Six Things You Can Do . . .
1. HELP OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED
- Join the national movement to help overturn the disastrous U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. FEC (2010), which stated that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money to support (or trash) specific candidates. Nineteen states are already on board for amending the U.S. Constitution to proclaim that corporations aren’t persons and money isn’t speech. Let’s bring Wisconsin on board.
- Sign and download the petition here.
- Contact your legislators and urge them to support AJR11 and SJR9, calling for such a statewide referendum. Read more here.
- And urge your community to pass a resolution in favor of this constitutional amendment, as more than 140 communities in Wisconsin have already done. Read more about these local efforts here.
Iowa has found an easy and reliable way to achieve fair voting maps. For the past 35 years, career civil servants – and not the leaders of the party in power – have drawn the district maps there, with specific criteria that guard against partisanship and favoritism. It works well there. Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay and Representative Robyn Vining of Wauwatosa have introduced companion bills to adopt the Iowa Model for Wisconsin: Senate Bill 288 and Assembly Bill 303.
SB288 and AB303 would give us a fair, independent, nonpartisan way to do redistricting. Their bills are co-sponsored by five Republicans: Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay), Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz), Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville), Rep. Loren Oldenburg (R-Viroqua), and Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City). The bills would empower career nonpartisan civil servants at the Legislative Reference Bureau to draw the maps – and not the politicians.
- Contact and urge your legislators to support and champion nonpartisan legislative and congressional redistricting modeled after that used in Iowa, proposed this session as Senate Bill 288 and Assembly Bill 303. Read more here.
- Contact chairs of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection and Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections and demand that they hold public hearings on these bipartisan bills!
- Write a letter to the editor urging your local newspaper to publicly endorse these bills. (Sample LTE)
- Urge your county board to pass a resolution to approve a Fair Maps Referendum to allow voters in your county to voice their support of a nonpartisan process for drawing new voting districts in Wisconsin, if it hasn't already (counties not yet dark purple on this map).
- If you live in a county that is not also dark purple on this map, please tell your county board supervisor to help introduce and pass a countywide ballot advisory referendum to allow citizens to voice a direct vote in support of this important statewide reform. No more gerrymandering in Wisconsin!
- Write a letter to the editor urging county board support for a Fair Maps resolution. (Sample LTE)
- Sign the petition to End Gerrymandering in Wisconsin. Download a printable copy.
3. SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN INTEGRITY PACKAGE
Contact and tell your legislators to co-sponsor and champion the meaningful campaign finance reform bills under the lead of State Senator Chris Larson, which would ban corporations from donating to political parties, reduce by half the total amount of money individuals may contribute to candidates, and force dark money groups to disclose who their donors are. Read more here: 2019-20 Campaign Integrity Package
4. MAKE IT EASIER, NOT HARDER, TO VOTE
Contact and tell your legislators to expand the franchise rather than making it harder for people to vote. Urge them to adopt automatic voter registration (AVR) introduced this session Senate Bill 293/Assembly Bill 309 and also as part of the Voter's Bill of Rights, SB159. Ten states and the District of Colombia already have AVR: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia. Any citizen who gets a driver’s license, for instance, is automatically put on the voter rolls. A person may “opt out" of DOT's transfer of your information to the state Elections Commission.
5. REENFRANCHISE THE FORMERLY INCARCERATED
- Ask that they co-sponsor the Prison Gerrymandering Elimination Act, AB400 that restores the right to vote to those no longer incarcerated following a felony conviction. In two states (Maine and Vermont), people behind bars can vote today. But in many states, like Wisconsin, people can’t vote even after they are let out of jail or prison – not until they are totally “off paper,” which means they no longer are on probation, parole, or supervision. This has disenfranchised more than 60,000 people in Wisconsin. See more here.
- Ask that they co-sponsor the Voting Rights Restoration Act, SB348. Prison gerrymandering is when inmates are counted, for purposes of the Census, as living in the community where the jail or prison is located (largely rural) – and not as a member of the community where they’re from (largely urban) -- distorting the population and representation of those districts.
Demand public hearings on these bills to "unlock the vote."
Contact and tell your legislators to oppose the idea of an Article V Convention of the States to amend the U.S. Constitution as proposed in AJR77 and SJR57. This joint resolution is written even more vague and broad than previous session's efforts to call a Convention of the States. It would open up the door of any Convention of the States even faster and wider for a wholesale rewrite of our Constitution, thus jeopardizing our fundamental rights. Bill sponsors should not pretend this effort would somehow be "self-limiting." Read more here: WDC Opposes a Convention of the States--testimony before the Senate Committee on Insurance, Financial Services, Government Oversight and Courts.