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Vote, Don't sit this one out! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Russ for Wisconsin   
Tuesday, 05 April 2016 10:17

vote_todayIt's important to cast your vote for president, and voting in the other races is just as important! Every single vote will make a difference.

Spending the Weekend Watching the State of Wisconsin's Game Film PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Monday, 04 April 2016 13:20

walker-open-businessThe yearly nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) review of state agencies, known as the Single Audit, was recently released and like a football game film it's a good place to evaluate performance. You might say, after watching the game film, experts gave Wisconsin a failing grade.

Computer Systems Outage Limits Early Voting, Issue of Photo IDs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Assembly Democrats, Laura Smith   
Sunday, 03 April 2016 12:39

voteMADISON - An hours-long state server failure on Friday affected the Department of Transportation’s ability to issue photo IDs on the second-to-last business day before the April election. Many Government Accountability Board (GAB) voter-related applications also failed, causing outages for the local clerks throughout the state on the final day of early voting in Wisconsin.

peter_barca_160“It is unfortunate and troubling that these critical state computer systems were down so close to the April election," said Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). "I am deeply concerned that voters were inconvenienced or, worse yet, disenfranchised by these failures."

Wisconsin Republicans have put in place many barriers to voting in this state, including a severely restrictive voter ID law and limiting hours for early voting.

“I call for the state to make every accommodation possible to ensure that voters are able to obtain identification for voting and access the ballot box," said Barca. “Today I am joining my Democratic colleagues in demanding longer DMV hours this weekend to ensure voter registration and for Gov. Walker and others to lift the voter ID requirement for Tuesday’s election, given these deeply troubling developments.”

Rep. Barca also called for a full investigation and report from the Department of Administration and Department of Transportation on the outages.

Redistricting Joke is on Wisconsinites at April Fools’ Day Hearing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Assembly Democrats   
Saturday, 02 April 2016 12:10

voter-fraudOnly two of the six Republican members of the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections bothered to attend Friday’s hearing on redistricting reform, and no reporters were able to attend. Legislators pick their voters when it should be the other way around.

MADISON – State Representative Terese Berceau (D–Madison), the ranking Democrat on the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections, denounced the comments of the committee chair, Representative Kathy Bernier (R–Chippewa Falls) during an informational hearing on redistricting reform. Bernier labeled questions about the timing and purpose of the invitation-only hearing “divisive, hateful speech.”

Berceau also pointed out that only two of the six Republican members of the committee bothered to attend today’s hearing, and no reporters were able to attend. “I have to believe they realize this is an exercise in futility because Assembly Speaker Robin Vos publicly called redistricting a ‘non-starter’ and this hearing is being held weeks after the legislature adjourned its session for the year. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald also said he was fine with redistricting as is,” she noted.

jocasta_zamarripa“Since 2011, Democrats introduced a half-dozen redistricting reform measures,” Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) stated. “Majority Republicans refused to hold hearings on any of them. Instead they scheduled this April Fools’ Day farce, with no bill before us and no ability for members of the public to weigh in regarding the need for fair and impartial legislative and congressional districts.”

During the last redistricting process, controlled entirely by Republicans, private lawyers drew up new maps, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $2 million. Legislative Republicans reportedly had to sign secrecy pledges before they could see their new district boundaries. Bernier reacted testily to questions about the pledges, saying, “I will not hear any more divisive, hateful speech today.”

Studies indicate Wisconsin is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. Only a handful of legislators face competitive races. In 2012, Democrats garnered a majority of the votes statewide, yet captured under 40% of the seats in the Assembly.

“Under our current redistricting model, legislators pick their voters when it should be the other way around,” Representative Fred Kessler (D-Milwaukee) said. “Republicans stacked the deck so it is practically impossible to unseat most of the incumbent legislators. We desperately need to have an honest, serious look at establishing a standard for determining partisanship and also insure competitive districts. Unfortunately, today’s hearing fell far short of that standard.”

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