Friday, May 5, 2023

Clearer Rules Governing Election Observation in Wisconsin Are Needed to Enhance Public Confidence in Our Free and Fair Elections

For release: Friday - May 5, 2023


  Image: AP Photo / Observer at polling location 

CC/WI Working on WEC Advisory Committee to Formulate Rules

Election observers play an important and vital role in Wisconsin because they can serve as the eyes and ears of the public in the exercise of one of our most fundamental civic duties and rights as citizens – the right to have our voices heard and our ballots counted in free and fair elections. Election observation can serve to provide public confirmation of the validity and integrity of the democratic process by which citizens choose their elected representatives and other officials and help decide public policy matters that affect every-day life.
 

In recent years, a deepening partisan divide in our nation and state and the polarization of our politics, combined with the closeness of many elections, have made election observation by citizens more popular. While the interest in observing has grown over the past several election cycles, the lack of clear rules governing the conduct and behavior of citizen observers at polling places has sometimes led to confusion and disagreements. Clear rules from the WEC will help protect voting rights, help observers be able to better cooperate with election officials, and work for the benefit of the observers themselves while also preserving and enhancing access to the election process and help improve transparency, security, and confidence in Wisconsin’s elections.
 

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) unanimously decided that clearer administrative rules overseeing the election observer system in the state were desirable and necessary to help alleviate further misunderstanding and to promote greater public confidence in the election process in future elections.
 

Common Cause Wisconsin (CC/WI) was invited by the Wisconsin Elections Commission to join the advisory committee on election observation that convened on March 8th following comments CC/WI submitted to WEC in February. Erin Grunze represented CC/WI at the advisory committee meeting. Then, at last week’s regularly scheduled WEC meeting, WEC commissioners were able to review and discuss the details about the information provided by the members of the advisory committee. Additionally, CC/WI provided WEC with further comments and clarifications about the role of the election observer for last week’s meeting.
 

CC/WI has been a partner on Election Protection programs in Wisconsin for over the past ten years. Election Protection is important in order to conduct and maintain free and fair elections, especially in the face of more anti-voter laws and the additional barriers voters must now face to accessible elections. Election Protection programs and volunteers help voters navigate the voting process and ensure that voters can cast their ballots without obstruction, confusion, or intimidation. As a part of Election Protection programs in Wisconsin, CC/WI has recruited volunteer observers for several election cycles to be trained as election observers by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin for Election Day.
 

Developing clear rules and guidance are challenging tasks because the role of the election observer is directed and governed by state statutes and their observer role should not take precedence or be prioritized over the right and ability of the voter to be able to cast their vote unimpeded and with confidentiality and privacy. WEC needs to help promulgate rules that are specific about what election observers can do, where they can be positioned, and how they can interact with voters, poll workers and the chief inspectors at each polling place while respecting and minding the privacy and confidentiality voters have the right to deserve and expect. In addition, election officials need to be able to do their jobs to keep the election process moving smoothly and should not be impeded or disrupted by election observers. There is a precise balance that needs to be found between the observers, election officials, and voters. Voter confidence in the process and public confidence in our elections will increase only when there are clear standards that protect the rights of voters, ensure reasonable access for observers, and protect election workers. As part of the advisory committee, CC/WI is helping to shape the rules that will guide election observers to carry out their tasks at polling locations. 
 

At last Friday’s WEC meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to direct the WEC staff to draft an outline of rules for the advisory committee to provide recommendations and feedback to the six commissioners so they can prepare a final draft for the Legislature’s Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules to consider and enact in time for the rules to take effect in 2024. CC/WI looks forward to continuing our participation in this important process and wanted to inform you about the critical work being done to instill greater public confidence in the election process in Wisconsin.
 

Thank you for your continued support for free and fair elections and for the preservation and enhancement of our democracy.

 

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...


Sunday, April 30, 2023

In The News - April 2023



The Most Significant Election of 2023 with Jay Heck
April 14, 2023 - Greg Stensland, Between the Lines, WFDL fm radio

Swing-State Flip Gives Democrats Path to Sue on Abortion, Voting
April 5, 2023 - Alex Ebert, Bloomberg Law

The Spring Election with Jay Heck
April 3, 2023 - Greg Stensland, Between the Lines, WFDL fm radio

How Wisconsin Became Wild West of Campaign Spending
April 3, 2023 - Steven Walters, Urban Milwaukee

WI Supreme Court Race: Record Spending Leads to Reform Calls
April 3, 2023 - Mike Moen, Public News Service

'Avalanche' Of Cash Sets Record In Wis. High Court Race
April 3, 2023 - Jack Karp, Law 360

Read More...


Friday, April 21, 2023

Bipartisan Support for Strengthening State Elections Should Be Possible and Achievable in Wisconsin’s 2023-25 Biennium Budget

For release: Friday - April 21, 2023



  Image The Wisconsin Budget Logo 

Testimony of Jay Heck
Executive Director of Common Cause in Wisconsin

Before the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance

April 26, 2023
Lakeland Union High School – Minocqua, WI

(A copy of this testimony was delivered to the Members of the Joint Committee on Finance in advance of the public hearing on the state budget on April 26th.)

 

Chairs Born, Marklein and Members of the Committee,


I’m Jay Heck, the executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) – the state’s largest non-partisan citizen’s political reform advocacy organization with more than 8,000 members and activists in every county and corner in Wisconsin. We are pleased to be able to share our thoughts with the members of the Joint Committee on Finance for your consideration as you construct the 2023-25 biennium budget.


Wisconsinites from across the ideological spectrum should be able to agree that our election process needs to be continually improved and strengthened in order to ensure that all eligible Wisconsinites will be able to participate in and have full confidence in our state’s long tradition of free and fair elections. To that end, the state agency that oversees elections, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) deserves enhanced support to be able to continue to do its critical and vitally important job.


Last Summer, all six WEC Commissioners – Republicans and Democrats – supported a proposal to add ten full time staff members to WEC to handle an increasingly heavy workload, including an exponential increase in public records requests and inquiries about election practices and procedures during the last couple of years. In order for the WEC to be able to function the way the Wisconsin Legislature intended and the voters of Wisconsin have every right to expect it to, additional resources are necessary to meet these demands and for public confidence in our elections to be maintained and enhanced.


Gov. Tony Evers included the WEC funding request in his February budget proposal through the creation of the Office of Election Transparency and Budget within the WEC. The $2 million funding request (over the biennium) would also provide resources to improve audits on voting equipment, databases, and for the possible hiring of an outside consultant to review information for things such as voter lists. The WEC needs the necessary resources to meet the increased demands on their staff and to their workloads so that voters will have confidence in state elections.


CC/WI also strongly supports these other proposals in Gov. Evers’ budget which should be able to receive strong bipartisan support:

  • Enabling WEC to be able to reimburse counties and municipalities for costs incurred in the administration of special primary and general elections through a GPR sum sufficient appropriation.
  • Explicitly permit WEC training funds to be used to train municipal and county clerks on all aspects of election administration in addition to voter ID requirements.
  • Providing $400,000 for municipalities to purchase Badger Books which are an electronic version of the state voter list used to check in voters, process election day voter registrations and record absentee voter participation.
  • Modifying voter Identification requirements to comply with current court rulings and requiring the University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin Technical College System to issue identification cards that meet the revised requirements.
  • Providing $172,700 for the WEC to work with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) to implement automatic voter registration. WisDOT would be appropriated $349,000 in FY2023-24 to address one-time costs. “Red” states such as Georgia and West Virginia as well as our neighboring states of Michigan and Illinois have AVR. It is time Wisconsin voters do too.


All of these measures would help every voter in Wisconsin and merit the support of the members of this committee and of all legislators, regardless of political party affiliation. Our democracy and representative state government can exist only if our election system is free, fair and accessible to all Wisconsinites who are eligible to vote. We hope that the Joint Committee on Finance and the Wisconsin Legislature can set partisan differences aside and work with Gov. Evers to embrace and implement these improvements to our election system in Wisconsin. This state was once considered the model for free and fair elections in the nation. We can begin to move once again towards that exalted status by working together to support these measures.


Thank you.

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

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, April 13, 2023

Wisconsin After the Most Significant Election of 2023 in the Entire Nation

For release: Thursday - April 13, 2023


  Image Graphic Map of Wisconsin by The Washington Post 

Will We Move Forward, Backwards or More of the Same?

The April 4th State Supreme Court election in Wisconsin was portrayed in the national media and by political experts across the ideological spectrum as the most important and consequential election in the United States during all of this year. Given our state’s key position as one of the country’s most closely divided and hotly contested “battleground” states and the ramifications that the outcome of the election could have both nationally and -- even more critically -- for the lives of Wisconsinites, the national hype for this contest for ideological control of the State Supreme Court was justified and not over the top. It was by any measure, monumentally significant. 

Perhaps the most surprising outcome was the very big margin of victory -- better than 55 to 45 percent -- and over 200,000 votes more for Milwaukee Judge Janet Protasiewicz over former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly out of over 1.8 million votes cast. It was the second such massive repudiation of Kelly in the last three years. In 2020 Kelly was decisively ousted from the state’s highest court by current Justice Jill Karofsky of Madison by a similar double digit point margin. 

Voter turnout was very high and unprecedented for an April “off year” election in Wisconsin with nearly 40 percent of all eligible to vote casting ballots. Considering all of the roadblocks to voting both in person and by absentee ballot that have been erected by partisans seeking political advantage over the past dozen years, this very high voter turnout level was truly remarkable. And encouraging! Imagine how many more Wisconsinites could have their voices heard and their votes counted if we were still like our neighboring state of Minnesota, where voter suppression measures such as photo ID and other restrictions have been blocked. Fifteen years ago voter turnout in Wisconsin was on par with Minnesota’s, which has long been the highest in the nation. Now, we lag far behind the Gopher state. 

Voting Rights: A new, pro-democracy majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court may mean we can begin to move back toward where this state was prior to 2011 when the far reaching assault on free and fair elections was launched here. For example, conservatives on the court just last July in a 4 to 3 decision voted to senselessly eliminate the use of all of the more than 500 secure drop boxes across the state to which voters could more conveniently return their absentee ballots during the 2020 election and previous elections. And that same 4 to 3 conservative majority decided that election clerks would no longer be able to make common sense corrections to the addresses of witnesses who signed absentee ballots, likely resulting in many such ballots not being counted in the election. And that’s only the beginning of many such measures imposed on Wisconsin voters over the years designed to gain political advantage by making voting more difficult, burdensome and less accessible for hundreds of thousands of voters, particularly if they were judged to be more supportive of the political party not in power in Wisconsin. 

Redistricting Reform: Judge Protasiewicz, during her campaign for the Supreme Court, stated the obvious when asked about the partisan gerrymandering of Wisconsin state legislative districts in 2011 and then again in 2021-22. She said she believed that the voting maps designed in secret and rammed through the GOP-controlled Legislature along straight party lines were “rigged.” So did three other current justices on the court (Ann Walsh BradleyRebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsy) when the four conservatives on the court (Annette ZieglerPatience RoggensackRebecca Bradley and Brian Hagedorn) voted 4 to 3 to accept only voting maps that adhered to a legally dubious “least change” standard from the heavily gerrymandered maps of 2011. The court conservatives adopted the even more politically partisan gerrymandered Republican state legislative maps engineered by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).  But now, that result can, must and will be challenged beginning this August when Protasiewicz assumes office. 

According to the legal experts and pro-democracy attorneys at Law Forward, the legal challenge that will be filed shortly after August 1st will be based on the argument that the partisan GOP gerrymander of 2021-22 (and presumably 2011 as well) violated the Wisconsin Constitution in the way that it did not uphold the right of state voters to have a “free and fair (state) government” and because of the way “gerrymandered maps have consolidated power within a legislative body that is not accountable to the voters, and is not a free and fair government.” 

CC/WI has expressed a willingness to actively participate in this important litigation in whatever way is most useful and helpful to assist and elevate this critically important legal challenge. As the state’s largest non-partisan citizen reform advocacy organization with more than 12,000 members and activists in every county and corner of Wisconsin and 52 years of experience and expertise in this area, we are uniquely equipped to be part of this incredible opportunity to move Wisconsin toward fair voting maps that reflect the will of the voters of this state instead of the unfair, undemocratic and ultimately un-American vision and control of our state by likes of Robin Vos, Scott Walker and a host of other politicians who have not hesitated to do anything and everything to exercise raw partisan political power. 

Finally, beginning in August, we have an opportunity to begin to “tear down the wall” that has been constructed over the past dozen years in Wisconsin! 

In another victory for democracy and against partisan gerrymandering – this time at the grass-roots level (which is where all such battles are truly won) democracy activists in Juneau County, including long time CC/WI member, Dr. Leon Radant of Mauston, organized themselves, contacted their elected county supervisors on the board there and the board passed a resolution by a resounding 17 to 4 vote in support of having the Wisconsin Legislature adopt a non-partisan redistricting process (like our neighboring state of Iowa’s). This brings to 56, the number of Wisconsin’s 72 counties that have passed such resolutions. Radant and his allies are now seeking to have an advisory referendum question on the issue placed on the ballot in a future election where it would undoubtedly pass overwhelmingly, as it has every such time it has been on any county (red or blue) ballot – 32 times. This is just a spectacular achievement by Juneau County citizen activists and should provide encouragement to every Wisconsinite! 

Campaign Finance: The Protasiewicz – Kelly contest was far and away the most expensive state supreme court election in American history with upwards of $42 million spent. How could this be possible in only the 20th most populous state in the Union and with so-called “non partisan” elections for the state supreme court? The answer is that spending limits, public financing, transparency and prohibitions on allowing the corrupting influence of money in all of our state’s elections were deliberately and systematically stripped from our law in Wisconsin over the past 12 years. In interviews with the media conducted right before the election, CC/WI explained exactly what happened here and here. Campaign finance laws, spending limits, disclosure and transparency – all areas in which Wisconsin used to shine and lead the nation, have all been eviscerated and need to be constructed from scratch. This can and should be done, not just in Wisconsin but nationally as well. 

Is there a better way to select judges in Wisconsin? That has been looked at in our state in the past and it is time to do so again. The Brennan Center for Justice has these suggestions

Support for CC/WI: Finally, CC/WI wants to express its profound gratitude to Delta Beer Lab in Madison for their recent and amazingly generous contribution of just shy of $5,000 to CC/WI! This was a result of their reaching out to us and collaborating during the month of March on elevating and educating Wisconsin voters about the urgent need to end partisan gerrymandering and the necessity to participate in the April 4th Supreme Court election. The contribution was a result of tips collected during March and events, including a really wonderful and well attended “town hall meeting” at Delta on March 30th. Iuscely Flores, of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, joined the event with an update on the grassroots activism that continues to grow across the state in support of fair maps and then led the participants in an energizing game of Redistricting LoterĂ­a. The town hall event was incredibly lively and was one of the best such events I have had the privilege of being part of in my 27 years at CC/WI. Thanks so much to Pio, Andrew and Speedy at Delta for all of the amazing work they do to support democracy. And for their fantastic beer! What could be more Wisconsin than that? 

In sum, is Wisconsin moving forward, backwards or will it stay the same?  As a result of the April 4th election and after the active participation in our political process of so many of you who care and act to make our state a better place to live in, we can say we are definitely moving FORWARD!  We have a long way to go but we are, finally, moving in the right direction. 

Thank you and let’s keep it up. On Wisconsin!
 

Jay Heck

Common Cause Wisconsin Director


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

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 3, 2023

Tomorrow – Tuesday, April 4th is the Most Important Election In the United States of America in 2023!

For release: Monday - April 3, 2023


  Image: Inside the Wisconsin Supreme Court Chambers. Photo by J Heck. 

If There is Any Election that You Absolutely Must Participate In:

It’s This One! The Eyes of the Nation are Watching Wisconsin

It is not an exaggeration to say that if you are eligible to vote in Wisconsin, then tomorrow may be among the most important elections ever, in which you can cast a vote and make your voice really matter.

 

The New York TimesWashington Post and numerous other media outlets and political experts have all been reporting that the decision about who will be elected as the next Justice to the Wisconsin Supreme Court tomorrow will determine ideological control of our state’s highest court and with that issues such as the future of free and fair elections in one of the nation’s most closely contested “battleground” states in U.S. Presidential elections and all other statewide contests. That will have huge ramifications for 2024!

 

But there is so much more at stake as well. The Wisconsin Supreme Court will determine whether or not the ultra-partisan, gerrymandered state legislative districts (the most unfair and hyper partisan drawn districts devised in the country in 2011 and 2021-22) will stand as they are or, will be fairly adjudicated and possibly changed and made fair to more accurately reflect the will of the voters of Wisconsin. And the court will determine so many other issues that directly impact your everyday life including the right for women to be able to determine their own health care decisions and so many other matters that can shape and alter all of our lives.

 

How can you, your family, your friends and neighbors, and everyone you know NOT participate in this most consequential and pivotal state and national election?

 

And, in addition to the statewide Wisconsin Supreme Court election there may be – depending on where you are and vote – critical elections for local offices such as mayor, county executive, other judgeships, city council, county supervisor, school board and more. Your decision about who occupies these positions have a very real impact on your lives and on those of your family, friends and neighbors.

 

In short, you simply must and will vote tomorrow! There’s really no excuse not to.

 

If you haven't yet cast your vote via absentee ballot, then you must prepare now for how you will vote in-person at your polling place tomorrow.

 

Mail-in Absentee Ballot Return

If you still have an absentee ballot that was mailed to you and you have not returned it yet, be sure to personally hand return your completed ballot TODAY. Absolutely Do NOT mail it! All ballots need to be received no later than 8:00 PM tomorrow (Tuesday) 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 complete address of the witness, filled out by the witness.

 

REMINDER: Voters with a disability who need assistance may have someone return their absentee ballot.

 

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 on Election Day 

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 on Tuesday, April 4th.

 

Polling Location 

Polling places can change from election to election. To find out where to go to cast your ballot, visit the Find My Polling Place page on the MyVote 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 a Wisconsin Department of Transportation-issued ID card, then you’re all set. Selected other forms of ID work too, and it’s very important to check the official list of acceptable IDs at Bring It to The Ballot to make sure you have what you need.

 

What if you don't have an acceptable ID to vote tomorrow? You can ask for AND vote with a provisional ballot. But, for your ballot to be counted, you MUST either come back to your polling place with an acceptable form of ID before it closes at 8:00 PM on Election Day OR bring your ID to your municipal clerk's office by 4:00 PM the Friday after the election (Friday, April 7th). If you don't have an acceptable ID for voting and need help getting one, call or text the VoteRiders helpline 866-ID-2-VOTE for assistance.

 

Your Ballot 

You will find local and state races on your ballot. This will include the Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice and may include City Council, Village President, Judges, Mayor, School Board, and other offices. (Find out what is on your ballot at MyVote). These offices and the people who serve in these roles have a direct impact on your life.

 

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 Vote411There will be Statewide Referenda on your ballot: There are three statewide referendum questions on the ballot on April 4th, two of which will determine new amendments to the Wisconsin Constitution and the other purely advisory. This article from The Wisconsin Examiner does a good job of explaining what each of these measures would do.

 

College Students voting in Wisconsin 

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

 

Have questions or need some assistance? 

Help is just a call, text, or email away.

 

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 any questions you have or to report problems.

 

Voters with disabilities have the right to have ready access to any polling place. This includes the right to use an accessible voting machine, getting assistance marking and returning an absentee ballot, and voting curbside at a polling location. 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.

 

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.

 

Please be sure that you vote tomorrow (or that you have voted earlier) so that that your voice will be heard, and your vote will be counted. Encourage anyone and everyone you know who is eligible to vote in Wisconsin to do so. 

 

Or, urge them to register to vote at their polling place tomorrow and vote if they are not currently registered. Every single vote will matter and could determine the direction our state, and the nation will go in the months, years and decades ahead.

 

For free and fair elections and the preservation of democracy in our state and in the nation, On Wisconsin!

 

Forward,

Jay Heck

Common Cause Wisconsin Director

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

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, March 31, 2023

In The News - March 2023



Observing Ramadan in Wisconsin
March 31, 2023 - Royce Podeszwa, WPR

A High-Stakes Election in the Midwest’s “Democracy Desert”
March 28, 2023 - Dan Kaufman, The New Yorker

Jay Heck on Early Voting
March 23, 2023 - Greg Stensland, Between the Lines, WFDL fm radio

Advisory referendums dot statewide ballots
March 20, 2023 - Tim Kowols, Door County Daily News

How La Follette Helped Save Democracy
March 20, 2023 - Bruce Murphy, Urban Milwaukee

Common Cause's Jay Heck: 'The ramifications are huge' in Wisconsin Supreme Court election
March 8, 2023 - Nick Vachon, The American Independent

Read More...


Monday, March 27, 2023

Join Us at Delta Beer Lab in Madison for A Town Hall Meeting

For release: Monday - March 27, 2023


Image: Common Cause Wisconsin is Delta Beer Labs Nonprofit Partner of the Month - March 2023


Join Us at Delta Beer Lab in Madison for A Town Hall Meeting and Redistricting “Bingo” – Thursday, March 30th at 6:00 PM on Partisan Gerrymandering in Wisconsin!


Why the Upcoming State Supreme Court Election Matters for Fair Voting Maps 

 

Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) is partnering up with the great people at the Delta Beer Lab in Madison to bring you an evening of interesting discussions about the ill effects of partisan gerrymandering of Wisconsin’s state legislative and congressional districts on democracy and how it adversely affects the quality of your life. And, how the outcome of the nationally important Wisconsin Supreme Court Election on April 4th could dramatically alter redistricting for the better!

 

During the entire month of March, Delta Beer Lab is donating tips received in its taproom to CC/WI for our work to maximize voter turnout on and before April 4. We will all come together on March 30th for this exciting event!

 

 

WHEN: Thursday, March 30, 2023 at 6:00 PM

 

WHAT: “Town Hall Meeting” Presentation & Discussion (6:00 - 7:00pm) about Partisan Gerrymandering in Wisconsin and how the Supreme Court Election Could Effect It. Then, from 7:00-7:30 we’ll play Loteria – an easy and fun form of Bingo with a redistricting/gerrymandering theme!

 

WHO: Jay Heck, longtime Director of CC/WI and redistricting reform advocate as well as Iuscely Flores, Racial Equity & Economic Justice Advocate with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. And You!

 

WHEREDelta Beer Lab (167 East Badger Road, Madison, WI 53713 -- right off the Beltline, Rimrock Road Exit)

 

 

We are very much looking forward to seeing you on the 30th at Delta Beer Lab! Spread the word and bring a friend, family member or neighbor or just yourself. All are welcome!

 

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...


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

ARE YOU PREPARED TO VOTE IN THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN THE NATION DURING ALL OF 2023?

For release: Tuesday - March 21, 2023



  Image: Photo by REUTERS/Bing Guan 

EARLY IN PERSON ABSENTEE VOTING BEGINS TODAY!

For the last several months, Wisconsin and the nation have been focused on the upcoming state Supreme Court Election. You likely know by now how important this fast-approaching April 4th statewide election in Wisconsin is to elect a new Justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which will determine the ideological balance of the court and the direction the state will take in the years immediately ahead. The New York Times, Washington Post and other national publications and experts have described this Wisconsin judicial contest as the most consequential and important election in the entire nation during all of 2023! You do NOT want to miss having your voice heard and your vote count in this critical decision that will have a major impact on the lives of Wisconsinites and Americans nationwide.
 

This Wisconsin Supreme Court election is already by far, the costliest state judicial election in the history of the United States. More than $30 million will have been spent by both sides and by dark money “outside” groups to try to influence your vote before the votes are counted and a decision is rendered on, or shortly after April 4th. The ramifications of this election for Wisconsinites and for the nation was detailed by Common Cause in Wisconsin during this recent interview with the national publication, The American Independent. 
 

Again, the upcoming 2023 Wisconsin Spring General Election is in just two weeks from today -- April 4th. And today, March 21st, in person absentee voting (aka “early voting”) begins at your clerk’s office or designated site. Whether you are voting by absentee ballot or at your polling place on Election Day, here are things you can take care of now, so you are “vote-ready” for this election. Prepare for April 4th by reviewing and sharing the information below.

 

Statewide Referenda: There are three statewide referendum questions on the ballot on April 4th, two of which will determine new amendments to the Wisconsin Constitution and the other purely advisory. This article from The Wisconsin Examiner does a good job of explaining what each of these measures would do.
 

Remember every election matters, and state and local races have a direct impact on your daily life. These races may include, in addition to the statewide election for the State Supreme Court Justice: elections for City Council, Village President, Judges, School Board, Mayor, and County Supervisors and others. (Find out what is on your ballot at MyVote).The more local the election, the more likely the people elected may live in your neighborhood. Your vote matters greatly in our state and local elections.
 

Register to Vote: You must be registered to vote to cast your ballot in the April 4th Spring Election. You can register with your municipal clerk before Election Day or if you vote by absentee ballot during “early voting.” Or, in Wisconsin, you can register at your polling location on Election Day before you vote.
 

Secure your photo ID: Visit BringIt.wi.gov for more information about the types of ID that can be used to vote. Here, you can also learn about how to get a free ID to use for voting.
 

Choose the Way You Want to Cast Your Ballot: Make a plan to vote one of three ways that are available to all Wisconsin voters:


1. At your polling location on April 4th,
2. With an absentee ballot by mail,
3. Or in person by absentee ballot via your clerk’s office (aka “early vote”) beginning today, March 21st.
 

Go to MyVote.wi.gov and make a request for your absentee ballot to be sent to you by mail in just seconds. In Wisconsin, any registered voter can vote absentee - no excuses needed. Request your ballot for the April election TODAY. The sooner you make your request, the more likely you are to receive and be able to send back your ballot in time for it to be counted. Be sure to follow the instructions when filling out your ballot and double check to make sure the ballot envelope is complete, including your witness's name and complete address. Remember, if you return your ballot in person, you must return your own ballot! However, voters with disabilities can have assistance when returning a ballot. More information is here from Disability Rights Wisconsin.
 

You can also go to MyVote.wi.gov to get information about in person voting by absentee ballot (aka “early vote”) from your clerk prior to Election Day including dates, times, and locations. And you can find your polling location if you choose to vote in person on Election Day.
 

On Your Ballot: Get to know who wants to represent you and which candidates best represent your values before you vote. Find candidate and ballot information from the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin at Vote411 including ballot referenda that you answer with a yes or no vote. Many local papers across the state will also publish candidate interviews prior to the election.
 

Wisconsin's youngest voters should be preparing to vote too. Are you a college or university 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
 

Have questions or need some assistance? Beyond the resources of your municipal clerk, 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 (at no cost) to vote or having someone witness your absentee ballot.
     
  • Voters with disabilities have the right to an accessible polling place, including using 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.
     
  • Call or text Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) for support from nonpartisan election protection volunteers with questions or to report problems.


This upcoming election for a Justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court is the most consequential and important in all of the United States during 2023!

 

Absolutely, positively plan (and have a plan) to vote in this Spring's Election – on or before April 4th! Maybe more than any election in your lifetime, your vote in this election will help decide and determine the future for all of us.
 

On Wisconsin!  

 

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

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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

VOLUNTEER TO BE AN OBSERVER AT A POLLING SITE FOR THE ALL-IMPORTANT APRIL 4TH ELECTION

For release: Tuesday - March 7, 2023


  Image: Inside the Wisconsin Supreme Court Chambers. Photo by J Heck. 

OTHER INFORMATION YOU NEED TO ACTIVELY CAST YOUR BALLOT AND PROMOTE DEMOCRACY

By now you are undoubtedly aware of the critical importance of the fast-approaching April 4th election in Wisconsin that will decide a new and pivotal Justice for the Wisconsin Supreme Court and with that decision, the future direction of Wisconsin, and maybe of the nation. Also on that day, numerous important elections for local offices that have tremendous impact on your daily lives will occur and be decided. Here is a quick listing of some events and things you can do to be an active participant in the preservation and protection of fair and free elections in Wisconsin. Take a look now and decide how you can and want to get involved. And, there is also important information about voting by absentee ballot or "in-person" at your polling place for you to utilize and share with others.

 


Volunteer to Observe Polling Sites for the April 4th Election

 

Common Cause Wisconsin (CC/WI) is joining Campus Vote Project and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin in seeking nonpartisan volunteers to observe polling locations in Wisconsin that, in particular, serve college campuses and universities primarily with student voters. This is a critical and important task for this upcoming election and we need volunteers.

 

If you are interested in learning more and volunteering for the program for the April 4 Election, please sign-up through this form. Online training and Election Day support will be provided. Thank you!

 

 

Volunteer to Provide Rides for Voters in Milwaukee 

 

Souls to the Polls are looking for volunteers interested in driving voters to the polls for the April 4th Election in the Milwaukee area. Learn more and sign up.

 


Election Related Events

Monday, March 20 at 12pm - WI Disability Vote Coalition - The Spring Election Matters: Lunch & Learn 


Save the Date: March 30th at 6:00 PM - Common Cause Wisconsin and Delta Beer Lab - Townhall Meeting and Panel on Partisan Gerrymandering and the Wisconsin Supreme Court Election!  And come play a fun, instructive gerrymander-themed bingo game called Loteria and enjoy a Wisconsin beer!  All at Delta Beer Lab in Madison, located at (167 East Badger Road, Madison, WI 53713 -- right off the Beltline, Rimrock Road Exit). We will be providing further details on this fun event soon, so stay tuned!
 

 

Be Ready to Vote

 

The April 4th Election is underway! Make a plan and know how you will cast your ballot. These options are available to all Wisconsin Voters.

 

1. With an absentee ballot by mail,
OR
2. In person by absentee ballot at your clerk’s office or designated site (aka “early vote”),
OR
3. In person at your polling location on Election Day.

 

Go to MyVote.wi.gov and make a request for your absentee ballot to be sent to you by mail in just seconds. In Wisconsin, any registered voter can vote absentee - no excuses needed. Request your ballot for the April 4th election today. The sooner you make your request, the more likely you are to receive and send back your ballot in time for it to be counted. We suggest you make your absentee ballot request now to ensure you receive and have time to return your ballot for it to be counted.


You can also go to MyVote.wi.gov to get information like locations, dates, and times, about in person voting by absentee ballot from your clerk prior to Election Day (aka “early vote”) which happens for the two-week period prior to Election Day on March 21.


Finally, you can find your polling location if you choose to vote in person on Election Day. All polling locations across the state are open from 7:00 AM-8:00 PM on Election Day.

 

You can do all these things and more at MyVote.wi.gov including previewing your ballot, registering to vote, tracking your absentee ballot, and finding information on photo ID needed to vote in Wisconsin.


Get involved. Stay encouraged. Connect with other Wisconsin voters! Your active participation strengthens our democracy, preserves our freedom to vote and lifts up our voices.

 

On Wisconsin!  

 

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

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Tuesday, February 28, 2023

In The News - February 2023



Jay Heck on the WI Supreme Court Election
February 28, 2023 - Greg Stensland, Between the Lines, WFDL fm radio

Remembering Tony Earl: When a governor brought everyone to the table
February 27, 2023 - Tim Cullen, commentary, Wisconsin Examiner

Tony Earl, Progressive Former Governor of Wisconsin, Dies at 86
February 23, 2023 - Scott Bauer, AP via The New York Times

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tony Earl dies at 86
February 23, 2023 - Scott Bauer, AP via PBS

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tony Earl dies at 86
February 23, 2023 - Fox 6 News Milwaukee

Democrat Tony Earl, former Wisconsin governor, dies at 86
February 23, 2023 - Scott Bauer, AP via ABC News

Primary Election For Supreme Court Could Hold Major Ramifications For State Politics
February 20, 2023 - Nate Weghaupt, WORT Radio

A Wisconsin Supreme Court race holds high stakes for abortion rights and the 2024 election
February 19, 2023 - Tierney Sneed and Fredreka Schouten, CNN

Bipartisan vote tracking measure brings parties together on elections
February 13, 2023 - Ruth Conniff, Wisconsin Examiner

How Wisconsin's Supreme Court election could affect voting lines
February 10, 2023 - Rick Solem, WIZM News La Crosse

Abortion, gerrymandering top of Wisconsin State Supreme Court debate
February 10, 2023 - Tim Kowols, Door County Daily News

Voting experts to guide new Wisconsin poll watcher rules
February 2, 2023 - Harm Venhuizen, Associated Press

Read More...