Make your voice heard

Last week, the League of Progressive Seniors held a webinar on the disenfranchisement of people with mobility issues. Mark Thompsen, a member of the Wisconsin Election Commission, spoke eloquently about the ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court that enjoined the use of drop boxes and prohibited anyone other than the voters from taking absentee ballots either to their municipal clerk's office or to their mailbox. The limitations will significantly impact the disabled. You can watch the program (1 hour) on YouTube.

Unfortunately, it's not easy to figure out how many voters are likely to be affected for the upcoming April 5 election — or for the August 9 primary and the November 8 general elections should the Supreme Court rule on the matter for those elections too. But Wisconsin is a closely divided state both in presidential elections and in gubernatorial ones. After all, Governor Evers won office in 2018 by only 1.1% of the votes and President Biden won here by a slim 20,608 votes. Some data, however, suggest the effects could be substantial.

About 17.5% of Wisconsin's population is over 65 years old. Not all elderly are disabled nor do all disabled people have trouble voting, of course, but in a population estimated to be approximately 5,895,908, the group most heavily affected are likely to be the elderly. In Wisconsin, the over-65 population is about 1,031,784 people. According to Wisconsin Election Commission, there are 959,199 registered voters over 65 — the largest age group on the rolls. But the figure may be an undercount because people who registered to vote before 2005 do not have a birth date on file with the voter registration system. According to the Journal Sentinel," Rutgers University's Fact Sheet on Disability and Voter Turnout in the 2018 Elections found a 10.4% gap in Wisconsin voter turnout between citizens with and without disabilities." (The data for the 2020 election are also available.)

In an article titled "The Era of Easier Voting for Disabled People Is Over," The Atlantic reported on the nationwide participation of disabled voters:

Nearly 62 percent of Americans with disabilities voted in 2020, a surge of nearly 6 percentage points over 2016, or 1.7 million more voters. The number of disabled voters reporting difficulties while voting also dropped significantly; in 2020, 11 percent of disabled voters reported having problems, down from 26 percent in 2012, according to an Election Assistance Commission report. That’s not to say voting was suddenly simple: Mail-in ballots aren’t easier for everyone, including those with visual or cognitive disabilities. And in 2020, disabled Americans were still roughly 7 percent less likely to vote than nondisabled Americans.

So the problem of disallowing anyone other than the voter from returning an absentee ballot and disallowing drop boxes, which can be accessible from a vehicle and are available outside of regular business hours, seriously impacts the ability of the disabled and the elderly to vote. According to Mark Thompsen, the only recourse we have right now is to petition the individual members of the court. Here's what you should do.

  1. Petition the seven Supreme Court Justices. Write each of them a letter and send it to —
    Office of Justices
    Attn: name of justice
    16 East State Capitol
    PO Box 1688
    Madison, WI 53701-1688

  2. Share with others, especially those who are themselves likely to be affected by the injunction.
The justices are: Hon. Annette K. Ziegler (Chief Justice), Hon., Ann Walsh Bradly, Hon. Patience D. Roggensack, Hon. Rebecca G. Bradley, Hon. Rebecca F. Dallet, Hon. Brian K. Hagedorn, Hon. Jill J. Karofsky.

And while I'm discussing ACTION ITEMS, here are three that Grassroots North Shore is pursuing ahead of the April 5 election:
  1. Distributing flyers to households of strong Democratic women in Brown Deer, Fox Point, and Whitefish Bay.

  2. Phoning people in the Mequon-Thiensville School District to turn out the vote for two of the candidates running for school board and an incumbent judge running for a seat on the Appeals Court District 2.

  3. Writing postcards to strong Democratic women in Ozaukee County to turn out the vote for Judge Lori Kornblum running for election to the Appeals Court District 2 she currently sits on. She's a member of Grassroots North Shore and we have endorsed her.
We're almost ready to begin distributing flyers and phoning in the Mequon-Thiensville School District. And we should be ready to begin writing postcards in about 2 weeks. Please volunteer for at least one of these activities by contacting our Co-Chair Norma Gilson or Nancy Kaplan. Please put "GRNS volunteer"in the subject line.

Finally, I'll just mention that the fringy right has turned its attention to undermining public education, both in Wisconsin and in the nation. At least 16 efforts at school board recall elections have been mounted here! I'm happy to report that all of them failed. But it's important to be informed about the issues and to urge your family and friends to know who is running in your area and to turn out to vote for sensible people. You can find out more about the issues by watching the video of our last event: "School Boards Under Attack." And you can find out who is running in your school district on our page for 2022 School Board Elections. That page also provides links to candidates' information so that you can discover at least some of their positions.


Tuesday, February 22

#MadAboutMapsDay, All Day, Every Day
Your own home

The Fair Maps Coalition is organizing a social media day of action to raise awareness about the popular policy priorities that are not being addressed because of rigged voting district maps - #MadAboutMaps. What issues do you care about that are not being addressed by our state legislature? No matter what issue concerns you most, the lack of responsiveness from state legislators can be directly linked to the rigged voting district maps. Here’s a Mad About Maps: Sample Script you can adapt to talk about the issue that matters to you. Record yourself talking about rigged maps and then text or email it to FMC Communications Director Jacob Malinowski. He will put captions on it and send it back to you. Then post it on your social media and share with your networks on March 15. Sign up to participate.

Grassroots Donor Townhall, 6:00 – 7:00pm

WisDems Chair Ben Wikler is hosting a virtual townhall to share the highlights of the February 15th elections and the work to come ahead of Wisconsin's April elections.This event is exclusively for our monthly donors. More information and registration.

Marcelia Nicholson Fundraiser, 6:30 – 7:30pm

A fundraiser for the reelection campaign of Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson will feature Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Gwen Moore, and other office holders. Contribution levels: $1,000, $500, $250, $100. Donations of any amount gratefully accepted! RSVP.

MICAH Black History Event, 7:00pm — 9:00pm

Join MICAH for its Annual Black History fundraising event. Hear about the history and work of the Black Nurses Association and the work of the MKE Black Grassroots Health Equity Network. Tickets are $20. More information and registration.

Wednesday, February 23

Community Justice Council, 9:30am — 11:00am

Milwaukee Community Justice Council Meeting of the Whole will have an Online/Virtual meeting. More information.

On the Issues: Joel Brennan, 12:15 – 1:15pm

Joel Brennan, the new president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, will speak about his priorities: improving K-12 education, economic opportunity, workforce development, and infrastructure, and his views the future of the GMC. The live, virtual discussion will be available via the “Watch Now” button on February 23.

Thursday, February 24

Mental Health Board Meeting, 9:00am — 9:00am

This is a teleconference meeting (see Agenda for details). More information.

In The Wash: A Virtual Workshop About Wisconsin Water Quality, 6pm - 8pm

Whether we live on 100 acres in Vernon County or in the heart of Milwaukee we all need, and deserve, clean, fresh water. Water is life! Unfortunately Wisconsin water is under attack from lead pipes, factory farming, PFAS pollution, and fossil fuel companies. Our water must remain clean from our drinking water to our trout streams! You can help protect our water by joining us for our "In the Wash' an interactive, virtual event. You will walk away from this event with actions you can take RIGHT AWAY to help protect Wisconsin waters! Don't forget clean water is on the ballot this election year! RSVP here.

WISDOM: Transformational Justice Campaign, 6:30pm - 8pm

Taking On Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin. Register here.

Saturday, February 26

Stand for Peace, 12:00 – 1:00pm
27th Street & National Avenue, Milwaukee

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

Tuesday, March 1

Fat Tuesday Virtual Trivia Fun, 7:00pm — 8:00pm

The Ozaukee Dems are sponsoring this fun virtual event. Grab your goodie bag complete with its very own hurricane, then tune in for fun online trivia with fellow dems. Be sure to invite your friends - play as a team! Save your spot and get your goodie bag!

Wednesday, March 2

Living Liberally Waukesha, 6:30pm — 8:00pm
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.

Saturday, March 5

Stand for Peace, 12:00 – 1:00pm
Brady Street & Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee

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

other important links

Milwaukee County Democratic Party

Ozaukee County Democratic Party

Become a Member of Grassroots North Shore


Support Grassroots North Shore


Visit Grassroots North Shore on Facebook and Like Us!


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