Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Urgent Call to Action: TODAY Reject 11th Hour Surprise Attack by State Senate GOP to Circumvent WI Supreme Court on Fair Maps

For release: Tuesday - January 23, 2024



Image: People rally for Fair Maps


Attempt to Pass Flawed Redistricting Legislation to Maintain Extreme Partisan Advantage in State Senate Today


Note: This is a variation of the statement issued by the Fair Maps Coalition of Wisconsin of which CC/WI is a member.

 

The urgent need for an end to partisan gerrymandering and to implement fair and representative state legislative voter maps in Wisconsin was never made more obvious and evident than what occurred in the Capitol late yesterday (Monday afternoon) at 4 PM.

 

Without any advance notification or warning, State Senate Republicans scheduled an extremely partisan, deeply flawed measure to change the way in which redistricting is undertaken in Wisconsin. No Democratic legislator was contacted or informed of the action to suddenly bring to the floor of the State Senate the Assembly Bill 415. No consultation with any of the fair maps public interest groups including Common Cause Wisconsin was conducted and no discussion with the Governor or with any member of the public at large occurred.

 

If State Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) was at all serious about supporting nonpartisan redistricting reform in Wisconsin, he and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) would sit down with Gov. Tony Evers, Assembly and State Senate Democrats and invite public input and negotiate for an agreement for fair and representative voting maps. None of that happened at all during 2023 and now, in 2024.

 

The fact that this legislative action was scheduled with less than a 24-hour notice and on the same day of the Governor's State of the State Address, reinforces that fact that the majority of Republican Legislators have not and are not acting in good faith. Not with the Governor, the Judiciary, and, most importantly, with the people they were elected and purport to represent.


The State Supreme Court, in their December 22nd decision, set out specific criteria for remedial maps that would meet state constitutional and federal voting rights requirements. The legislation and action by the Republican majority today seeks to circumvent that majority decision.

 

The unannounced and surprise action to bring this hyper partisan and fatally flawed redistricting measure to a vote in the State Senate today is a crass and misguided repudiation of the authority of the State Supreme Court. It is a desperate attempt by the Republican legislative majority to maintain their unrepresentative political power that has been sustained through 13 years of rigged, unfair and unconstitutional state legislative voting maps.

 

Any voting maps passed by the Legislature that do not meet the Court’s enunciated and constitutional criteria should be rejected by the Legislature--and, if passed--vetoed by the Governor. The State Supreme Court must continue to proceed to put into place remedial state legislative voting maps that are constitutional and best serve all of the citizens of Wisconsin.

 

Please contact your State Senator immediately today and urge them to vote against this desperate, 11th hour attempt to subvert the Wisconsin Supreme Court and to further undermine fair, representative democracy in Wisconsin!

 

Please take action now to help preserve the fight for fair voting maps in 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

Read More...


Thursday, January 18, 2024

Your 2024 Election To-Do List in Ground Zero Wisconsin

For release: Thursday - January 18, 2024


Image: I have a Plan to Vote. Do You?


What you can do now to be ready to vote in the 2024 election


In every presidential election year in the 21st century, Wisconsin has been front and center as one of the most closely contested, pivotal “battle ground” states that play a major role in deciding who is elected President. 2024 is no exception and may be even more important than ever because the margins determining who wins and loses Wisconsin have been closer here than in any other state.

 

Every vote really does matter and makes a difference in “ground zero” Wisconsin. Did you know that in four of the six presidential elections in Wisconsin since the year 2000, the margin of victory was less than 26,000 votes out of more than three and a half million votes cast?

 

Again, every vote is important and matters in Wisconsin!

 

It’s vitally important to prepare sooner rather than later for this year’s elections. We have many candidates, offices, and ballot questions that need your focus, consideration and participation in determining how Wisconsin and the country is represented and in carrying out the will of the people. Here are some things you can take care of now to make it easier on yourself and to ensure your vote will be counted during 2024.

 

 

☑ Check MyVote.wi.gov to see when you vote next.

Some (but not all) voters in Wisconsin will have an election on February 20, 2024. This is the Spring Primary election for important local elections for offices like mayor; city, village, or town council; alder; county supervisor; or school board. You will have an election only if the number of candidates needs to be narrowed for the General Spring Election in April. To see if you have an election in February go to MyVote.wi.gov and enter your address information. You will be given the date of the next election that you can cast a ballot and if you vote in February you can view an image of what will be on your ballot.

 

 

☑ Request your absentee ballots - for the next election or for all elections in 2024.

The Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) encourages voters who choose to vote absentee by mail to request their ballot as soon as possible, whether online or by mail.

 

You can request your absentee ballot at MyVote.wi.gov now for your next election or for all of the elections in 2024. Making your request early helps your clerk to prepare and ready ballots for you and the voters in your community when the time comes to mail them out.

 

As always, when your ballot arrives, be sure to follow the instructions and fill out your ballot and return envelope correctly. Double check that all the information on the return envelope is complete and correct. Then mail it back to the clerk in the postage-paid envelope as soon as possible and well in advance of the election date in which you are participating.

 

 

☑ Check your voter status and information.

Be sure your information is correct and up to date, especially if you’ve moved since you last voted. You can even update your address information online in just a few minutes. All this can be done at MyVote.wi.gov.

 

 

☑ Educate yourself about important election issues.

Our friends with the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition are presenting a Voter Education Lunch and Learn Series this year with valuable information for all voters. The first two webinars are coming up. Sign language interpreters will be available. Click the links below to sign up.

 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024 | 12:00 – 12:45 pm

Topics: Voter Registration and Absentee Voting

 

Monday, February 6, 2024 | 12:00 – 12:45 pm

Topics: Voting Rights and Why Local Elections Matter

 

Additionally, you can find voting information at the Common Cause Wisconsin website including resources for how to get assistance and answers for your election questions.

 

Important Information for College & University Students: Younger voters and those who are enrolled at a Wisconsin University, College, or Technical School can get the information they need to be able to vote from this Common Cause Wisconsin Student Resource Page. Please share the link with the student voters in your life. 

 

 

☑  Go above and beyond voting: Become a poll worker or election observer!

Your town, village, or city may be in need of poll workers for the Spring Elections. If you're looking for a way to make an important and meaningful impact in 2024, consider becoming a poll worker. It's one of the most important roles you can play to help ensure a free and fair election. Find your clerk and reach out to see if poll workers are needed in your municipality.

 

In 2024, The League of Women Voters once again is managing the important Election Observer Program throughout the state. They are currently recruiting Election Observer Volunteers for the April 2, 2024 Spring General Election.

 

Election observers make sure we have a fair election by monitoring the procedures at polling sites on Election Day. The volunteer shifts on Election Day for observers are flexible. Sign up to be an election observer even if you have a couple of hours to spend at the polls.

 

Once you sign up, The League of Women Voters will provide you with online training, a reporting form, a polling place assignment with flexible shifts, and an Election Day hotline number for questions or to report a problem.

Being an election observer is a vital way you can help maintain a strong democracy. Learn more and sign up to volunteer today! 

 

 

By taking a few moments now, to prepare for the upcoming February, April, August and November 2024 elections you can ensure that your vote will be counted and your voice will be heard. Wisconsin voters and our votes play a pivotal role, not only determining the outcome of Wisconsin elections, but in the nation at large. Embrace this important responsibility and stand up for democracy and for free and fair elections.

 

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

Read More...


Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Fairer Voting Maps Process Moving Rapidly Forward in 2024

For release: Tuesday - January 9, 2024


Image: Entrance to the Wisconsin Supreme Court Chamber. Photo E Grunze


Wisconsin Supreme Court Decision to Overturn 2021-22 Redistricting Process


In what most Wisconsinites in the future will remember as a welcome holiday gift, the new, pro-democracy, pro-voter majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court on December 22nd issued a decisive, landmark decision that could likely result in state legislative districts and voting maps that far more accurately reflect the nearly even, 50/50 partisan divide that has long characterized Wisconsin.

 

The 4 to 3 vote by the court majority in Clarke v. W.E.C. declared the state legislative districts devised by Republicans during 2021-22 and ultimately selected by the previous majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court to be unconstitutional and that new districts must be drawn and put into place for the 2024 elections.

 

New state legislative maps must be submitted to the court by Friday, January 12th, and responses and reactions to those maps are due by January 22nd. Experts selected by the court must file written reports about the maps that have been submitted and, if those maps don’t comply with the court’s order, those experts will submit their own maps. And then by February 8th, all responses to the expert reports must be submitted.

 

The court will then deliberate and choose the maps that will be in place for 2024 by March 15th, at the latest. Those maps must then be entered into the Wisconsin voter database, which will take time and a great deal of energy and effort to accomplish before the 2024 election calendar commences shortly after that date. Then, legislative candidates will begin circulating nomination papers in the newly redrawn districts beginning on April 15th.

 

The primary basis for the majority decision is that 50 of the 99 Assembly districts and 20 of the 33 State Senate districts devised by the Republican majority in 2021-22 contain non-contiguous territory in them – essentially non-connected “islands” in the districts which are in violation of the Wisconsin Constitution. That is a much greater degree of non-contiguousness in state legislative districts than had previously been thought to exist by the vast majority of observers. And this is clearly a solid and necessary rationale for new district maps to be drawn for 2024.

 

The fact that contiguity is a state requirement for redistricting and not a federal matter also means that the decision in Clarke v. W.E.C. is less likely to be accepted and reviewed on appeal by the U.S. Supreme Court according to most legal experts, contrary to the recent assertions by Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos that the nation’s highest court will “have the last word” on the case. Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court has been neither consistent nor predictable in recent years so what they may ultimately decide to do is unknown. But for now, it would seem that the majority opinion of the Wisconsin Supreme Court will prevail and that new voter maps will be implemented this year.

 

The court majority made it clear that their preference would be for the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature to redraw the unconstitutional maps but also that they be not only constitutional but also that they must be maps that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers could agree to, approve and sign into law. But until such agreement occurs, the court has further ordered that “remedial” maps, drawn by redistricting experts it has hired, be put into place by the March 15th deadline.

 

Republican legislative leaders and pro-partisan gerrymandering conservative interest groups and their lawyers have appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to delay the issuance of new, constitutional voter maps, presumably until 2026 pleading “there isn’t time” for them to devise fairer, constitutional maps in time for the 2024 elections. But this transparently deceptive and less than truthful assertion will almost certainly be rejected by the court majority and the process will continue to move forward under the timetable set by the court and dictated by the election year calendar.

 

CC/WI is following the developments in this critically important legal and political matter very closely and, together with our allies and fair maps experts, will be analyzing the maps being submitted by many entities in the days and weeks ahead. We may even weigh in on what maps we feel are best suited and most fair for the voters of Wisconsin for 2024 and beyond.

 

For the first time since 2011 – nearly 13 years ago – fairer and constitutional state legislative district voting maps that more accurately reflect the will and political views of the voters of Wisconsin are in sight. We will continue to push for this fundamental reform not only for the critical 2024 elections but for future redistricting processes in 2031 and beyond.

 

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

Read More...