Few Candidates for Legislature Respond to Democracy Reform Questionnaire; Most Leave Voters Guessing

Posted: August 14, 2008
Updated: September 2, 2008

Logo: League of Women VotersLogo: Common Cause in WisconsinLogo: Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, Common Cause in Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign today released the responses of state legislative hopefuls to six questions on democracy reform issues the three groups posed to all candidates.

Nearly two-thirds of state legislative candidates declined to take a public stand on the reform issues. Of the 25 candidates for state senate, only seven replied. Six answered the questions, while one replied that he was refusing to answer. Of the 243 candidates for state assembly, 95 replied to the survey. Of those, 89 answered the questions while six replied that they were refusing to answer.

Senate candidates in the 16 districts up for election and candidates in all 99 Assembly districts were mailed the survey July 10.

The questions dealt with specific reform proposals aimed at reforming campaign finance laws for judicial elections and other state races, requiring full disclosure of special interest electioneering, promoting a fair process for drawing legislative district lines following the next census, and tightening Wisconsin ’s lobbying laws.

“The voters deserve to know where the candidates stand on these issues,” said Andrea Kaminski, director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund. “Close to 100 candidates answered our survey, and they should be applauded for doing so. Unfortunately, nearly twice as many failed to respond and are leaving citizens in the dark about their positions on political reform.”

There is not a single state Senate district up for election in 2008 where voters will have the benefit of knowing the positions of both major party candidates on democracy reform issues, something Kaminski called “disgraceful.” Pending the outcome of party primary elections in September, races in no more than nine of the 99 Assembly districts will feature both Republican and Democratic candidates in the November general election who answered the reform questionnaire. Assembly districts where the possibility exists of major party candidates who have both taken a public stand on reform issues squaring off in the general election include districts 24, 30, 47, 50, 53, 54, 55, 57 and 79.

Responses to the survey can be accessed through the link below.

Current Voter Guide