what's happening to our elections

The most important news item today is the ruling the District 4 Court of Appeals issued yesterday. It restores our ability to use drop boxes for the February 5 non-partisan primary. (See the story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online or one in the Wisconsin Examiner.) It also allows people other than the voter to return absentee ballots. Both issues are addressed only temporarily. That's because there's a general rule that changes to voting procedures should not be issued too close to an election to avoid confusion and possible disenfranchisement of voters who have not learned the new rules. Absentee ballots are already being mailed to voters. So if you have not yet done so, you should request your absentee ballot NOW. You can use myvote.wi.gov or you can send an email request to your municipal clerk. You'll find phone numbers for most of our municipalities on our early voting information page.

While I'm on the subject of elections, Grassroots North Shore has gathered information on the candidates running for non-partisan local offices. We know, or should have recently learned, how vital these offices are. So visit our 2022 Elections page. We have a page for early voting information, one for Milwaukee County Supervisors, one for school boards, one for municipal elections, one for the District 2 Court of Appeals, and one for Milwaukee County Judges. The page on drop box locations (as of the 2020 election) is also up.  Drop Boxes are available for ballots at least for this first election of 2022. And make a plan to vote!

Also, don't miss the Grassroots North Shore Annual Meeting, coming up on Zoom on Sunday, February 6, at 7pm. We're presenting speakers knowledgable about attacks on school boards — Wisconsin-based education journalist Barbara Miner, and Milwaukee Public School Board President, Robert Peterson. (So RSVP already!) As you might remember, there was a recall election for the Mequon-Thiensville school board in November, 2021. It failed! And it failed big-time because people came out to vote. Now we have to do it again. One of the people running for a seat in the primary is trying again. And she has company. Both Scarlett Johnson and Jill Chromy have major backing from the fringy right of the Republican party. The primary will eliminate one of the five candidates, leaving four contenders for the April election. Talk to your friends, co-workers, family who live in the district and urge them to vote for the other candidates so we can try to repeat our success from last fall.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral arguments on proposed legislative maps from the parties to the lawsuit and from various groups who sent amicus briefs in support of various maps. The court had earlier ruled that it would not look at partisan gerrymandering in selecting a map and that it would really only consider so-called "least change" maps. Conveniently, however, the court failed to define what "least change" means. And sure enough, there was plenty of argument about whether to consider how many voters would have to be moved to new districts — the governor's map was most successful at meeting this criterion — or whether the key would be districts that contain equal numbers of voters. Oddly enough (heavy on the snarkiness), the lawyer representing the GOP legislature argued vociferously for the latter standard, even though it would not preserve the present maps as much as possible. A ruling on the maps should be issued soon.

In the flurry of redistricting happening in all 50 states now, Democrats and progressives have feared that Republican-controlled states would use as much power as they could muster to gerrymander the heck out of the maps to maximize their advantage. And in a few states, like Ohio and North Carolina, they have indeed tried to do that. But the Ohio maps have been struck down by the state's Supreme Court, and there are lawsuits over the North Carolina maps also. It turns out that our fears may be a tad overblown. See a succinct account of it on Rick Hasen's Election Law Blog. And Marc Elias's Democracy Docket has a nifty round up of the redistricting process for each state. You can find that article here.

Making the Most of Infrastructure Dollars, 8:00am
American Family Field Restaurant, Milwaukee

Join WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com for a special breakfast on the topic: “Making the Most of New Federal Infrastructure Dollars.” Doors will open at 8 a.m. at the restaurant and a moderated panel discussion will start at 8:30 a.m. Registration is open until January 27 and cost is $20. Registration and more information.

WISDON: Transformational Justice Campaign, 6:30pm — 8pm
Zoom

Taking On Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin. This event occurs every Thursday until February 24, 2022 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. via Zoom. The Zoom information is the same for all sessions. Session 1: January 24, Session 2: February 3, Session 3: February 10, Session 4: February 17, Session 5: February 24. For questions, email. Register here.

Saturday, February 5

Stand for Peace, 12:00 – 1:00pm
Capitol Drive & Teutonia Avenue, Milwaukee

Stand for Peace has resumed in-person events with masks and social distancing. Check for more information. Organized by Peace Action Wisconsin.

Sunday, February 6

Grassroots North Shore Annual Meeting, 7pm — 8:30 pm
Zoom

School Boards Under Attack. Who’s behind these attacks, and why? Are the abusive rhetoric and challenges to school board incumbents a grassroots phenomenon, or do shadowy backers provide the funds and pull the strings? After a brief business meeting, Wisconsin-based education journalist Barbara Miner, and Milwaukee Public School Board President, Robert Peterson, will help us peek behind the curtain. RSVP.

Notable Upcoming Event

Saturday, February 12

UN Association of Greater Milwaukee, 10am — 12pm
Zoom

Pushing Peace in the 2022 Elections: Join the Planning! Featuring Four Milwaukee Peace Activists Discussing How To Bring Foreign Policy Issues To The Candidates And Voters. A Virtual Zoom Program – Free & Open to the Public – Preregistration is Required. The activists include Jim Carpenter, Steve Watrous, Pam Richard, and Sharaka Berry. Advance registration is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the meeting. For more information: Contact Steve Watrous at 414.429.7567 / [email protected].

EVENTS

Tuesday, January 25

Creator of The 1619 Project, 6:30pm
UW-Madison Union and Virtual

An Evening with Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of The 1619 Project, staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, and co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting. Hannah-Jones will reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through the lens of her award-winning work investigating racial injustice and the consequences of slavery in American history. The presentation will be followed by Q&A with questions submitted prior to the event. More information and registration (required).

Wednesday, January 26

Marquette Univ. Supreme Court Poll, 5:00am
Online

The Marquette Law School Poll will release results pertaining to public opinion about the U.S. Supreme Court. This is the sixth installment in a series of nationwide surveys measuring public perception and awareness of the nation’s highest court. Results will be available online starting at 5:00am. More information.

David Crowley Reception, 5:30 – 6:30pm
Zoom

Virtual reception to support the campaign of County Executive David Crowley. Sponsorship Levels: Host: $500, County Executive’s Club: $400, Sponsor: $250. Friend: $100. RSVP.

Thursday, January 27

Mental Health Board Meeting9am
Teleconference

This is a teleconference meeting (see Agenda for details). Public Comment: none. More information.

Marquette Univ Political Poll, 5:00pm
Online

The Marquette Law School Poll will release results pertaining to public opinion on favorability toward certain politicians, confidence in the results of the 2020 election, and the ideological positions of the parties. Results will be available online starting at 5:00am. More information.

WISDON: Transformational Justice Campaign, 6:30pm — 8pm
Zoom

Taking On Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin. This event occurs every Thursday until February 24, 2022 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. via Zoom. The Zoom information is the same for all sessions. Session 1: January 24, Session 2: February 3, Session 3: February 10, Session 4: February 17, Session 5: February 24. For questions, email [email protected] Register here.

Renewal Energy Summit, 7:30 – 8:30pm
Monona Terrace, Madison or Virtual

This event sponsored by Renew Wisconsin, “All Roads Lead to Clean Energy,” will highlight the convergence of methods, technologies, people, and scale at the intersection of Wisconsin’s energy transformation. More information and registration.

Saturday, January 29

Milwaukee Mayor Candidate Forum, 9:00 – 10:00am
Online

Join Citizen Action of Wisconsin for the only Mayoral Candidate Forum before the Primary on February 15th. Earnell Lucas, Marina Dimitrijevic, Lena Taylor, and Chevy Johnson are the invited candidates. RSVP.

Voces de la Frontera Assembly, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Zoom

The annual Voces de la Frontera assembly is open to all supporters, but only members who are current in their dues will have the opportunity to vote in Voces leadership elections. More information. Registration.

Stand for Peace, 12:00 – 1:00pm
76th Street & North Avenue, Milwaukee

Stand for Peace has resumed in-person events with masks and social distancing. Check for more information. Organized by Peace Action Wisconsin.

Monday, January 31

2022 Mayoral Candidate Forum, 6pm — 7:30pm
Zoom

Milwaukee voters have the opportunity to elect a new mayor this spring! The candidates attending will be Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, Bob Donovan, Ieshuh Griffin, Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson, Sheriff Earnell Lucas, Michael Sampson, and Senator Lena Taylor. Emilio De Torre of the Milwaukee Turners will be the moderator. Sign up https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DVneOBEfQ-aMGTs1EXA0sw

Wednesday, February 2

Josh Kaul Virtual Fundraiser, 6:00 – 7:00pm
Zoom

You’re invited to a virtual birthday fundraiser in support of Josh Kaul’s campaign for re-election as Attorney General of Wisconsin. Donation levels: Highway: $1000, State Road: $500, County Road: $250, Local Road: $100. Suggested donation: $50. RSVP.

Living Liberally Waukesha, 6:30pm
Club 400, 322 Williams St., Waukesha

Living Liberally Waukesha meets on the first Wednesday of the month, in the upstairs bar at Club 400. All attendees should be vaccinated and wear masks when not eating or drinking.

Thursday, February 3

 


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