Democracy for All

Our democracy fails when any voices are excluded. Wisconsin Conservation Voters recognizes decision-making power is too often in the hands of the few and the most privileged. We are committed to shifting that power to individuals and communities by making voting more accessible to all.

Richard Diaz, Midwest Regional Field Organizer for BlueGreen Alliance, speaks at a press conference focused on voting in Milwaukee.

In order to have a healthy environment, we need a healthy democracy in which individuals have access to the ballot box and are able to cast their vote safely and securely. Unfortunately, in Wisconsin, this isn't the case. For a decade, our state has been heavily gerrymandered and anti-democracy forces in the state legislature have time and again passed laws that disenfranchise voters.

Wisconsin Conservation Voters is focused on opportunities to defend our right to vote and support voter access both on the local and state levels because we understand without a healthy, accessible democracy we cannot properly address the climate crisis.

Matt Rothschild, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, speaks at a fair maps rally in August 2021.

Gerrymandering and fair maps

Wisconsin has a history of gerrymandered maps, meaning voting districts were drawn by a political party to give them an unfair advantage in elections. Wisconsin’s gerrymandered maps deprive our state of fair representation and silence the voices of people of color.

In 2021, Wisconsin Assembly Republicans passed their proposed maps, which are a re-up of the 2011 gerrymander and maintain their undemocratic and unfair advantage in elections. After being kicked up – and back down – from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted the maps option under a “least change” framework. These maps condemn Wisconsin to another decade of extreme gerrymander and further erode our ability to choose our own representatives.

Learn more about Wisconsin's gerrymandered districts and how you can help our state achieve fair maps.

Disenfranchisement in Wisconsin

In the United States – and in Wisconsin in particular – many people are disenfranchised. Racist legislation has made it more difficult for Black, Indigenous and people of color to vote, and other laws have targeted low-income people, disabled people, young people, previously-incarcerated people, and people whose first language isn't English.

A Wisconsin Conservation Voters Organizer speaks to community members at a tabling event in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee.

For over a decade, anti-democracy forces have pushed legislation to make it harder to vote in Wisconsin. Under Governor Scott Walker's Administration, Wisconsin decision makers and the GOP-led state legislature made access to the polls significantly more difficult. They passed legislation that added a complicated proof of residency process for registration, a photo ID requirement for voting, and other systems that make voter registration more difficult. These restrictive voter laws have the greatest impact on Black, Indigenous, and communities of color.

Today, the assault on voting rights continues. Following the 2020 Presidential Election, which elections experts have deemed fair and free, the GOP-led state legislature has sowed doubt about the election results and introduced legislation that further restricts voting access. Some politicians like Robin Vos and Michael Gableman are attacking our freedoms, wasting our taxpayer dollars, and using anti-voter scams in Wisconsin to spread lies about an election that trusted officials conducted and verified.

Read more about the history of disenfranchisement in Wisconsin and how to take action here.


Track your legislators

Transparency is vital in a healthy democracy. Find out how your legislators are voting on conservation issues, and hold them accountable for their decisions.


“We are all affected by pollution. Wisconsin Conservation Voters gives me a voice to fight polluters.”

hiker. biker. voter.

Ann Brodek, Racine

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