Goodbye to 2020

We're finally going to have perfect 2020 vision — in hindsight, of course. But Donald Drumpf just won't let go of his destructive efforts to upend our democracy. It seems he has appealed the latest ruling that the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued in mid-December. That suit was decided by a 4-3 vote and relied heavily on the Laches Doctrine, "which requires that a plaintiff does not unreasonably delay a claim. Drumpf’s suit failed in this respect because he did not file suit when the same laws and practices were in effect when he won the presidency in 2016" (Urban Milwaukee, 12/29/2020). And Monday Representative Louie Gohmert sued Vice President Mike Pence. CNN called the suit a "wacky attempt to transform the vice president's purely ceremonial role in presiding over the announcement of the Electoral College results in Congress into a power broker position in which the VP could effectively hand the election to President Donald Drumpf" (CNN, 12/29/2020).

Congress will meet in joint session on Wednesday, January 6, at 12 noon CST to count the electoral college votes. The Vice President will preside, following both the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act of 1887. As the Washington Post explains in a 12/29/20 op-ed, "the Jan. 6 session ... address[es] a narrow question: Are the electoral votes received by Congress ones cast by electors the states appointed?" Here's the core of the issue:

This limited inquiry requires Congress simply to authenticate the documents. Remember, these rules were formulated in the 19th century, when there was a realistic risk of counterfeit papers pretending to be official. Thus, the 1887 act requires a state’s governor to affix “the seal of the State” to the certificate confirming the appointment of electors.

Further, the 1887 act obligates Congress to consider 'conclusive' a state’s own 'final determination' of litigation over a state’s appointment of electors when two conditions are met. The 'final determination' must occur by a certain date, Dec. 8 this year, and must be based on state laws existing before Election Day, Nov. 3. Congress instructs governors to provide verification of these two conditions in their certifications.

VP Pence, as the presiding officer, is charged with simply opening the envelopes with the certified votes from each state. As an AP report explains, "the presiding officer opens and presents the certificates of the electoral votes in alphabetical order of the states. The appointed 'tellers' from each chamber, members of both parties, then read each certificate out loud. The tellers then record and count the votes, and the presiding officer announces who has won the majority votes for both president and vice president" (AP, 12/15/2020).

Objections to a specific state's electors must be made, in writing, with at least one Representative and one Senator signing on. It's possible that no senator will oblige the crazies in the House, but even if one does, the objection is likely to be defeated in both chambers. It's a little nerve-wracking, of course, but it may be worth making some popcorn and tuning in to watch the comedic drama unfold.

On a more serious note, one of Wisconsin's foremost tasks ahead is drawing the new electoral district maps that will go into effect for the 2022 elections and remain in force through 2031. The new maps are the only way Wisconsin can rectify the travesty of partisan gerrymandering that has so disrupted the relationship between the will of the voters and the distribution of power in the state's legislative chambers. To counter the Republican effort to cement their hold over the legislature, Governor Tony Evers created the People's Map Commission, a group of nine people who have been chosen by a Selection Panel of three retired judges in Wisconsin. The members of the Commission are "Wisconsinites representing each of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts and members from the African American, Latinx, and Tribal communities. The Commission members may not be elected officials, public officials, lobbyists, or political party officers. The idea is that the people should be making these important decisions, not politicians. The Commission may also include nonvoting members who are experts in redistricting, including professors, statisticians, mathematicians, map software experts, and legal scholars."

Grassroots North Shore supporters have their chance to participate in the series of public hearings The People's Map Commission is holding in the new year. The one for the 4th CD is to be held on Thursday, January 14 (time TBD). If you want to participate by speaking or submitting written comments, you'll need to sign up to do so. You can also participate by tuning in to watch. The sign-up page seems to be the same both for contributing remarks and for simply attending the session. The hearing for the 6th CD will be held on February 25, 2021. Nothing has a more fundamental impact on the governance of our state than the map of electoral districts. So nothing is more important than attending one of these public hearings to make our presence heard and felt. Please sign up for the 4th CD hearing or the 6th CD hearing. The links take you to a form titled "Public Input for People’s Maps Commission" but there does not seem to be any other way to register just to attend the session. So don't be shy!

During the holiday season, the events list continues to be short. But expect things to heat up considerably after January 5, 2021. That's when nomination papers are due for nonpartisan elections as well as for school board elections this spring. You can see what offices are up for election on our website. We will be updating the page with the names of people who have qualified to run for each office and whenever possible links to their web pages and/or Facebook pages just as soon as we can. Once the primaries are completed, we will be endorsing some candidates and in March will be holding a candidate forum for those running to be State Superintendent of Public Instruction. You should be able to request an absentee both for the February 16 primary and the April 6 general election at but the 2021 election cycle requests are not yet available! Presumably, they will be soon.

And may the New Year be happier, brighter, and more hopeful than the year we are leaving behind.



Wed Dec 30, 2020

Suspended: Refuel the Resistance, 6pm - 8pm
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee

Bounce Milwaukee is closed, including delivery and carryout, until the COVID-19 spread in our area is under control. More information.

Sat Jan 2, 2021

Stand for Peace, 12pm - 1pm

Stand for Peace may be canceled due to the skyrocketing Covid numbers. Check for more information. Organized by Peace Action Wisconsin.

Mon Jan 4, 2021

Virtual Drinking Liberally Waukesha, 6:30pm - 6:30pm

Drinking Liberally Waukesha may be held virtually with Zoom. Check for updates.

Wed Jan 6, 2021

Suspended: Refuel the Resistance, 6pm - 8pm
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee

Bounce Milwaukee is closed, including delivery and carryout, until the COVID-19 spread in our area is under control. More information.

ACLU: Racism in Criminal Justice, 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Join a webinar about the ACLU's multiyear effort to reduce the U.S. jail and prison population and to fight racism in the criminal legal system. Information on joining the webinar will be sent after registration. Register.

Info: Laughing Liberally MKE, 8:30pm - 9:30pm

For information on the latest Laughing Liberally offerings go here.

Thu Jan 7, 2021

Postponed: DPMC Issues Committee Meeting, 4:30pm - 4:30pm
Amalgamated Transit Union, 734 N. 26th St., Milwaukee

The Democratic Party's Issues Committee holds its meeting on the first Thursday of each month. All Democrats are welcome to participate.

Sat Jan 9, 2021

UN Association of MKE, 10am - 12pm

This meeting seems to be suspended for the time being. More information.

Stand for Peace, 12pm - 1pm

Stand for Peace may be canceled due to the skyrocketing Covid numbers. Check for more information. Organized by Peace Action Wisconsin.

Mon Jan 11, 2021

Grass Roots South Shore Meeting, 6pm - 8pm
Cudahy Library, 3500 Library Dr., Cudahy

Grass Roots South Shore holds its monthly meeting on the second Monday of each month. For more information call Jim Balk, 414-218-5944.

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