ authors created bad public policy based on the false narratives and lies that have been disproven about the 2020 election. Even the legislation that have some reasonable provisions for improving elections -- for example including actual verifiable audits of the vote or making improvements for the maintenance of voter lists -- are tied to measures that harm voters, diminish election integrity, and would continue to erode voter confidence in our elections and democracy.
 
Here are just a few of the shameful attacks on our voting rights headed to the Governor’s desk right now:
 
  • A measure to make it more difficult for all of us to vote safely by absentee ballot – both to be able to receive and qualify for such a ballot, and to be able to return them and have them counted in elections. This would effectively disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters.
  • New restrictions that specifically target elderly voters and voters with disabilities, making it much harder to vote for those living in a residential facility, and robbing these Wisconsinites of the respect and dignity that they deserve.
  • The prohibition of vital sources of funding for election officials to be able to conduct safe and sufficiently staffed elections while creating burdensome and costly new requirements for election officials and not providing state government funding to replace the resources being denied county, city and municipal election clerks and staff.
  • A partisan power grab by Republicans in the Legislature to gain complete control over the Wisconsin Elections Commission which would further inject partisan bias and party politics into nonpartisan election administration that is run by experts and professionals, including our local clerks who are supposed to serve all voters and not partisan politicians.
 
These bills are an outrageous and anti-democratic attack on the voting rights of all Wisconsinites. And that's why Gov. Evers needs to hear from us that we, the voters of Wisconsin, urge him to reject all of these: (SB 213, SB 935, SB 936, SB 938, SB 939, SB 940, SB 941, SB 942, SB 943)
 
Thank you for writing your letter today -- and for doing your part and raising your voice to fight back against these misguided, politically motivated attempts to take away our voting rights.

On Wisconsin!

All best to you,
Jay Heck
 
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Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

Read More...