Early Voting Begins Today!

Today is the first day of early in-person voting. Our election coverage includes information about the hours of early voting for communities on the North Shore and the southern half of Ozaukee County. In general early in-person voting takes place in the clerk's office of your municipality. It's often a good idea to call first. You'll find a phone number on the Early Voting Info page as well. You will need to take an approved photo ID. And if you need to register before you vote, you will need proof of residence as well. Check a page from MyVote for information about what kinds of proof of residency are needed. For questions about voting issues, you can contact Common Cause Wisconsin's Election Protection at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683). For Spanish, use this number: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682). Please pass this information along, especially to young people or first-time voters!

Voting rights continue to be a litigated both here and in other states. The Wisconsin Supreme Court's approved maps have been appealed to the United States Supreme Court on the grounds that the Assembly map creates an additional — and according the the appeal unconstitutional — majority-minority district. The argument is aimed at the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and claims that the electoral maps are primarily based on racial criteria. Of course the VRA actually stipulates that creating majority-minority districts protects the voting rights of minorities by enabling them to elect candidates of their choice. So far no word on whether the court will consider the appeal. Meanwhile, time is running out to change the maps because potential candidates have to know district lines before they can begin circulating nomination papers. And the date for the start of that process is April 1, a mere nine days away.

In other news about redistricting, The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio “House Republicans are discussing whether to impeach Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor after the Ohio Supreme Court rejected a third set of legislative maps and effectively ended all hope of a full May 3rd primary." In rejecting the maps, the court wrote that "The commission should retain an independent map drawer – who answers to all commission members, not only to the Republican legislative leaders – to draft a plan through a transparent process." (Sounds right, and familiar.) In New Hampshire, Republican Governor Chris Sununu "said ... he will veto the congressional redistricting map approved by his fellow Republicans in the New Hampshire Legislature." NH has two congressional seats so the GOP decided to ensure that one seat was safely Republican and the other safely Democratic. Sununu opined that the effort didn't "pass the smell test." Election Law Blog has the story.

The news out of Ukraine becomes more dismal every day. But the Ukrainian military and the country's citizens continue to hold their own. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the "Russian military has lost more than 10% of the combat force that President Vladimir Putin sent to invade Ukraine, a senior Pentagon official said Tuesday." In addition, "Russia continues to have problems supplying its troops in Ukraine with food, fuel and weaponry, the official said. Some soldiers have suffered frostbite because they don’t have proper cold-weather gear. There are signs that they are having trouble keeping ships fueled at sea, the official said." In the last few days, Ukraine has even pushed the Russian military back a bit, according to the live updates on the war in both the New York Times and the Washington Post.

In disturbing news, it appears that COVID-19 is not done with us. On March 18, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the presence of the virus in Milwaukee's wastewater is once again increasing. As the New York Times put it, "Another Covid Surge May Be Coming. Are We Ready for It?" But it looks as if there's no "maybe" about it: "Latest version of omicron accounts for most new infections in many parts of the U.S., genomics testing shows" according to the Washington Post. So if you are not yet boosted, now's the time. However, the FDA is in no hurry to issue an authorization for a 2nd booster shot. Here's what the New York Times had to say: "It’s hard to predict how soon — or if — the F.D.A. might authorize a second booster (or fourth dose) for all adults. The agency is expected to convene an advisory committee next month to discuss the issue. And while experts say it’s reasonable that the committee might move swiftly on Pfizer’s application for older adults, it is unclear if Moderna’s more sweeping request [for all adults] will get the green light."

Finally, there's an under-the-radar local story that is now getting some traction. The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust wants to preserve the Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs for public use. Assemblywoman Deb Andraca emailed supporters about it last week. The Land Trust has raised a lot of public and private funds but needs a grant from the DNR's Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund. However, an anonymous objection from one member of the Joint Finance Committee has stalled the proposal. The committee has failed to hold a public hearing on the issue. Representative Andraca urges that "anyone who cares about preserving the most beautiful pieces of Wisconsin to contact members of the Joint Finance Committee and demand a public hearing on this issue." You can find which legislators are on that committee on this Wisconsin State Legislature page. Clicking on the name of each legislator will provide you with contact information. Consider this your ACTION ITEM of the week.

ALSO MAKE SURE YOU VOTE. And that goes for friends and family too. If you have received an absentee ballot, make sure you return it, either by taking it to your municipal clerk during regular business hours or by popping it in the mail by Tuesday, March 29! For this election, absentee ballots put into municipal drop boxes will not be counted. Also, you cannot help someone else by putting their ballot in the mail or taking it to the municipal clerk for them. This "rule" is especially difficult for eligible voters who are disabled and will undoubtedly disenfranchise many of them. See the Journal Sentinel story.

EVENTS

Wednesday, March 23

Ozaukee Dems Text/Phone Bank, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Virtual

Help us reach out to dem friendly voters via text and phone to remind them how important the April 5 election is. Email [email protected] to register.

Wednesday, March 23

Rally for Police Transparency, 5:00pm - 6:00pm
City Hall, 200 E. Wells St., Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression will be holding a rally outside of City Hall for police transparency. It is demanding the following changes in procedure:
    •  Names of officers involved in police misconduct must be released within 24 hours
    •  All footage related to police misconduct must be released within 48 hours
More information.

Josh Kaul Fundraiser/Environment, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Zoom

Attorney General Josh Kaul will have a virtual conversation on environmental issues with Wisconsin Conservation Voters Executive Director Kerry Schumann. Sponsorship levels: Host: $2500, Co-Host: $1000, Sponsor: $500, Supporter: $250, Friend: $100. Suggested donation: $25. RSVP or [email protected].

Saturday, March 26

Election Phone Bank, 9:00am – 6:00pm
Virtual

Sign up for a shift with the Democratic phone bank to encourage voters to participate in the Spring election. You can make calls from home! Shifts: 9am-12pm, 12pm-3pm, 3pm-6pm. Sign up.

Weekend of Action with the Dems, 9am - 6pm
Virtual

Milwaukee County's Democratic Party is holding a Weekend of Action on March 26 (shifts at 9-noon, noon-3pm, and 3-6pm) and on March 27 (shifts at 9-noon, noon-3pm, and 3-6pm). Also the Spring GOTV Canvassing in Milwaukee: Help Get Out The VOTE in South shore Milwaukee by Canvassing for the 2022 Spring General Election. Folks can GOTV. We need to talk to as many Wisconsinites in Milwaukee to make sure they are aware of the competitive Mayoral race between Democrat Cavalier Johnson and Rep Bob Donovan this Spring elections April 5th & are able to request their ballots. We know these elections will come down to a handful of votes, so it is crucial that we talk to voters now.

4th CD Convention, 12:00 – 3:00pm
Zoom

The annual convention of the 4th Congressional District Democrats will be virtual. Delegates and guests may attend. Members with a current paid membership with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and who are registered with their county party can be a delegate to the 4th Congressional District Convention and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin State Convention. You can pay your membership fees and join the Democratic Party of Wisconsin prior to the start of the convention. Delegates to these two conventions elect officers of both bodies and help determine the direction of our state and National Democratic Party through passage of resolutions, rules, constitutional, and bylaw changes. Registration.

Stand for Peace, 12:00 – 1:00pm
92nd 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.

Sunday, March 27

Election Phone Bank, 9:00am – 3:00pm
Virtual

Shifts: 9am-12pm. 12pm-3pm. Sign up.

Gala Awards Dinner, 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Italian Community Center, 631 E. Chicago Street, Milwaukee

Please join us for the Milwaukee County annual awards dinner. Honorees to be recognized at the 2022 dinner: Democrat of the Year (in 2020): Timothy Posnanski; Elected Official of the Year (in 2020): George Christianson; Rising Star (in 2020): Megan Holbrook; Lifetime Achievement: Greg Walz-Chojnacki. In addition, we will give a special award to the late Jeremy Levinson: Defender of Democracy. Attendees must provide proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test within 72 hours of the event. Please RSVP names and dietary needs by Friday March 18th to [email protected] More Information and Registration.

Tuesday, March 29

Gerrymandering Trends, 12:00 – 1:00pm
Virtual

A Princeton scholar will talk about national trends in gerrymandering and redistricting, including what is happening in Wisconsin. Registration (required).

Ozaukee Dems Text/Phone Bank, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Virtual

Help us reach out to dem friendly voters via text and phone to remind them how important the April 5 election is. Email [email protected] to register.

Wednesday, March 30

Public Perception of the Supreme Court, 11:00am – 12:00pm
Zoom

Dr. Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll, will discuss the public’s perception of the U.S. Supreme Court as its decisions and makeup take center stage in U.S. public life. Registration.

When Is a Debt to Society Paid? 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Zoom

This webinar on corrections and when a debt to society is paid will feature formerly incarcerated people, faith leaders, community members, corrections employees, victim advocates, and legislators. Registration.

Stand for Peace, 12:00pm – 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.

Friday, April 1

Oregon Area Progressives Voting Rights Program, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Facebook Live Streaming

Are you concerned about voting rights? Join us on Friday, April 1, 2022, on Face Book Live to get an update on voting rights legislation and what we must do to protect our rights. From 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Erin Grunze, consultant with the Voting Rights Lab and Common Cause will be our guest speaker.


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