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Published On 7/13/2024
The La Crosse City Council elected not to fill its vacant District 5 with an appointment Thursday and instead will wait for a special election April 1.

The council seat was left vacant when UW-La Crosse student Jenasea Hameister graduated from the university in May. Hameister served on the council from September 2022.

District 5 is composed of UW-L grounds and is usually represented by a student living on campus. Classes at UW-L don’t start until Sept. 3, and council members must live in their district for 28 days to be considered.
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Published On 7/11/2024
Best practice recommendations include placing drop boxes in well-lit areas, recording when ballots are removed, reporting any damages

New guidance on how local clerks should secure and maintain absentee ballot drop boxes has been approved by the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The 6-0 vote comes days after Republican National Committee Chair Michael Whatley said the party doesn’t want “ballots going into drop boxes.”
Drop boxes are back in Wisconsin because the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s liberal majority reversed a near-total ban on the receptacles July 5. It was a reversal of the court’s previous conservative majority’s order in 2022, which said unsupervised ballot drop boxes outside a clerk’s office were illegal.
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Published On 6/28/2024
Attorney general’s opinion on new constitutional amendment suggests clerks won’t have to change the way they operate.

Wisconsin election officials welcomed a clarification from the state attorney general this week on the scope of a constitutional amendment limiting who can conduct elections. But some local clerks and legal experts aren’t convinced that it’s enough to curb confusion over the measure or the risk of disruptive lawsuits.
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Published On 6/24/2024
The state hasn’t had this many constitutional amendments on the ballot in 40 years as Republican lawmakers seek ways to curb the power of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

In less than two years, Republicans have put seven constitutional amendment questions on Wisconsin election ballots — including three that voters will see in the coming months.

That’s more than Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio in 2023 and 2024 — combined.
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Published On 6/20/2024
This summer, Wisconsin voters are in for a surprise.

When they go to the polls on August 13, voters across the state will see not one but two seemingly obscure constitutional amendments on their primary election ballots.

The amendments in question have huge consequences for the state’s ability to make effective use of federal funds, especially during emergencies, and for the balance of power between a Republican-dominated legislature and its Democratic governor.

Of equal importance, the vote will mark the first time in Wisconsin history that voters have been asked to weigh in on a constitutional amendment in an August primary. What’s going on here?
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Published On 6/10/2024
Let’s scale experiments across the country that are working.

Americans face the biggest test of their democratic foundation since the Civil War, but that’s no reason to feel helpless.

Across the country, states are playing their traditional “laboratories of democracy” role — often inspired by action in cities that law professor Joshua Douglas terms our democracy’s “test tubes.” If we can replicate the innovations of states and cities for chipping away at voter cynicism, there just might be a way back from the brink.
States and cities are responding to new and challenging democratic problems that didn’t exist before the digital age and weakening of civic associations and local media. And they certainly can’t revamp American democracy without significant scaling. But if we can harness the lessons learned, they can help move us in the right direction.
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Published On 5/10/2024
City officials have redrawn aldermanic districts in La Crosse to align with new state legislative districts.
To comply with state law, the city adopted the new aldermanic boundaries Thursday. Despite significant changes to state district lines, adjustments to city wards and districts were minor.

The Legislature passed Gov. Evers’ new legislative district maps in February, shifting various district lines throughout the state, including within La Crosse. Previously, La Crosse was mostly comprised of the 95th Assembly District. The new maps split La Crosse between the 94th, 95th and 96th Assembly Districts.
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Published On 4/23/2024
Disability Rights Wisconsin and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, represented by Stafford Rosenbaum LLP and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, filed suit in Dane County Circuit Court, seeking to address an absentee voting procedure that unlawfully discriminates against voters with disabilities. The lawsuit seeks an order enjoining certain Wisconsin statutes that block voters with disabilities from receiving, marking, and returning their absentee ballot electronically.
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Published On 4/17/2024
With seven new board members installed Monday following the April 2 election, the new-look La Crosse County Board selected Tina Tryggestad to serve as board chair. As several board members left their role as supervisors on the La Crosse County Board last Monday, new board members and new leadership officially took office at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. In a majority vote, Tryggestad was elected as the board’s chair, Kim Cable was re-elected as vice chair and David Pierce was elected as second vice chair.
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Published On 4/4/2024
Wisconsin’s Republican-led Legislature proposed changing the State Constitution to restrict private funding and staffing of election offices.

Voters in Wisconsin approved adding language to the State Constitution on Tuesday that will forbid officials from accepting donations of money or staffing to help run elections, The Associated Press said.
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Published On 4/3/2024
The La Crosse Tribune has provided a single link to all of its 2024 Spring Election articles. "Read More" will take you to that page of the Tribune.
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Published On 4/3/2024
The outcome of the La Crosse School Board race won't be known for another week. The La Crosse School District Board of Canvassers will meet Tuesday, April 9 to sort through the high number of write-in votes that were cast in the April 2 election. Only two candidates — Tim Alberts and Adam Manka — filed nomination papers for the three at-large seats, which triggered a flurry of write-in activity. Unofficial results with all 34 precincts reporting show Alberts with 6,035 votes, Manka with 4,433 and write-ins totaling 9,691.
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Published On 4/2/2024
Even after 100-plus years, the League of Women Voters still exemplifies the resilience and collaboration of the suffrage movement that gave it life. Suffrage trailblazers deftly employed social capital, aligning with abolitionists to champion voting rights and racial equality.
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Published On 2/19/2024
State lawmakers will run under maps with less GOP bias in November. Gov. Tony Evers has signed new legislative maps into law, potentially loosening the GOP grip on power in Wisconsin state government for the first time in well over a decade.
Evers’ signature effectively ends a years-long fight by Democrats to rebalance the political playing field in Wisconsin, where Republican-drawn maps have cemented lopsided GOP majorities in a state that otherwise has a penchant for close elections.
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Published On 1/13/2024
Republicans’ longstanding legislative majority would be reduced under most maps proposed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday, two weeks after the current boundaries were struck down as unconstitutional.

But Democratic legislative majorities aren’t very likely under any of the submitted map proposals, one of which the court will likely select for use in the 2024 elections. Most of the proposals would keep Republicans in charge of the Legislature, though some would give Democrats a possible path to legislative control if they secure a higher statewide vote.

The series of seven proposals arose out of a lawsuit brought by liberal firm Law Forward against the Wisconsin Elections Commission and Republican legislative leaders. In addition to Law Forward and the Republican leaders, additional maps were submitted by several parties that intervened in the case....
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Published On 1/12/2024
A Wisconsin judge ruled Friday that the state’s top elections official is legally holding her position and that the commission that appoints her is under no obligation to name a new leader, handing yet another defeat to Republicans who have tried to oust her.
The bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission deadlocked in June on a vote to reappoint Meagan Wolfe as the administrator of elections in the presidential battleground state. The three Republican commissioners voted in favor, but the three Democrats abstained to block the nomination from going before the state Senate because that would have then allowed Republicans there to fire her. Actions by the commission require a four-vote majority.
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Published On 12/14/2023
A bipartisan bill that would dramatically change how Wisconsin residents choose congressional candidates by asking them to rank their top choices instead of voting for one of two candidates had its first public hearing in the state Legislature on Tuesday.

The hearing comes just a week after opponents circulated a proposed constitutional amendment to ban ranked choice voting. It's unclear whether either measure has enough support to pass, but the movement shows the idea is gaining attention in the battleground state.
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Published On 12/6/2023
A partial settlement in the lawsuit requires the Republican false electors to abstain from acting as electors in future races involving Trump

A lawsuit against people who cast fraudulent electoral college votes for former President Donald Trump after he lost the state of Wisconsin in his 2020 reelection bid was partly settled on Wednesday, with the Trump allies formally stating their actions were "part of an attempt to improperly overturn the 2020 presidential election results."

The false electors also agreed they will not serve as presidential electors in future elections "featuring" Trump — the current frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
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Published On 12/3/2023
Ranked choice voting has become the latest political change touted as a way to strengthen democracy.

Instead of choosing one candidate, in ranked choice voting a voter picks a favorite candidate, a second favorite and so on.

According to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted after the midterm elections, more than 8 in 10 Americans feel there is a serious threat to Democracy in the U.S.

NPR's Miles Parks reports on whether ranked choice will live up to the hype as a cure-all for the country's deep partisan divides.
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Published On 11/22/2023
A lawsuit before the Wisconsin Supreme Court centers on whether the state's legislative districts are not contiguous and if they violate the Wisconsin Constitution's separation of powers doctrine.
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Published On 11/20/2023
Since the federal government formally gave Native Americans the right to vote in 1924 they have had to fight to use it.
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Published On 11/19/2023
Following a four-day trial, a US federal judge ruled on Friday that North Dakota’s 2021 legislative redistricting plan violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) because it dilutes the voting power of Native American voters. The case is in the US District Court for the District of North Dakota.
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Published On 11/5/2023
There are six Commissioners, with three Commissioners representing the Democratic Party and three representing the Republican Party. Commissioners make bipartisan decisions that drive the WEC's actions. They are responsible for ensuring elections comply with election laws, vetting candidate nomination papers, approving agency spending, creating administrative rules and more.

The WEC Administrator is Wisconsin’s chief election official and the agency's chief executive. The Administrator leads the agency’s non-partisan staff and carries out decisions made by the Commissioners.
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Published On 11/2/2023
The ads threaten to remove Assembly Speaker Robin Vos from office if he stands in the way of impeaching Meagan Wolfe

Republican lawmakers formally introduced a resolution to impeach Wisconsin's top election administrator Thursday, a move that came shortly after the start of a new ad campaign threatening to remove Assembly Speaker Robin Vos from office if he stands in the way of impeachment.
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Published On 10/20/2023
In its first public hearing, a bill that Republicans said would bring Wisconsin closer to a nonpartisan mapmaking model received sharp criticism Thursday from liberals who had long advocated for such a change but don’t trust this version.

Republicans, who have built an impregnable majority in the Legislature in large part through control of the maps, are motivated to adopt the plan before the newly liberal-majority Wisconsin Supreme Court rules on a lawsuit challenging the maps.
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Published On 10/9/2023
There is a real possibility that in 2023, the Wisconsin Legislature will vote on a bill to implement Top Five Primaries and Ranked Choice Voting to elect our Congressional representatives. In the last legislative session, there was bi-partisan support for such a bill, seven Republicans and 15 Democrats. The bill had a committee hearing, an important and promising step.

Currently, there is a national coalition of nonpartisan organizations including Democracy Found, Voters First, Veterans for Political Innovation and Bridge the Divide working at grassroots and “grass tops” levels. Their goal is to have five states pass FFV by the end of 2024. Taking a few lines from the Democracy Found website, This would “free ten Senators from the tyranny of the party primary. The ten Senators would likely be Democrats and Republicans, but they are now free to work across the aisle. As a result, they could form a fulcrum, a swing coalition, a bench of Senators to deal powerfully with the complex trad
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Published On 9/26/2023
Wisconsin could become the third state to elect members of Congress by ranked choice, if a renewed bipartisan push in the Legislature is successful.

The bill would create nonpartisan primaries for U.S. Senate and House races. The five candidates who receive the most votes in the primary, regardless of party affiliation, would advance to a general election where voters would rank their preferences.

The general election would be decided by a series of instant runoffs using voters rankings until one candidate receives a majority.
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Published On 9/14/2023
In response to the redistricting bill introduced by state legislators, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin is pushing for stronger, more staunchly nonpartisan solutions to our gerrymandered maps. Debra Cronmiller, LWVWI executive director, issued the following statement in response.

“The League and its grassroots volunteers have been part of a years-long effort to educate the public about gerrymandering and demand a permanent solution to ensure fair maps for generations to come.

“While we are happy to see legislators look into a potential solution for the current partisan map-drawing process, this bill does not meet the needs of Wisconsinites and does not have enough nonpartisan safeguards in place.
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Published On 8/27/2023
WI legislators from both parties endorse establishing an independent commission to oversee district maps.

Allowing politicians to draw their own districts is like allowing a fox to watch over the chickens. So why do we keep doing it? Those in charge of changing districts are the foxes, and they like it just the way it is.

It’s hard to blame politicians entirely. It’s just too tempting for foxes to draw lines that keep themselves in power.

It’s often said the goal of the minority party in the Legislature is to get into the majority. The goal of the majority is to govern. But what if the majority fails to govern? The voters will make a change, right? Not if the majority gets to determine district lines.
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Published On 8/26/2023
The Wisconsin State Supreme appears to be as polarized as the rest of the state. It is a sad statement to make. We have often stated that ethical leaders are truthful, transparent with public information, unifiers who work to represent their entire constituency. The actions taken by the court in the last 14 years have been moving away from these principles. It should be noted that at one time, the court had an established reputation for following these principles. In fact, in 1999, the court became one of the first state high courts — if not the first — to hold its administrative meetings before the public. Though not perfect, at that time the Wisconsin Supreme Court was working to serve as a role model for government.
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Published On 8/23/2023
Since the start of this year, I’ve been making the case that it’s time to renovate our democracy. But the very idea presumes several things. These include: (1) that constitutional democracy is good for human beings; (2) that we should want to keep and improve the one we’ve got; (3) that long-term work on the health of our democracy is worthwhile even as we face the near-term stress of a pretty unpalatable upcoming presidential election; and (4) that change is possible.


As I’ve been writing these columns, several questions have cropped up repeatedly that touch on those underlying propositions. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

https://wapo.st/3Pf2YAv
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Published On 8/11/2023
Rep. Van Orden welcomes House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn "GT" Thompson to WI's 3rd Congressional District for a Farm Bill Listening Session on August 16 at the Radisson Radisson Center La Crosse (200 Harborview Plaza) beginning at 1:00 PM CT.
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Published On 8/10/2023
The 2023 Farm Bill is the largest investment into agriculture conservation and rural communities in decades and farmers, ranchers, and foresters across the country are depending on these resources. USDA’s voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs enable producers to adopt practices that build soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also improving surface and ground water quality, increasing water efficiency, building resilience to drought and flood, creating habitat for fish and wildlife, and protecting agricultural lands for future generations.
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Published On 8/2/2023
The lawsuit comes 1 day after liberals took control of the court for the first time since 2008

A coalition led by progressive law firms and Democratic voters has filed a lawsuit with the Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn the state's Republican-drawn legislative maps, a move that comes one day after liberals took control of the court for the first time in 15 years.

The lawsuit argues the state's current legislative district lines, drawn originally by Republicans in 2011 and updated in 2021, violate the Wisconsin Constitution. It asks the court to declare them invalid and eventually decide on new maps.
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Published On 7/22/2023
One of the nation’s largest Democratic organizations has argued in a new legal challenge that Wisconsin’s absentee ballot rules — including witness signature requirements and the state Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling barring the use of absentee ballot drop boxes — violate the Wisconsin Constitution and disenfranchise voters.

The lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court against the Wisconsin Elections Commission, seeks to change voting rules in the pivotal battleground state ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
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Published On 7/20/2023
The state will spend $50 million to create a new literacy office, hire reading coaches and help cover the cost of new phonics-based reading curricula under a GOP-authored bill signed into law by Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday.

The Democratic governor said the bill, which aims to address lagging reading scores among Wisconsin students by increasing the number of reading-readiness assessments for students in 4K through second grade, is “a step in the right direction.” He added that additional K-12 spending on matters ranging from mental health services to school lunches remains a top priority.
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Published On 7/19/2023
Gov. Tony Evers today signed six bills, including Assembly Bill 321, now 2023 Wisconsin Act 20. The bill relating to literacy, drafted in coordination with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), makes several comprehensive updates to literacy instruction in the state designed to help improve reading and literacy outcomes for K-12 students.

“We have to ensure our kids have the reading and literacy tools and skills to be successful both in and out of the classroom. This bill, modeled after initiatives that have been successful in other states and fine-tuned with significant changes throughout the legislative process, is a step in the right direction,” said Gov. Evers.
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Published On 7/5/2023
Gov. Tony Evers has signed a Republican-drafted state budget that includes income tax cuts for most residents and a major increase in funding for K-12 education, more state aid to local governments and workforce housing. With his powerful veto pen, Evers spared 188 UW System diversity, equity and inclusion staff positions from elimination and eliminated tax cuts for the state's two highest income brackets.
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Published On 6/30/2023
Evers could use his powerful partial veto pen to change the next two-year state budget

Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly on Thursday passed their version of the next two-year state budget, which includes a massive income tax cut covering all taxpayers, including the state's wealthiest residents.

The measure passed on a 63-34 party line vote, after hours of impassioned debate that largely focused on the $3.5 billion income tax cut and a measure to defund programming related to diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, on University of Wisconsin campuses.
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Published On 6/29/2023
Maneuvering over the future of the current state elections administrator has ratcheted up in the Capitol as the state Senate’s Republican leader is vowing to move ahead with confirmation hearings and a vote on a nomination that Democrats argue doesn’t exist.

On Tuesday, the three Republicans on the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) voted to nominate Meagan Wolfe for another four-year term as the commission’s administrator, effective July 1. Without a majority of the six-member commission, however, the nomination failed.
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Published On 5/23/2023
Automatic voter registration and a crackdown on disinformation are among the changes.
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Published On 5/8/2023
A provision in the GOP-authored bill about funding local communities would do away with a tool advocates say helps the public communicate with elected officials.
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Published On 4/25/2023
Wisconsin’s public schools have fewer students in the classrooms. And since school funding is tied to enrollment, districts across the state are considering closing and combining schools.
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Published On 4/5/2023
The public has another opportunity to share their thoughts on the upcoming state budget with a listening session on April 10.

95th Assembly District Representative Jill Billings and two Democratic members of the Joint Finance are holding the session at the La Crosse Public Library at 800 Main Street at 3:30 p.m.

Joining Representative Billings is Rep. Evan Goyke and Rep. Tip McGuire.

In a statement announcing the listening session, Rep. Billings said, “It is important that people in the Coulee Region have a local opportunity to share their views on the 2023-25 Budget with members of the Joint Finance Committee. I appreciate my colleagues, Rep. Goyke and Rep. McGuire joining me in La Crosse to hear firsthand from residents in southwest Wisconsin.”
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Published On 4/4/2023
The town is testing a potential source for a municipal water system to replace contaminated private wells

It's been two years since the state Department of Health Services issued an interim drinking water health advisory for French Island because of widespread PFAS contamination found in private wells.
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Published On 3/29/2023
On March 22, the La Crosse Area League of Women Voters held a well-attended forum featuring the two candidates for Vernon County circuit court judge. We thank the Westby community for welcoming this event, as it was a wonderful example of how our democracy should work.
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Published On 3/22/2023
You never need to walk into an election booth feeling unprepared or wondering, “Who are these people? Should I vote for them? I don’t know them.” It's easy to be prepared.

Vote411.org is a non-partisan source for information about state and local candidates and issues on the April 4 ballot. The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area has partnered with the LWV Wisconsin to provide candidate information for state and local elections through a system called “Vote411”.
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Published On 3/3/2023
The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area extends our congratulations, sincere thanks and best wishes to River Valley Media Group Editor, Bob Heisse, on his retirement after 44 years of hard work in the newspaper business. We worked with Bob in several capacities and are grateful for his leadership at the Tribune.
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Published On 2/22/2023
The stage for Wisconsin's pivotal April Supreme Court election is set after Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz and former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly emerged as the top two vote-getters in Tuesday's four-way primary.

With 94 percent of precincts reporting as of 10:40 p.m., unofficial results reported by the Associated Press showed Protasiewicz with 46 percent of the vote followed by Kelly with 24 percent. Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow came in third with 22 percent of the vote, followed by Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell with about 8 percent.
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Published On 1/24/2023
The La Crosse School District's Board of Education voted Monday to close Lincoln Middle School. The board also unanimously approved adding an operating referendum of $60 million to the spring ballot.

The board voted 6-2 to close the doors of Lincoln Middle School on Aug. 31. Annie Baumann and Brad Quarberg were the two board members to vote against the closure.
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Published On 1/17/2023
Republicans rejected an effort by Democrats to add an advisory referendum on repealing Wisconsin's abortion ban

Republican lawmakers are poised to add two referendums to Wisconsin's April ballot in what Democrats are calling a blatant attempt to drive up GOP turnout for the state's critical Supreme Court election.

The GOP ballot questions include one introduced only days ago that would ask voters whether they support requiring adults without kids to search for work to receive welfare benefits. The proposal is an advisory referendum, meaning whatever the public decides won't change state law one way or another.

The other referendum — which would amend the Wisconsin Constitution — focuses on what judges can consider when they set cash bail, emphasizing the kind of tough-on-crime message that has formed the bedrock of conservative judicial campaigns for years.
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Published On 1/15/2023
A new Wisconsin Supreme Court justice will be elected this spring. This is a non-partisan position, but the extreme polarization that impacts other elected positions also impacts our court elections.

The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area will present Lisa Graves, founder and executive director of True North Research and president of the Board of the Center for Media and Democracy, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, via Zoom to discuss the impacts of dark money in judicial races and what solutions might be available to slow the flow of dark money. You can register for this public event at our website at lwvlacrosse.org.
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Published On 1/15/2023
Hurrying to put the question before voters this spring, the state Senate on Tuesday and the Assembly on Thursday are scheduled to vote on a constitutional amendment that would require courts to factor in defendants’ past charges and public safety risk in setting cash bail amounts for those accused of violent crimes.

Under the state Constitution, judges can’t currently impose cash bail to prevent future crimes, only to ensure defendants appear in court. Judges may, however, add conditions to a person’s bail that seek to address public safety concerns.

The measure, SJR 2, comes as states across the country reconsider bail laws, often in a move away from cash bail, though some of those states have since reversed those changes.
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Published On 1/4/2023
Have you wondered how Wisconsin has gone from being a conservation leader to a state that has failed to establish a basic standard for the contaminant PFAS in groundwater? The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area is co-sponsoring a virtual program on Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 6:30 p.m. that helps to answer this question.
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Published On 1/4/2023
There are so many candidates for the La Crosse school board this year, they’ll need a February primary to narrow the field.

Nine people have filed papers for the four seats that will be on the April ballot. That means just one contender will be eliminated in next month’s primary vote.

Six city council seats at stake in La Crosse’s April election

Another primary has developed in a La Crosse council race for Neumeister’s seat. Three candidates all filed papers for District 2 — Michael Davis, Jace Lippert and Erin Goggin.
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Published On 1/4/2023
When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade in June, it left the legality of abortion up to individual states. In Wisconsin, an abortion ban first enacted in 1849 immediately took effect, and legal abortion in the state virtually ended.

"It has been a really historic year," said Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin president and CEO Tanya Atkinson, reflecting on the changes made to the decades-long precedent of the right to an abortion.

It was an equally momentous year for people who oppose abortion.

"June 24, 2022, is the day that pro-lifers have dreaming for decades," said Matt Sande, legislative director for ProLife Wisconsin.

Looking ahead to 2023, advocates on both sides of the issue are planning to pursue further changes to the state's laws regarding abortion.
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Published On 12/5/2022
It was the final step to wrap up the November election. La Crosse County conducted an audit of its voting equipment. This happens after every election to ensure that the voting machines we used were working properly. Not surprisingly, they did. Not one discrepancy was found.
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Published On 6/24/2022
One state organization is establishing partnerships with groups in Illinois and Minnesota, where abortions are still legal

The U.S. Supreme Court released a decision Friday overturning Roe v. Wade. The landmark case made abortion a constitutional right within the first two trimesters of a pregnancy — when a fetus is unable to survive outside the womb. Now the legality of the health care procedure is up to states.
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Published On 6/23/2022
The US Supreme Court ruled 6 – 3 in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen that New York’s 100-year-old law restricting certain individuals from carrying concealed weapons in public places is unconstitutional, effectively weakening gun safety laws around the country.

The League of Women Voters of the United States, along with the Leagues of Women Voters of New York and Florida, represented by Cooley LLP, filed an amicus brief in support of New York’s law requiring New Yorkers to show proper cause before carrying concealed weapons in public places, including polling places. The Leagues argued that the presence of guns in polling places would intimidate voters from casting their ballots and demonstrated in their brief how the threat of violence has been used to prevent political participation — especially in communities of color.
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LWVLA Letters and Articles

Published On 11/27/2022
La Crosse County had one of the highest voter turnouts in Wisconsin. The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area (LWVLA) sees this as evidence that the civic health of our region is strong.

Voting is valued and protected in the Coulee Region not because of any single event, institution or marketing strategy — but because we collaborate, partner and educate as a community. It is clear to us that while our mission is specific to empowering voters and defending democracy, so many others contributed this year to making La Crosse County a leader in voting as civic engagement.

The LWVLA wishes to recognize all in our community who worked together to ensure and expand the freedom to vote in the La Crosse area:
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Published On 11/12/2022
As part of its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area (LWVLA) is sponsoring two events to explore the topic of implicit bias and how this can affect our relationships with others.

On Nov. 17, the LWV Wisconsin is hosting a webinar on “Implicit Bias Training — Empathy on Purpose.” This evening program is free and open to the public.
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Published On 11/7/2022
The La Crosse League of Women Voters has been “empowering voters and defending democracy” for nearly 100 years. A nonpartisan organization that focuses on ensuring every resident is informed about their right to vote, their motto is “Everyone Vote,” a charge they take seriously and literally.

To achieve that goal, the La Crosse league participates in various community events to register voters and educate them about upcoming elections. They also present in several venues, such as area postsecondary and high schools, the jail and APTIV, focusing on why, when and how residents can vote.

Chris Haskell is a member of the La Crosse league.
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Published On 10/6/2022
The mission of the League of Woman Voters (LWV) is to Empower Voters and Defend Democracy. We work to protect voting rights and ensure that all voters have equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote.

On Tuesday, October 11 at 11:30 am, the LWV of the La Crosse Area is sponsoring an online meeting to discuss efforts to get out the vote by young people, students, people with disabilities, and other community groups who face barriers when voting. The public is welcome to participate by registering at www.lwvlacrosse.org.
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Published On 9/26/2022
National Voter Registration Day is celebrated every year on the fourth Tuesday of September. Established in 2012, this day is designed to create an annual moment when the entire nation focuses on registering Americans to exercise their most basic right — the right to vote.
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Published On 9/18/2022
It has been two years since the last big election and A LOT has happened in that time! Did you know there’s a big election on November 8? Can’t vote if you’re not registered. Are you? Maybe, maybe not. If you’ve moved, married, turned 18 or WHATEVER -- you should check Wisconsin’s official voting website, MyVote.WI.gov, to be sure.

Tuesday, Sept. 20 is National Voter Registration Day, and the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area (LWVLA) encourages you to be ready to vote for this fall election. This day focuses Americans on registering to exercise their most basic right -– the right to vote.
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Published On 9/10/2022
For over 100 years, the League of Women Voters has worked to educate voters, expand participation, and give all citizens a voice through their vote.

The LWV of the La Crosse Area is confident that our regional election officials conduct transparent, accurate, secure, and fair elections. However, recent administrative and court rulings, proposed legislation, and misinformation are leading to citizen confusion and mistrust about voting in Wisconsin.

On Tuesday, September 13 at 11:30 a.m., the League is hosting the first of its monthly 2022-2023 Lunch and Learn programs to review voting and Election Day basics with area election officials. Nikki Elsen, La Crosse City Clerk, and Fortune Weaver, Town of Shelby Clerk, will review and update current rules about voter registration, absentee voting, and Election Day procedures.
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Published On 7/31/2022
Not sure who’s on the ballot for the Aug. 9 primary? Want to learn more about candidates? Wonder about the times for early voting? The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area (LWVLA) has partnered with the LWV Education Fund to provide candidate information for national, state and local elections through a system called “Vote411.”
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Published On 7/2/2022
The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area (LWVLA) is disappointed in the recent ruling of the Supreme Court relating to the reversal of 50 years of women’s rights regarding their reproductive health care decisions. The La Crosse Area League stands with our state and national organizations in supporting the right to privacy, bodily autonomy and reproductive health care choices, including abortion rights.
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Published On 3/25/2022
The LWV has a long history of connecting candidates with voters through candidate forums and voter guides based on candidate questionnaire responses. It is crucial that elected officials communicate and respond to voters so they can make informed choices that align with their values. This year, we are seeing a disconcerting trend where some candidates are claiming in writing that the League of Women Voters is a partisan organization and as such, they won’t participate in our efforts to inform voters on their candidacy or positions. We find this to be not only an inaccurate claim but a disservice to the voters of the La Crosse area, especially during spring elections which by design are nonpartisan elections.
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Published On 10/10/2021
In support of local engagement in criminal justice and policing policy, the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area (LWVLA) is sponsoring programs with area law enforcement leaders.
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Published On 10/10/2021
We hope that many Americans across the country will celebrate National Voter Registration Day on September 28 by getting themselves ready to cast a ballot.
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Published On 9/12/2021
Tuesday, Sept. 14, the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area is hosting the first of its monthly 2021-2022 Lunch and Learn programs with a focus on the La Crosse County Criminal Justice Management System.

Four members of the Criminal Justice Management Council – Judge Scott Horne, DA Tim Gruenke, County Board Supervisor Margaret Larson, and Professor Suthakaran Veerasamy -- will share their perspectives about the progress made in the past 10 years as it relates to diversion, inclusion, equity and transparency. They then will focus on the progress they would like to see in the next 10 years.
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Published On 8/22/2021
This is just one step toward better management and regulation of these “forever” compounds. The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area is therefore in support of implementing the new surface water quality criteria. We applaud the DNR for initiating this rule and urge the Legislature to allow DNR to continue in an expeditious manner as possible in drafting this rule.
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Ballot Referendums

Published On 3/21/2023
The race for a state Supreme Court seat isn't the only decision facing Wisconsin voters on April 4.

Wisconsinites are also weighing statewide referendums, including one — split into two questions — that could expand the use of cash bail. The other will gauge public opinion on work requirements for public benefits.
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Published On 3/19/2023
Amid revenue limits and lack of state funding, the La Crosse School District is turning to voters once again to help bridge the gap in school funding.

On April 4, residents of the school district will be asked whether they support a $60 million operating referendum to pay for increased teacher salaries, building maintenance costs, student programs, mental health services and technology improvements.

Superintendent Aaron Engel said the referendum is not about doing something new, but rather will help support the teachers and programs the district already offers.
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Published On 3/17/2023
Overview on the April 4 Bail Amendment. This amendment will appear on Wisconsin voters’ April 4 ballot. There will be two questions. The League urges voters to vote “no” on both.
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Published On 3/17/2023
The election is on April 4. Do you know what's on your ballot? This week we are taking a look at the Welfare Referendum that will appear on every Wisconsin voters' ballot. The League is urging voters to VOTE NO!
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Published On 2/22/2023
A proposed amendment to Wisconsin’s Constitution could have major effects on the state’s justice system, two criminal law experts told the Cap Times.

Last week, the Assembly voted 70-21 — with several Democrats joining Republicans in support — to advance a constitutional amendment that would make small tweaks to the state’s bail system. The state Senate will consider the same measure Tuesday.
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Published On 1/20/2023
La Crosse County voters will be asked to weigh in on one of the most divisive issues of our time: the legality of abortion. The County Board of Supervisors voted 16-10 to add an advisory referendum question about Wisconsin’s state law on abortion to the spring ballot.
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2023 Spring Election News

Published On 1/16/2023
Arguably the most important election in America in 2023 is the April 4 contest for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The winner will determine whether conservatives or liberals hold a 4-to-3 majority in a critical presidential battleground state.
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Published On 1/16/2023
A spring state Supreme Court race in Wisconsin has serious implications for abortion policy, voting rights and more in the perennial battleground.

Control of the Wisconsin state Supreme Court is on the ballot this spring, and the contest could decide the fate of abortion rights, redistricting and more in the critical swing state.
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Published On 1/9/2023
Over the next few months, Wisconsin’s Republican and Democratic parties, as well as outside political groups, will pour millions of dollars and thousands of hours in time into the April 4 race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The calculus is simple: Groups with a vested interest in the outcome of political fights to come, from abortion to redistricting, know that — regardless of what happens between the Republican-controlled Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers — they have a good chance of getting their way if they can get their preferred candidate on the narrowly divided court.
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Published On 1/4/2023
Jennifer Dorow, Daniel Kelly, Everett Mitchell and Janet Protasiewicz are facing each other in the Feb. 21 primary to run in the 2023 spring general election for state Supreme Court justice.
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Published On 12/1/2022
With a conservative justice set to retire, 4 candidates are vying

Four people so far have announced their plans to run for Wisconsin's Supreme Court in an election that could shift the top court's ideological balance of power.

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow became the second conservative to jump into the race when she announced her candidacy this week outside the courthouse where she presided over the trial of the Waukesha Christmas parade attacker.

Another conservative, former state Supreme Court Justice Daniel Kelly, is also running, along with two liberals — Dane County Circuit Judge Everett Mitchell and Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz.
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Published On 11/3/2022
The leader of Wisconsin's Supreme Court is raising alarms about threats against judges and other members of the legal system.

During an annual State of the Judiciary Speech Wednesday, Chief Justice Annette Ziegler referenced the June killing of 68-year-old John Roemer, a retired Juneau County Circuit Court judge.

Authorities said the alleged assailant, 56-year-old Douglas K. Uhde, died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound after invading the former judge's home and shooting Roemer. Udhe had been sentenced to prison by Roemer in 2005 for burglary.
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Published On 6/1/2021
Wisconsin, from statehood in 1848 to about a decade and a half ago ago in 2007, had a national reputation for having one of the most respected, impartial, nonpartisan, fair and trusted state court systems in the nation.

Much of this was because there was a generally held belief among Wisconsinites of all political persuasions and ideologies that the courts should be “above politics as usual.” In order to maintain the confidence of the citizenry, judges and justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court had to be scrupulously nonpartisan and impartial and not be perceived as having been compromised by outside lobbying pressure, campaign contributions or other political influence.
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Take Action

Published On 3/7/2022
If Ukranians are willing to assemble Molotov cocktails and die for their country, maybe Americans can bestir themselves to vote....
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Published On 5/19/2021
Please take 5 minutes to share your thoughts on voting bills that will make it harder for people with disabilities and older adults to vote. The Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition will use the survey results to show legislators how much these bills could affect people’s ability to vote. We are looking for responses from people with disabilities, older adults, and family members.
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Published On 5/7/2021
La Crosse County officials are hopeful to increase public participation in crafting its updated Comprehensive Plan in the coming months, launching a series of online tools where residents can weigh in and stay up-to-date on the plan.

The Envision 2050 Comprehensive Plan website was announced Wednesday by the county, stating that public participation is “key” in crafting the long-range plan that envisions a “sustainable and thriving” future for the county.
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Published On 3/8/2021
In the Opinion section of the La Crosse Tribune, Lee Rasch, Executive Director of LeaderEthics-Wisconsin, offers actions we can take to "help avoid the spread of misinformation."
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Healthcare News

Published On 9/30/2022
Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul is spearheading the legal fight over the ban while campaigning for reelection

Providers across Wisconsin stopped performing abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision this June in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

That's because a long-dormant Wisconsin law banning most abortions took effect following the overturn of a national right to the procedure.

But Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul is suing to block that state law.

Here's what you need to know about that lawsuit and how it could affect abortion rights in Wisconsin.
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Published On 9/28/2022
The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area (LWVLA) was founded in 1924, and since that time has acted as a grassroots nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to the civic health of the community. Its mission is “Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.”

To that end, the LWVLA recently launched its “Get Out the Vote Fall 2022” campaign to increase awareness about the upcoming Nov. 8 election for Governor and Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Senator, U.S. Congress and State Representatives, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, county Sheriff, school referendums throughout the county, and county Clerk of Court.
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Published On 9/21/2022
Proposal to allow for citizen ballot initiatives in Wisconsin would let the public pass laws on any number of issues

Protesters hold signs as they look up to the speakers.
Help inform our coverage by sharing your questions about abortion access and reproductive rights
Gov. Tony Evers unveiled a plan Wednesday that would let Wisconsin residents propose citizen ballot initiatives, calling the move a "pathway" to repealing Wisconsin's 1849 ban on abortion.
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Environmental News

Published On 11/26/2022
The town of Campbell will get a test well to aid in finding a long-term solution to remediate PFAS contamination and provide the island with a clean water source.

La Crosse County approved over half a million dollars for Campbell for the well construction and for research into long-term and safe water solutions.
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Published On 9/29/2022
Conservation group says actions shifting power from agencies to lawmakers have limited effective response to emerging threats

Wisconsin is failing to protect the environment and conserve natural resources as power has shifted from state agencies to the Republican-controlled Legislature, according to a new report from a state conservation group.

Wisconsin’s Green Fire claims legislation, court rulings and politics have undermined efforts to address threats to the environment since 2011. The conservation group, whose members include former Department of Natural Resources staff, highlighted challenges with drinking water contamination by PFAS and nitrates, along with degradation of the state’s waterways.
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Published On 4/6/2022
A divided Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated a Trump-era environmental policy that makes it harder for states to block projects that may cause water pollution. The unsigned and unexplained decision prompted Chief Justice John Roberts to join the court’s three liberal justices in criticizing the majority’s use of the emergency docket.

The court’s decision “renders the Court’s emergency docket not for emergencies at all,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote in dissent. “The docket becomes only another place for merits determinations — except made without full briefing and argument.”
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Published On 4/5/2022
La Crosse County voters made their voices heard on the only county-wide referendum, an advisory question on if the state should establish a right to clean water.
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Published On 3/24/2022
Biden proposes $11.9B budget for the agency

President Joe Biden is proposing the largest funding level ever for the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget. Wisconsin environmental groups and Great Lakes advocates say additional funding would help solve problems with aging water infrastructure, lead pipes and PFAS contamination.
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Published On 11/19/2021
After two years of work, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has abandoned efforts to protect drinking water from nitrate, the state’s most prevalent contaminant.

In 2019, the governor and the DNR’s policy board approved parameters for the agency to draft new regulations on the use of manure and fertilizer in areas of the state where groundwater is vulnerable to contamination.

The rulemaking process typically takes 30 months and requires signoff from the Legislature.

On Wednesday, the DNR informed its advisory committee that it is scrapping the effort, saying in an email that “the statutory process and associated firm timelines established by the Legislature do not allow adequate time for the department to complete this proposed rule.”
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Published On 8/22/2021
The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area is ... in support of implementing the new surface water quality criteria. We applaud the DNR for initiating this rule and urge the Legislature to allow DNR to continue in an expeditious manner as possible in drafting this rule.
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Wisconsin Courts

Published On 7/25/2022
The Wisconsin State Supreme Court issued a ruling earlier this month that open government advocates say deals “a body blow to the state’s traditions of open government” and encourages public agencies to work in greater secrecy.

In a decision earlier this month, the high court weakened the ability of public records requesters to recoup attorney fees from government agencies who deny their requests, reversing decades of legal precedent.
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Election Integrity

Published On 11/8/2022
More than 815K absentee ballots requested so far statewide

The Wisconsin Elections Commission is reporting only minor issues at polling places around the state as voters cast their ballots in tight races for Wisconsin’s governor and U.S. Senate.

"I’m really pleased to report that as of this afternoon there are no major issues that have been reported and Election Day in Wisconsin is going smoothly," said Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe Tuesday afternoon. "We had some very minor reports earlier today of lines at the polling places around the state. That’s not unusual."
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Published On 10/26/2022
... the League of Women Voters of the United States and League chapters from all 50 states and the District of Columbia filed an amicus brief in the Moore v. Harper case before the Supreme Court. The case concerns the so-called “independent state legislature theory” (ISLT), which, if adopted, would have far-reaching implications for the future of American democracy. The League is represented by Fair Elections Center and O’Melveny & Myers LLP.
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Published On 9/21/2022
Postcards will be sent to people whose online ballot request address doesn't match voter registration data
In an effort to thwart potential absentee ballot fraud, the Wisconsin Elections Commission will continue sending postcards aimed at catching people impersonating other voters online. The decision comes after a Union Grove man requested ballots for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Racine Mayor Cory Mason without their knowledge to prove it could be done.
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Published On 9/13/2022
The decision by Waukesha County Judge Michael Aprahamian will be appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has voted to withdraw guidance instructing clerks to fill in missing information on absentee ballot witness certificates after a judge ruled last week that the practice is illegal.

The move by the WEC Tuesday came the same day Waukesha County Judge Michael Aprahamian declined a request to stay his earlier ruling while the case is appealed.
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Published On 8/26/2022
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul vowed to aggressively prosecute anyone who attacks or harasses election workers in the key swing state this fall and proclaimed his faith in the state’s election system as clerks report rising concerns about potential threats due to misinformation about elections.
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Published On 8/10/2022
WKBT publishes state and local results in the August 9 Partisan Primary.
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Published On 8/1/2022
The law governing the counting of electoral votes in presidential elections is in desperate need of strengthening. But the changes now being considered in the Senate don’t go far enough.
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Published On 7/26/2022
Ballot curing is the process of correcting mistakes on absentee ballots, and it's become a point of contention in Wisconsin. We talk to an election law expert about how it works, and the fight over letting local election clerks correct certain mistakes.
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Published On 7/17/2022
An Associated Press survey of state election officials across the U.S. found that the expanded use of drop boxes for mailed ballots during the 2020 election didn't lead to any widespread problems.

The survey revealed no cases of fraud, vandalism or theft that could have affected the results. That's contrary to claims made by former President Donald Trump and his allies, who have intensely criticized their use and falsely claimed they opened the door to fraud.
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Published On 6/20/2022
To fill a vacant seat on the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos earlier this month chose a Republican tax attorney who served on a previous incarnation of the commission. Don Millis, who now chairs the state Elections Commission, joins The Morning Show on WPR.
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La Crosse Area Issues

Published On 4/3/2022
Tuesday’s election — the second of four in Wisconsin in 2022 — is as important as any. You’re electing people at the county and local government and school level who will set local policies and priorities, and determine your tax rates.

Did you know that these local races bring out a lower turnout than the state and national races later this year. That really should change, and it can start now.

Unfortunately, some of these local campaigns have been littered with divisiveness and negativity, the kind you see in state and national races these days. Partisan infighting and spending have filtered into the campaigns for non-partisan seats in the most local of elections.
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Proportional Representation

Published On 11/27/2022
The 2022 midterm election cycle in Wisconsin is completed. For many, it has been an exhausting stretch of political attack ads on traditional and social media, to say nothing about the campaign flyers that fill our mailbox. Having had an opportunity to reflect, here are a few takeaways from the 2022 midterm elections.

In an election that had many worried about vigilante poll monitors and the potential for danger for election workers, voting in Wisconsin on election day seems to have gone off without any major incidents. Some of the races were decided by a very slim margin, yet no challenges alleging fraud have been made.

Many of the ads in this election cycle warned of the dire consequences if the other political party wins. Despite the intense “party versus party” attack ads, there is solid evidence that many people spilt their votes between candidates of both major political parties.
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Published On 7/31/2022
There is something seriously wrong with the partisan primary system in our country. A good idea has become misused.
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Voting Rights News

Published On 11/7/2022
Lawsuit filed by Republican lawmaker sought sequestering of military absentee ballots

A judge in Waukesha County has denied a request that would have required military ballots in Wisconsin to be sequestered. The decision is in response to a lawsuit filed Friday asking for the state's election officials to block the immediate counting of all military absentee or mail-in ballots in this week's elections.
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Published On 10/19/2022
A new ACLU report found at least 22 percent of county jails have no written policy on voting.

Across the state, policies in county jails have prevented thousands of people within their walls from voting, according to a new ACLU Wisconsin report.

"Widespread variance across voting policies, practices, and protocols within Wisconsin county jails has led to the continued disenfranchisement of eligible voters that are within the jails of Wisconsin," said Abby Kanyer, the organization's deputy director of community engagement.

Among the roughly 13,000 people in Wisconsin jails on a given day, most are eligible to vote, the report said. That includes those who are awaiting trial or serving sentences for misdemeanors. But according to the report, only 50 people voted from jail in the 2020 elections.
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Published On 10/10/2022
Democrats succeeded in obtaining a stay while the legal battle over absentee ballots unfolds

A ruling halting the practice known as ballot spoiling has been put on hold after Democrats succeeded in obtaining a stay from Wisconsin's Court of Appeals.

Last week, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Brad Schimel granted a temporary injunction that effectively halted ballot spoiling across Wisconsin. That's when a voter asks a clerk to destroy a previously submitted absentee ballot, so a new one can be filled out before Election Day. Ballots spoiling became better known during the primary elections this year after a series of candidates dropped out of their races after many people had already turned in absentee ballots.
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Published On 8/31/2022
A US district court ruled Wednesday that the requirement was illegal under the Voting Rights Act

A federal judge is blocking the Wisconsin Elections Commission from enforcing a ruling that would have required voters living with disabilities to cast their ballots without assistance.

In his opinion issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge James Peterson stated that the Voting Rights Act is clear in allowing voters with disabilities the right to receive help from a person of their choosing when casting a ballot.
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Published On 8/19/2022
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) intervened on behalf of several Wisconsin voters with disabilities suing to protect their ability to receive assistance when returning an absentee ballot.

In a statement of interest submitted on Thursday to the federal court hearing the case, the DOJ said that no matter what state law says, voters with disabilities must be allowed to have assistance because of provisions in the Voting Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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Published On 8/3/2022
The co-director of the State Democracy Research Initiative thinks an ongoing debate about Wisconsin’s rules for ballot curing could lead to trouble down the line.
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Published On 7/22/2022
Effort to build voter trust in elections comes as state lawmakers, former state Supreme Court Justice and Trump call for decertifying 2020 election

The Wisconsin Elections Commission plans to launch a voter education campaign this fall in hopes of building more trust in the state's elections, a move that comes as former President Donald Trump continues to falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen and as another state lawmaker has joined the legally impossible push to decertify the race.
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Published On 7/21/2022
Local election officials have relied on WEC guidance telling them to fix incomplete addresses on absentee ballot envelopes since 2016

A vote by a powerful state legislative committee to reject a proposed rule on absentee ballot witness certificates has led to a dispute with Wisconsin's elections agency and caused confusion in the state's largest city ahead of the Aug. 9 primary.
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Published On 7/15/2022
The Legislature's top Republicans want to revoke a policy that requires clerks to fill in missing information on absentee ballot witness certificates, a move that could lead to the rejection of tens of thousands of ballots statewide.
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Published On 7/14/2022
Republicans and Democrats on the Wisconsin Elections Commission repeatedly split Tuesday over whether to provide new guidance to more than 1,800 clerks on how to handle absentee ballots after the Supreme Court ruled ballot drop boxes are illegal.
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Published On 7/8/2022
Absentee ballot drop boxes won't be allowed in Wisconsin under a ruling handed down Friday by a divided Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The court's conservative majority also ruled that it's illegal for someone else, like a spouse or roommate, to return a voter's completed absentee ballot to the clerk's office. The voter must carry out that task personally.
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Published On 7/8/2022
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin’s executive director, Debra Cronmiller, issued the following statement in response to the SCOWI decision to prohibit the use of drop boxes.

“Today's Supreme Court of Wisconsin ruling was a blow to the voting rights of Wisconsinites. It’s a decision that could potentially disenfranchise thousands of voters across the state.

“The ruling restricts the use of absentee ballot drop boxes in the state. The use of drop boxes was a safe, long-standing practice and an indispensable tool to many Wisconsin voters. The League believes that voting is a fundamental citizen right that must be guaranteed; therefore, it must be accessible.
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Published On 7/3/2022
Supporters of both political parties are funneling large amounts of money into local, nonpartisan elections for county board, city council, and school board. The Green Bay story is repeating in Wisconsin communities and spreading. So where is all this money coming from? As reported in OpenSecrets.org, campaign spending in the United States topped $14 billion in 2020, up from $5.7 billion four years earlier. Campaign spending is projected to exceed $20 billion in 2024. Alarmingly, more than $1 billion in 2020 campaign spending came from unknown sources … dark money.
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Published On 2/24/2022
Republican lawmakers passed their version of an 'early count' bill for absentee ballots along with about a dozen other election proposals.

Election workers would get a one-day head start on canvassing absentee ballots at central count locations in Wisconsin under a bill that passed the state Assembly on Thursday.

But debate on the bill turned fiercely partisan — and personal — following what state lawmakers from both parties described as a failed negotiation, underscoring doubts that Gov. Tony Evers would sign the plan into law.
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Published On 2/16/2022
State election officials debunked several false claims about Wisconsin's voter list Wednesday during testimony to a panel of lawmakers that had amplified the claims just a week earlier.

Robert Kehoe, the technology director for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, told legislators that the agency wasn't offended by criticism of its WisVote system, which maintains voter records and helps the state's more than 1,800 local clerks plan for elections. But Kehoe said other claims being made about the system were stunning and showed a lack of due diligence on the part of people making the accusations.
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Published On 2/16/2022
The Elections Commission also voted Wednesday morning to officially withdraw its guidance to local clerks on the best practices for using absentee ballot drop boxes.

The state Supreme Court ruled last week that drop boxes won't be allowed for the April election while justices consider an appeal of a lower court order that found the boxes are illegal.

The decision by the court was not final, meaning justices have yet to rule on whether drop boxes will be allowed for future elections.
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Published On 2/11/2022
Drop boxes will still be allowed for the Feb. 15 primary

The on-again, off-again saga of absentee ballot drop boxes continued in Wisconsin Friday with the state Supreme Court ruling that the boxes won't be allowed for the state's April 5 election.

The court's order was not a final decision and will not affect the Feb. 15 primary, where drop boxes will still be allowed.
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Published On 12/14/2021
2021 has been a historic year for voting rights policy. We tracked nearly 3,000 bills moving in all 50 states and D.C. this year, resulting in almost 300 new laws – both pro- and anti-voter.
While voting rights advocates spent much of 2021 defending against attacks on the freedom to vote, there is much concrete progress to celebrate, too.
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Published On 2/9/2022
Debra Cronmiller, executive director for the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, spoke against the bills.

"Some make it much harder for voters to apply for and cast an absentee ballot," Cronmiller said. "Some can only be characterized as a power grab by a legislative branch seeking to control elections. Given that none of these proposals would improve elections, they would be a net loss for voters."
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Published On 1/29/2022
The court also agreed to hear an expedited appeal of a lawsuit challenging drop boxes

Absentee ballot drop boxes will continue to be allowed in Wisconsin for the state's Feb. 15 primary following a ruling Friday night by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Justices also agreed to hear an expedited appeal of the case, meaning they're likely to decide sooner rather than later whether drop boxes will be allowed for the state's higher-turnout elections in August and November.
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Published On 1/24/2022
Court temporarily blocks a lower court's order, saying it would have led to confusion and potential disenfranchisement

A state appeals court has temporarily blocked a judge's order that would have banned the use of absentee ballot drop boxes in Wisconsin.

The court issued its decision Monday afternoon. Assuming it stands, it would mean drop boxes can continue to be used for Wisconsin's Feb. 15 primary.
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Published On 12/1/2021
Former Trump administrator, head of Wisconsin Voter Alliance on payroll for taxpayer-funded effort

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman has revealed most of the staff working on an investigation into Wisconsin’s 2020 election. Gabelman has refused to answer questions regarding staff in the past.

During testimony Wednesday in front of state lawmakers, Gableman said his team members are paid between $40 an hour and $10,000 a month with taxpayer money.

Members include a former Trump administration official and the head of the Wisconsin Voter Alliance, which unsuccessfully asked the state Supreme Court to throw out the results of Wisconsin's presidential election and force the Legislature to certify the state's presidential electors instead.
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Published On 12/1/2021
Commissioners argue Legislative Audit Bureau report contains several inaccuracies
Members of Wisconsin's bipartisan state elections agency sharply criticized a nonpartisan audit of the 2020 election on Wednesday, arguing the report contains several errors.

The Republican-ordered audit was released in late October. It found no widespread voter fraud or wrongdoing in the election, but made dozens of recommendations for updating state policies and state laws related to elections. It also alleged the Wisconsin Elections Commission issued several pieces of guidance to local election officials during the COVID-19 pandemic that conflicted with state law. The commission has faced sharp criticism from GOP lawmakers in recent weeks as a result of the audit, including calls for its administrator to resign.
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Published On 5/26/2022
Coalition calls for state Supreme Court to throw out drop box ruling

A coalition of groups is calling for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to reverse a circuit court ruling that advocates say would prevent many disabled people from voting.
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Published On 11/15/2021
Lawsuit asks Wisconsin Supreme Court to immediately suspend 2020 elections commission guidance

GOP candidate for governor Rebecca Kleefisch filed a lawsuit Monday against the Wisconsin Elections Commission, calling on the state Supreme Court to suspend guidance the commission issued to local election officials ahead of the 2020 election.
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Published On 5/11/2022
Michael Gableman’s taxpayer-funded salary will be cut from $11K to $5.5K a month

An investigation into the 2020 election in battleground Wisconsin will be paused while five lawsuits play out and the former state Supreme Court justice leading it will be paid half as much going forward.
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Published On 11/14/2021
The American voting system is in the middle of a seismic shift, as state legislators propose and pass a flurry of laws restricting and expanding voting, and candidates navigate an electorate where a sizable portion of voters think the whole process is rigged.

Last week's elections gave us our first insights into this new playing field in 2022 and beyond.
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Published On 5/10/2022
Twenty-seven years ago, Martha Chambers was injured in a horseback riding accident that left her paralyzed from the neck down.

"I use my mouth to do a lot of things — like that mouth stick there, I use for those remotes and that keyboard," she describes while giving a tour of her apartment in Milwaukee, Wis.

Come election time, that's also how she fills out her absentee ballot.

But Chambers doesn't know if one of her caregivers will be allowed to return her ballot in the next election because of an ongoing legal battle in Wisconsin.
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Published On 11/2/2021
The Racine County Sheriff is raising suspicions of voting improprieties in local nursing homes during the 2020 election, but disability rights advocates are pushing back. We talk to one about the special voting deputy program, and ways to improve ballot access for people living with disabilities.
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Published On 4/20/2022
The plan drawn by GOP legislators could be in effect for the next decade

There likely won't be many competitive state Assembly districts under Wisconsin's new Republican-drawn legislative map that was adopted by the state Supreme Court last week.

Depending on how you measure it, there might only be three.
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Published On 10/22/2021
Legislative Audit Bureau recommends dozens of changes to state election laws, policies

A highly-anticipated nonpartisan report on Wisconsin’s 2020 election has found no widespread voter fraud or wrongdoing, but made dozens of recommendations for updating state policies and state laws related to elections.

The 168-page audit by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, initially ordered by the GOP-controlled Legislature in February, was released Friday morning. It found the Wisconsin Elections Commission didn’t follow some state laws in 2020, including things like failing to get electronic voter registration signatures from transportation officials, but that there weren’t widespread instances of people committing voter fraud or officials’ actions affecting large numbers of votes.
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Published On 4/13/2022
Case could decide key ground rules for absentee voting ahead of this year's August primary, November general election

An attorney for a conservative law firm told the state Supreme Court on Wednesday that only a voter can return their absentee ballot in Wisconsin, meaning it would be illegal for someone's spouse or child to deliver their completed ballot to the clerk or drop it in the mail.

The assertion prompted extensive questioning from justices who are being asked to decide key ground rules for absentee voting in this year's elections, with the court's liberals suggesting the argument was "absurd."
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Published On 8/1/2021
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin (LWVWI) recommends changes to improve the voting experience for eldery voters and voters with disabilities while a report released by the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) outlines measures that have improved the accessibility of Wisconsin’s polling places,It is clear the WEC has worked closely with disability advocacy groups and several Wisconsin clerks to take strides to make elections more accessible despite the pandemic. However, despite these efforts the report makes it apparent that accessibility continues to be an issue at polling sites across the state.
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Published On 4/13/2022
The White House released a report in March 2022 calling for federal legislation to increase voter accessibility for Native Americans. Joining us is a staff attorney with the Native American Rights Foundation to tell us about the burdens some Native Americans face when trying to vote and what can be done to combat those issues.
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Published On 8/17/2021
It's been more than nine months since Election Day 2020, but as the nation's top election officials met in Iowa over the weekend, it was clear the shadow of that race will stretch far into the future of American democracy.

The conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from former President Donald Trump has upended almost all aspects of election administration: Local officials who a decade ago would have gone about their bureaucratic business in relative anonymity are facing threats and intense pressure, and a large chunk of American voters have no confidence the system is fair.

"This is the very unfortunate new normal," said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, who had dozens of armed protesters visit her home in December after last year's election.
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Published On 4/7/2022
Coalition of municipalities works to restore faith in the election process
PSA from local officials will be aired through Election Day

As voters head to the polls Tuesday, some state and national politicians continue to push unfounded allegations of widespread election fraud. But a coalition of Wisconsin municipalities is working to restore faith in the state’s election process.

"If you don't have faith in elections, you don't have democracy," Jerry Deschane, executive director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, said.

Last month, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the Wisconsin Counties Association and the Wisconsin Towns Association launched a nonpartisan ad campaign featuring municipal clerks.
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Published On 8/10/2021
Proposals Responded To Republican Criticism Of 2020 Election

Gov. Tony Evers vetoed six Republican-backed bills on Tuesday that would have changed election laws in Wisconsin, saying the proposals would have put up too many additional barriers to voting.

The bills were part of a package of 10 proposals unveiled in February that were largely in response to Republican criticism of how the 2020 election was administered in Wisconsin. They passed the Legislature in June on party-line votes, with Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against.
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Published On 6/21/2021
One-third remain convinced of 2020 election fraud
West Long Branch, NJ – Most Americans support both easier access to early voting and requiring photo identification to vote, according to the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll. The public is more divided on expanding vote-by-mail, although a majority would like to see some national voting guidelines established for federal elections. The poll also finds that only one-third of the public believes “audits” of the 2020 election results are legitimate efforts to uncover irregularities. Moreover, one-third of Americans continue to believe Joe Biden won the presidency only due to voter fraud – a steady trend since November that underlines the crystallization of our nation’s deep partisan divide.
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Published On 8/23/2021
As the House returns from recess this week, Democrats will make their latest push for a major upgrade to voting rights protections nationally.

The long-awaited John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was introduced by Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama last week, and House Democratic leaders say a vote on the bill is imminent.

Voting rights advocates believe the VRAA would provide critical protections for minority voters at a time when many states are enacting new limits on voting access. But like the For the People Act, it's unclear how the VRAA will overcome a Republican filibuster in the Senate.
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Published On 7/15/2021
Bills to change voting rules have been moving through the Legislature. Here are the views of local election clerks.
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Published On 8/4/2021
Voters Removed After 4 Years Of Inactivity, Possible Moves
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Published On 6/2/2021
Wisconsin’s lack of access to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is a deliberate barrier for voters to get the photo ID needed to cast a ballot.

Since passing one of the most restrictive photo ID laws in the nation in 2011, Wisconsin officials have only made it harder to obtain an ID needed to vote. This report shines a light on the barriers to DMV service centers – especially for Wisconsinites of color, people with disabilities, and older adults — many of whom are nondrivers.
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Published On 5/31/2021
La Crosse County DA says 16 voters used the wrong address causing the city to flag them as potential voter fraud
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Published On 4/20/2021
In a complete victory for voters’ rights, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin ruled in a 5-2 decision that a purge of the state’s voter rolls cannot proceed. This ruling prevents tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters from being removed.

Wisconsin’s highest court has shut down this attempt to unlawfully purge voters from the rolls, finding that the relevant statute is directed at municipal clerks, not the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

This decision permanently blocks the Wisconsin Elections Commission from removing voters flagged in the 2019 ERIC list from the state’s voter rolls.
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Published On 1/21/2022
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Justice is appealing a judge's ruling restricting the use of absentee ballot drop boxes.

Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul filed notice with Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren on Thursday that he is appealing Bohren's ruling to the 4th District Court of Appeals. The judge ruled Jan. 13 that drop boxes can be located only in local election clerks' offices and no one other than the voter may deposit an absentee ballot in them.
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Published On 1/21/2022
Legal advocacy group Law Forward immediately filed an appeal.

A Waukesha County judge ruled Friday that absentee ballot drop boxes won’t be allowed in the Feb. 15 primary, despite testimony from the Wisconsin Elections Commission that changing the rules this close to an election will be confusing for voters.
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Fair Maps

Published On 10/20/2023
In its first public hearing, a bill that Republicans said would bring Wisconsin closer to a nonpartisan mapmaking model received sharp criticism Thursday from liberals who had long advocated for such a change but don’t trust this version.

Republicans, who have built an impregnable majority in the Legislature in large part through control of the maps, are motivated to adopt the plan before the newly liberal-majority Wisconsin Supreme Court rules on a lawsuit challenging the maps.
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Published On 9/13/2023
In response to the redistricting bill introduced by state legislators, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin is pushing for stronger, more staunchly nonpartisan solutions to our gerrymandered maps. Debra Cronmiller, LWVWI executive director, issued the following statement in response.

“The League and its grassroots volunteers have been part of a years-long effort to educate the public about gerrymandering and demand a permanent solution to ensure fair maps for generations to come.

“While we are happy to see legislators look into a potential solution for the current partisan map-drawing process, this bill does not meet the needs of Wisconsinites and does not have enough nonpartisan safeguards in place.

“Simply put, the bill doesn’t go far enough. The League finds several areas troubling and is hoping for amendments.
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Published On 12/7/2022
When Republicans redrew the lines again in 2021, they further boosted their advantage in the Assembly. Compared with nearly 1,000 statehouse elections across the country between 1972 and 2020, Wisconsin's efficiency gap in 2018 ranked as the fourth most skewed toward Republicans at 15.4%, according to researchers at Harvard and George Washington universities. Wisconsin's 2022 results were even more skewed at 16.6%, a Wisconsin Watch analysis shows.
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Published On 3/24/2022
The state Supreme Court could choose among a few options, including some that closely resemble the maps the U.S. Supreme Court rejected
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Published On 1/21/2022
Their ruling could decide the state's political maps for the next decade.
Wisconsin Supreme Court justices offered hints Wednesday about how they might view a "least changes" approach to redistricting in a case that could decide the state's political boundaries for the next decade.
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Published On 11/30/2021
The Wisconsin Supreme Court's conservative majority handed Republicans a major victory in the legal fight over redistricting Tuesday, ruling that the court would take a "least changes" approach to redrawing the maps that Republicans passed in 2011.
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Published On 11/19/2021
'They're gerrymandering 2.0,' Evers says, as maps head to court

Gov. Tony Evers vetoed Republican-drawn political maps Thursday, setting the stage for a legal battle which will decide Wisconsin's legislative and congressional districts for the next decade.

The maps, passed last week by the Legislature, were described by Republicans as a "least changes" approach, retaining as much as possible of the previous maps while adjusting for population. The previous maps, passed in 2011, have been described by experts as among the most severe partisan gerrymanders in the country.
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Published On 11/5/2021
The Judiciary & Administration Committee approved the resolution on a 4-3 vote, two of those opposing votes coming from council members who would be displaced by the new maps.

The resolution specifically is set to approve and adopt the new aldermanic, or city council, district boundaries. The city’s new voting wards, which make up aldermanic districts, were approved last month and cannot be changed at this point, officials said.

The city’s new proposed maps mirror those already drawn by La Crosse County, keeping the county supervisory districts “coterminous” with the city’s aldermanic districts, or sharing the same boundary. This helps eliminate voters going to multiple polling places for different elections, a top priority of officials leading the redistricting process.
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Published On 8/24/2021
Wisconsin Groups File Redistricting Challenge

Yesterday, Campaign Legal Center (CLC), Law Forward, Inc. and Stafford Rosenbaum LLP filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on behalf nonpartisan groups and individual voters challenging Wisconsin’s state legislative map, which the 2020 Census has revealed to have unequally populated districts. The suit asks the court to strike down the current maps as unconstitutional and implement new maps that do not violate the rights of voters, given the likelihood the legislature and governor are unable to agree on new maps.
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Published On 6/3/2022
All 50 states have finalized their congressional map to use for elections this November, a major checkpoint in the once-a-decade process of redrawing lines for political representation.

New Hampshire on Tuesday became the last state to fully enact its map, and while Florida, Texas, Alabama and a few other states are still waging legal battles over partisan and racial gerrymandering, the maps they've enacted will remain in place for this year's midterm elections.

Here's what the maps tell us about what to expect in the 2022 midterm elections:
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Published On 8/23/2021
Two new lawsuits filed Monday asked courts to get involved in Wisconsin's next round of redistricting, including one by a conservative group telling Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices that they could potentially redraw the state's political lines themselves....A coalition of groups that have worked with Democrats on redistricting, including Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, Voces de la Frontera and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin filed their own lawsuit in the same federal court Monday, likewise telling judges that they might need to draw the map.
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Published On 8/13/2021
Democrats filed the first Wisconsin lawsuit related to the 2021 redistricting process on Friday, arguing a federal court should step in to draw the state’s next set of political maps because state lawmakers and Gov. Tony Evers are unlikely to reach a timely consensus on the matter.
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Published On 8/12/2021
The partisan battle over Wisconsin’s next round of redistricting officially began on Thursday with the release of 2020 U.S. Census data to states.

Though high-level numbers were released in April, the data released Thursday includes the numbers necessary for local and state governments to begin drawing the next set of government district maps across the Wisconsin. Local governments will be in charge of maps for city and county government, while state lawmakers will draw new district lines for the state’s 99 Assembly seats, 33 Senate seats and eight congressional districts. The maps will be in effect for 10 years after they are drawn.
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Published On 7/16/2021
After Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a Republican bill to delay redistricting deadlines for local communities, La Crosse County officials are preparing to draw new maps before the end of the year despite late census data.
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Published On 6/23/2021
Concerns have been raised that the La Crosse County Board should reapportion districts following the 2020 census with a committee based more on political affiliations.

Political partisanship, however, should not be part of the drawing of local maps for the County Board, a nonpartisan body.
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Published On 7/4/2021
Residents of the 3rd Congressional District are urged to get involved in the process of drawing the next congressional district maps for WI. Between now and July 30, visit the PMC online (https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/) and speak out about the community that matters to you: where you live, concerns you have, places of importance, boundaries to recognize. Let the PMC know what communities you think should be kept together and why.
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Published On 5/14/2021
Justices on Wisconsin's Supreme Court have rejected an effort by conservatives to change the rules for the next round of redistricting, denying a petition that would have required all redistricting lawsuits to run through them.
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Published On 5/2/2021
Wisconsin voters deserve a nonpartisan, transparent map drawing process for redistricting in 2021. Passed referenda and resolutions throughout the state demonstrate that over 70% of Wisconsin voters want a nonpartisan mapping process so every vote counts.

May 2-5, you have an opportunity to view “Can You Hear Us Now,” a documentary that explains the effects of gerrymandering in Wisconsin. This film is presented by a nonpartisan coalition of organizations in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District.
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Published On 4/29/2021
A judge has voided contracts Wisconsin Republican lawmakers reached with two private law firms to handle redistricting, ruling the state Legislature can't hire its own attorneys until there's a lawsuit pending.
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US/State League Statements

Published On 6/24/2022
Today the League of Women Voters of the United States President,  Dr. Deborah Turner,  and CEO,  Virginia Kase Solomón  issued the following joint statement in response to the 6 – 3 Supreme Court decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturns the constitutional right to abortion as recognized for nearly 50 years in the landmark cases of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey:

“Today’s ruling strips women and those who may become pregnant of their bodily autonomy and will have devastating — and immediate — consequences across the country.
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Published On 6/24/2022
Today League of Women Voters of the United States CEO Virginia Kase Solomón issued the following statement after the US Senate passed bipartisan gun safety legislation:

"In the wake of our country’s recent gun violence, we know that it is critical for Congress to pass commonsense gun safety reform to protect our communities and our children in schools. This bipartisan agreement, which would be the most historic gun safety measure in the last thirty years, is a step in the right direction and will save lives.
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