Vote Absentee!

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Revised: 3/26/2020 at 3:15 pm. Please note that it is now likely that there will be no open polling places on Election Day, April 7, 2020, at least in the City of Milwaukee. The only sure way to vote is to vote by mail with an absentee ballot. The rules for acquiring an absentee ballot have changed slightly to make it somewhat easier to obtain.

The coronavirus has disrupted most things, but our April 7 election remains on the schedule. You can of course show up at the polls on election day to cast your ballot (you can see a sample ballot and find your polling place at myvote.wi.gov) but you would be doing poll workers and yourself a huge favor if instead you vote by mail, using an absentee ballot.  

There are TWO steps you have to perform:

  1. Request that your municipal clerk send you an absentee ballot.
  2. Fill out and mail the ballot back so that it arrives by 8pm on April 7 (otherwise your vote will not count).

To request an absentee ballot, you have to fill out a form. There are two routes you can take. The first is online.

  1. Use a computer or a smartphone and a browser to go to myvote.wi.gov.
  2. Click "Vote Absentee". 
  3. Fill in your name and date of birth in the online application to check your registration status. 
  4. Click the button "Request an Absentee Ballot" on the screen that displays your name, address, and registration status. 
  5. Fill in the form requesting an absentee ballot. You can choose to request an absentee ballot for the April 7, 2020 election only or you can choose to request an absentee ballot for the August 11 election and the November 3 election as well. The request form may require you to upload a picture of your photo ID. Try to comply. If you cannot, go to the next step.
  6. Choose the box that says that you are "indefinitely confined." The coronavirus has rendered that statement true for everyone but do upload a picture of your photo ID if you are able to do so. If you are not able to upload a photo, choosing the box for indefinitely confined means that you will no longer need to provide a photo ID with your request form.
  7. The site will automatically send the request to your municipal clerk.

The second route is to print a copy of the form yourself. Once you have a copy, fill it out, and choose the box that says you're indefinitely confined if you are having a problem photographing and or printing a photo of your photo ID. Then mail the form to your municipal clerk. You can find a pdf of the request form on the site of the Wisconsin Election Commission. When you are filling out the form, we suggest that you request an absentee ballot for all elections for the remainder of 2020. You'll find that selection in box 6 of the form. You can find the mail address for your municipal clerk at myvote.wi.gov. Choose "Find My Polling Place". On the lefthand side of the screen you will see the name and some contact information for your municipal clerk. Clicking on the "More Information" button will bring up the mailing address.

As of March 19, Bayside and Whitefish Bay are sending forms to request an absentee ballot to every registered voter! Some other communities may be doing the same. And if Wisconsin takes steps now to have all votes by mail, we can heave a sigh of relief and avoid the risk of being contaminated at the polls or spreading the virus to others there. Wouldn't that be a good thing?

You can read the text of Milwaukee County Clerk George Christianson's memo:

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Your Vote Is Your Voice

karofsky_sut.jpgGrassroots North Shore is proud to announce its 

Endorsement of Judge Jill Karofsky for Wisconsin Supreme Court

The nonpartisan general election of 2020 is April 7. Early voting in most North Shore communities will begin by March 23 (in a few communities it will begin earlier -- check with your village or city administration. It will end on April 3 at 5pm. Before you go to the polls -- either for early voting or on election day -- be sure to check your registration, polling place and sample ballot: myvote.wi.gov.

The only statewide race on your ballot will be the one for Wisconsin State Supreme Court. The candidates are Dan Kelly (incumbent and Walker appointee), and Jill Karofsky, judge on the Circuit Court of Wisconsin. You can read our endorsement of Judge Karofsky and her answers to our Grassroots North Shore Questionnaire. You can also visit the the website and Facebook page for Karofsky's campaign. We urge our supporters to vote for Karofsky. She is the only progressive in this race.

Our Elections 2020 page provides some information about early voting in many North Shore communities, including phone numbers to reach your community's administration. It would be prudent to call to make sure, but most early voting for the nonpartisan election on April 7, 2020, will take place at the city or village hall. So please vote in this election and in all subsequent elections this year!

In addition to the April 7 election, Wisconsin will hold two more: the partisan primary on August 11 and the general election on November 3. Mark your calendars for subsequent dates now so that you don't forget to vote. (If you know you are going to be out of town or otherwise unable to vote early in person or go to the polls on election day, you can always request a mail-in ballot at myvote.wi.gov.)

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It is Time for our Annual Meeting

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Read statements by Ed Fallone and Jill Karofsky.

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Tipping Point Wisconsin

Celinda-Lake-Square.jpgCelinda Lake, a Washington-based Progressive Strategist and Pollster, is one of the Democratic Party's leading political strategists, serving as tactician and senior advisor to the national party committees, dozens of Democratic incumbents, and challengers at all levels of the electoral process. Through her firm, Lake Research Partners, Ms. Lake helps her clients develop the strategies and disseminate the information that they need to win elections.

Ms. Lake will be the keynote at our fundraiser on Sunday, December 8, from 4-6pm at Plymouth Church (2717 E Hampshire St, Milwaukee). Wisconsin has been identified as key to the 2020 election. Sound bites and photo ops aside, you won't want to miss this rare opportunity to see things from her deeply researched perspective on the 2020 elections! RSVP and please contribute generously at our Act Blue page.  

Doors will open at 3:00pm. Street parking only.

Donation Levels which include a one-year membership:

Friend $100
Family Friend $120
Sponsor $250
Host $500
Patron $1000

 

 

 

 

Admission: $30/Person or $40/Family

If you'd like to be recognized publicly for your gift to Grassroots North Shore, please email Ginny Goode.

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TAKE A LOOK AT THE VIDEO: To Impeach. . . or Not?

This was the question on the minds of over 140 people at the North Shore Presbyterian Church on October 13th. The debate did not produce an easy answer, but instead raised difficult questions that reflect the complexity of the current predicament in which we find ourselves.

Dr. Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action Wisconsin, argued for impeachment. His premise was that the nature of our democracy would suffer irretrievable harm because Congress could no longer be considered co-equal with the Executive Branch. In addition, whatever President is or would be in power could manipulate and interfere with free elections, thus always ensuring a victory. He called for a “purer” motivation than a political one – labeling it a constitutional necessity.

On the other side of the argument, Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Dr. Sheldon Wasserman made the case against impeaching the President. His reasons were admittedly political. Although he agreed that the President’s actions rose to the level required to impeach, he noted the dangers of a political backlash. With the Senate unlikely to act based on evidence provided, he felt that the best remedy to the dangers of the current Presidency lies in the upcoming election.

Long-time Wisconsin Public Radio host Kathleen Dunn provided thoughtful questions and helpful history, while Attorney Jeff Perzan explained context and points of law regarding impeachment, and also responded to questions. The audience had many questions, so Q&A lasted about half an hour.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the program was the total and sometimes brutal honesty of the two as they made their arguments. They relied on logic and evidence, but also expressed emotional hopes and fears based on personal experiences and historical examples. Both sides of the debate were well expressed and captured the attention of the listeners, forcing them to think and confront all possibilities. (Well done, Dr. Kraig and Dr. Wasserman!)

This debate was co-sponsored by Citizen Action Wisconsin, Grassroots North Shore, and Grassroots South Shore. A video, graciously taped and created by Daniel Folkman and Charles Bensinger of Wisconsin Video Hub, can be found at WisVideohub.net, or you can go to Event Video

 

 

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Health Insurance in the USA: A Cheeky Explanation

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Surprise! your monthly health insurance premium just increased 600% You call your friendly health insurance company and receive the consoling explanation: “It’s Market Forces.”

Market Forces are capitalism at its best. The relationship of supply and demand, free of government meddling, will fix all economic problems. For instance when you go to buy a car, you can choose a Lexus, a Corolla, or if necessary a used Yugo. If many people want one model but there aren’t many of them, the price goes up appropriately. The system works.

But obtaining health isn’t like buying a car. Is there a real choice between good health, fair health and poor health? Good health generally means good medical care. Only one kind of medical care is available, and it is expensive. There are no healthcare Dollar Stores or cut rate Heart Surgery Outlets. Going back to the automobile analogy, you need transportation and the only car in the lot is a Lexus.

Good health isn’t even a product you can buy. It’s a probability. Good medical care just improves the odds. The market in its wisdom has devised insurance to deal such uncertainty. Insurance works because lots of low risk people pay in but few people take money out. The difference is profit for the company. It’s like auto insurance. The many people who will never be hit by a truck contribute to a pool that pays your claim when your car gets totaled by a semi.

The chances of needing healthcare is too high for insurance to work. Even the young get into nasty accidents. When you get older and sicker your risk of coming down with a costly condition rises inexorably. Of course, if you already have a chronic disease, your chance of having a medical problem is 100% and the insurance model hits the skids. The profit pool is fed by a trickle of premiums but drained by a river of claims. You can’t insure a car that has no brakes.

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What We Learned on June 23rd

21rosenthal-articleLarge.jpgWhat Health Care Plans are Proposed? Who Supports What? How does Medicare for All Differ from Medicare for America?

Despite health care being a winning issue for Democrats in 2018, people are more uncertain than ever about what is being proposed and how it will affect them. Instead of discussing how to improve the ACA, candidates are talking about Medicare for All and its variations. Many people assume that the ACA is no longer a factor. On May 16th the House passed legislation strengthening the ACA and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. However, because the Senate has declined to take up the bill, the conversation appears to have moved on.

On Sunday, June 23rd, Dr. Robert Kraig of Citizen Action of Wisconsin filled us in on the new debate, new legislation and its supporters, and which candidates might support various health care reform alternatives. Daniel Folkman (you can find him on YouTube and at Video Hub) recorded the presentation. He also recorded short videos of individuals’ health care (or lack of) stories. (We appreciate his help in making this more widely available).

Robert described the differences between Medicare for All, as introduced by Bernie Sanders, and Medicare for America. The major distinction between them is budgetary and financial, regarding who should pay how much, rather than major differences in coverage. Medicare for America has budgetary provisions that would pay for the legislation, while Medicare for All does not. Medicare for America offers full coverage with a robust public option but allowances for keeping private insurance, and financial support. Dr. Kraig noted that Beto O’Rourke supports Medicare for America. From recent statements, Kamala Harris also seems to support it. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders support Medicare for All. Biden supports what appears to be an upgraded ACA similar to Medicare for America. It is not clear yet whether there are other candidates who support Medicare for All but who would not support Medicare for America.

People with whom I discussed health care while canvassing tended to support fixes to the ACA, particularly in the area of drug coverage and subsidy categories. That was a topic used to our advantage in the 2018 elections. It remains to be seen whether the newer proposals will garner support or just increase the already high level of anxiety among voters.

The conversation within the Democratic candidate community and those who go out to work for them needs to shift to figure out how to fix the system without pushing our supporters to either fight or run. Good explanations of the alternatives followed by a poll would go a long way to help us finalize a position.

To view this talk (and there is a lot of information here), watch the video of the event plus health care stories by Mark Foreman, Eilene Stevens, and Pastor Ellen Rasmussen.

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