Monday, October 31, 2022

In the News - October 2022

Wisconsin Elections Commission staff expansion - interview with Jay Heck
October 20, 2022 - Greg Stensland, Between the Lines, WFDL fm radio

Ballot Drop Boxes: A Guide for the 2022 Midterm Elections
October 14, 2022 - Rachel Epstein, marie claire

Special session on binding referendum ends in a blink
October 6, 2022 - Tim Kowols, Door County Daily News

Preparing to Vote - interview with Jay Heck
October 5, 2022 - Greg Stensland , Between the Lines, WFDL fm radio


Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Just Two Weeks Until Election Day! What You Need to Know to Cast Your Ballot and Have it Counted. Your Vote Matters.

Tuesday - October 25, 2022

  Image: Your Vote Counts Yard Sign

Early Voting (In-Person Absentee) Starts Today!

Two weeks from today is Election Day - November 8th! However, you can cast your ballot for the November election now with early voting options by mail and in-person. Choose the option best for you and be sure you have a plan to vote. Then, help other voters to do the same. It is not an exaggeration to say that this election is one of the most important and consequential in our lifetime. Elections in Wisconsin are almost always closely contested and every vote matters!

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, November 4th. 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 before the election, you can still register at your polling place on Election Day - November 8th. 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, then that’s all you need.

Examples of proof of residence documents are here

Casting an absentee ballot / early voting

Municipalities can begin In Person Absentee Voting (aka, “early voting”) today, October 25th, and must conclude by November 6th. 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 office. In-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 drop the completed 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 8. Don't risk not having your ballot not counted because it isn't back in time by making a late request. 

Find more information about voting by mailed absentee ballot and ballot return from Common Cause WI here.

Finally, all you wanted to know about elections and voting in Wisconsin 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. Need help? If you or someone you know needs help getting a DMV-isssued Wisconsin ID, contact our partners online at VoteRiders or at 844-338-8743 (call or text).

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:

University of WI - 4-Year Schools
University of WI - 2-Year Schools
WI Private Universities and Colleges
WI Technical and Community Colleges

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. Wisconsin Public Broadcasting Systems also has candidate information at Wisconsin Vote. And take a look at your official ballot through MyVote before you cast your ballot.

Questions or Problems? There's help.

Registering to vote, having the correct ID, finding your polling place...None of these things have to be scary, but they can be overwhelming. 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, to have assistance marking a ballot, and 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. 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 and then go vote! There is still time to prepare and be voter ready however you choose to vote in this Election. Do your part to preserve democracy and ensure that your voice and vote matters and is heard and counted. Vote!


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

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


Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Wisconsin Elections Commission Must Be Strengthened

Wednesday - October 19, 2022

Additional Resources and Staff Required to Meet Increased Demand for Services

In late August, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) unveiled and put forward a proposal to add up to eleven additional staff members and an increase of $1.34 million in additional state funding in order to meet the vastly increased workload and demand for services that has occurred over the past several years.

The vote in support of this proposal was unanimous: 6 to 0. All three Republican and all three Democratic WEC Commissioners voted to forward this request to the Governor and the Wisconsin Legislature for additional funding in the upcoming 2023-24 biennium state budget. The Republican Chair of WEC, Don M. Millis of Madison, took the leading role in putting forward this common sense, non-partisan proposal.

In the wake of the 2020 election in Wisconsin, about which numerous false claims have been made that the election in this state was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump, there has been an astounding 800 percent increase in records requests made to the WEC and a 233 percent increase in election-related complaints filed with the WEC.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission and the Wisconsin Ethics Commission were devised and established by majority Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature and former Gov. Scott Walker in December 2015. The two commissions replaced the non-partisan Wisconsin Government Accountability (GAB), which had been established in 2007 in the wake of Wisconsin’s infamous Legislative Caucus Scandal of 2001-02.

Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) worked closely with former Republican State Senator Michael Ellis of Neenah to devise and pass the GAB and strongly opposed its destruction. Nonetheless, CC/WI strongly supports the bipartisan request from the six WEC Commissioners to enhance and strengthen WEC in the upcoming budget and urges the Governor and Legislature to do so as well.

“It is time to make the WEC strong, so we can have faith in our elections. More staff is needed to address the increased volume of records requests and complaints. All of the Commissioners have called for this action. Let’s do it!” said CC/WI Advisory Board Co-Chair Penny Bernard Schaber of Appleton.

Co-Chair David Deininger of Monroe added, “As a former member of the GAB, I was disheartened to see it abolished. But if the WEC is to be an effective overseer and administrator of elections in Wisconsin, it must be given the resources to effectively do the job the Legislature has given it.”


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

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


Friday, October 14, 2022

Updated Listing of Candidates Running for the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly Who Support Ending Partisan Gerrymandering and Redistricting Reform

Friday - October 14, 2022

  Cartoon by Jeff Parker for the Fort Myers News Press 

Candidates Must Be Pro-Active to Inform CCWI and Voters of their Position on This Issue (Second Follow-Up) 

In early September, Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) e-mailed every Republican, Democratic and Independent candidate for the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly in the upcoming November 8th election, inviting them to pro-actively contact us to inform us of their support for nonpartisan redistricting reform and if they wished to have their names listed publicly on our website


The day following the e-mail message to candidates, September 8th, CC/WI sent this release to inform the public of this initiative. In it, CC/WI invited citizens to contact state legislative candidates in their area to urge their support for ending partisan gerrymandering and to contact CC/WI to have their names listed publicly in support of nonpartisan redistricting reform and specifically legislation introduced in 2021 - Assembly Bill 395/Senate Bill 389. This is a comprehensive reform measure that is modeled after Iowa's highly successful, 42-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.


Then, on September 22nd, CC/WI issued this first follow-up release once again inviting state legislative candidates to inform us and the public of their support for non-partisan redistricting reform. Today’s release is now the second follow-up and third invitation to candidates to express public support for the “Iowa Model” redistricting process for Wisconsin. 


As of today, CC/WI has been contacted by 7 Wisconsin state legislative candidates for the State Senate and 40 candidates for the Assembly. Here is the complete, up-to-date listing of those supportive candidates that have proactively contacted CC/WI to have their names listed.


As we have done during every state legislative election year since 2014, CC/WI wants to make it simple and easy for Wisconsin voters and media to be able to see which state legislative candidates support the non-partisan redistricting reform embodied in the "Iowa Plan" by providing a continually updated list of those candidates on our website.


Any statewide or state legislative candidate (or their authorized proxy) who supports the "Iowa Plan" and 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, even by letter to: Common Cause in Wisconsin, P.O. Box 2597, Madison, WI 53701-2597. Citizens can and should urge candidates to support non-partisan redistricting reform and request that they get their names on this list.


Candidates must be pro-active to have their names appear on this site! Even incumbent legislators running for re-election who co-sponsored AB 395/SB 389 during the last legislative session and previously must contact us to be on the list. Why? Because it demonstrates that they are paying attention and continue to support this reform issue. And, because it’s important for candidates for public office to take the initiative to inform voters about where they stand on important issues like ending partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.


The list of candidates who inform us of their support for the Iowa Model redistricting plan for Wisconsin will continue to be linked on our dedicated Common Cause Wisconsin webpage and updated regularly until the November 8th election. As a reminder, election clerks began mailing absentee ballots to voters requesting them on September 22, 2022. Candidates should contact CC/WI immediately while voters are casting their absentee ballots so that voters know where Wisconsin Assembly and State Senate candidates stand on this important issue.


Redistricting reform in Wisconsin is critical and necessary if we are ever to return to having a functional, less politically polarized state legislature that is responsive to the citizens of this state rather than to political bosses interested primarily in holding onto power. There is no question that an overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites want and support non-partisan redistricting reform. Now, we will find out which candidates of all political parties for the Wisconsin Legislature are willing to stand up and pledge support for it and for the voters of our state before November 8th.


Jay Heck


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

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


Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Wisconsin Voters Need to be Aware of Recent Changes Regarding Absentee Ballots for the Upcoming November 8th Election

Wednesday - October 5, 2022

Recent Court Decisions Restrict and Prohibit Some Absentee Ballot Procedures and Preserve One Other

During this past Summer, there were a number of rulings from Wisconsin and Federal courts that have affected how Wisconsin voters can cast their ballots for the upcoming November 8th election – particularly for those who vote by mailed absentee ballot. It is important for Wisconsin voters to be aware of these changes so that their votes will be counted and not discarded. 


Here is a summary of the changes: 

  • Drop boxes are no longer allowed for ballot return. You will need to return your ballot by mail or deliver your ballot in person to your clerk or clerk’s office by Election Day.  
  • Voters with disabilities can receive assistance with ballot return.  
  • Clerks will no longer be able to correct missing or incomplete witness address information. Be sure to follow the instructions provided by your clerk that are mailed with your ballot. Fill out all information on the ballot return envelope including the full address for the voter and witness.


Details and important information are explained in the following paragraphs. Remember you can contact your municipal clerk to get answers to your questions about these changes. Find your clerk contact information at MyVote.  

Voter Drop Boxes are Now Prohibited – In July, the Wisconsin Supreme Court narrowly voted 4 to 3 to prohibit the use of all secure voter drop boxes – repositories that were widely used in the 2016 elections and elections through 2021. During 2020 more than 500 voter drop boxes were used in communities all around Wisconsin. Drop boxes were barred from use for the August 2022 partisan primary in the state and will NOT be available for this November’s general election. 

Voters who vote by absentee ballot can use the U.S. Mail to send them, but should make every effort to do so before November 1, 2022 so that they arrive at their election clerk’s office before or on Election Day, November 8th. If they arrive after November 8th, the absentee ballot will not be counted! Voters can also return completed absentee ballots directly to their election clerks but must personally deliver that ballot to an election clerk or authorized proxy of the clerk at the clerk’s designated office. Unless you are disabled, you cannot have a friend, neighbor, spouse, or relative return your ballot. Also, ballots cannot just be “dropped off” at the office and, to repeat, secure voter drop boxes cannot be utilized and should not be available for use anywhere in the state. 

“Complete” Information of Witnesses is Required on All Absentee Ballots – In September, a Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge ruled that election clerks can no longer make simple corrections to the addresses of witnesses who must sign their names and provide their full and complete addresses on the outside envelope of all absentee ballots. Clerks may no longer correct that information themselves. The clerk can contact the absentee voter, and the voter or the witness can come to the election clerk’s office and make any necessary addition or correction to the address. But the clerk may no longer make those corrections, however minor and common sense they may be. 

Therefore, it is critically important that the witness to any absentee ballot must not only sign that envelope but also provide complete address information. This includes the full street address and the zip code. Both the absentee ballot voter and the witness should carefully review the outside envelope to ensure that the signature and complete address of the witness (and the voter) have been provided. Failure to do so could result in the absentee ballot not being counted. 

Disabled Voters May Have Assistance in Mailing Their Absentee Ballot or Having it Returned to the Election Clerk’s Office – In July, the Wisconsin Supreme Court did not address this matter directly when they prohibited the use of voter drop boxes. The WEC subsequently advised that disabled voters would have to mail their own absentee ballots or return them to the election clerk without assistance, which would have effectively made it impossible for many disabled voters to be able to have their absentee ballots returned. Fortunately, in August, a Federal Court intervened and ruled that disabled voters can receive assistance in having their absentee ballot mailed or physically returned to an election clerk’s office and that barring such assistance was a violation of federal voting rights law. 

Therefore, as has been the case in past elections, Wisconsin voters who have a disability may continue to receive assistance in both the mailing of their absentee ballots or in having the absentee ballot personally returned to an election clerk. 

Please see the Disability Rights Wisconsin resource for Absentee Ballot Return Assistance for the November 8th Election for more information and how to receive additional help and services.

If there is one thing all voters in Wisconsin can agree upon it is that the statewide elections this November are likely to be very closely contested. As in past elections in this state, every vote matters! Being familiar with recent changes to voting like these could mean the difference between having your vote counted or having it disqualified. Familiarize yourself with these revisions and share them with others.

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