Referedums and other questions

Grassroots North Shore's RESCUE LADY JUSTICE event this past Sunday was a wonderful chance to hear from and ask questions of several candidates. If you missed it, you will be able to watch a video of it in a few days. As a result of that event, Grassroots North Shore is announcing its endorsements. You can read the rationals for these choices on our website:

I'd like to say a bit more about the referendums. The first two questions will appear on all Wisconsin ballots and are the proposed amendments to the Wisconsin constitution. Both hinge on a phrase found in the legislative language but not in the language presented on the ballot. In Question 1, the current constitutional text reads that a judge can impose pre-conviction conditions "that are designed to protect members of the community from serious bodily harm." But the legislative language of the amendment would strike the word "bodily" and add the key phrase "as defined by the legislature by law."

In Question 2, the key phrase appears as part of a long proposed addition that provides copious detail about when a judge can impose cash bail. It adds language specifying that cash bail can be imposed "if the person is accused of a violent crime as defined by the legislature by law." In both cases, the key phrase specifies that the legislature has the power to define both what constitutes "harm" (in Question 1) and what counts as a violent crime (in Question 2).

So it is that phrase — "as defined by the legislature by law" — that gives the legislature new power, power that is currently part of a judge's discretion. The ballot language fails to include this crucial information about what the amendments would actually accomplish. And that's a key reason why we are leaning toward a "NO" vote on both questions.

In addition to Questions 1 and 2, all voters in Wisconsin will see Question 3. Although the difference between the effect of Question 3 and the first two questions is not apparent, at least on my sample ballot, it is simply advisory. In other words, the question appears on the ballot to encourage a people with a somewhat punitive view of those who receive welfare benefits to vote in this rather low turnout election. It asks whether "able-bodied childless adults [should] be required to look for work in order to receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits." Wisconsin already has a requirement that they look for work in order to receive unemployment insurance. A similar requirement for Wisconsin Foodshare has been waived during the coronavirus pandemic.

In Milwaukee County, a 4th question — also simply an advisory one — appears on the ballot. (Other jurisdictions may also have additional advisory questions on their ballots.) Question 4 asks whether "Wisconsin Statute 940.04, which bans abortion at any stage of pregnancy without exception for rape, incest, or health of the patient, [should] be repealed to allow legal access to abortion care." It is clearly designed to attract voters who believe women should be free to receive reproductive health care without interference from the state.

Turning to the race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, you should save the date. On March 21, Judge Janet Protasiewicz and Dan Kelly are set to debate for the first and only time. Sponsored by the State Bar of Wisconsin, WISC-TV and WisPolitics, it will be televised live. Judge Protasiewicz is being attacked for declining to engage in additional debates. When she was asked why at the Grassroots North Shore's RESCUE LADY JUSTICE event, she gave a perfectly reasonable response. She is campaigning for the seat on the Supreme Court while she continues to work at her current, full-time job. So time constraints, rather than some other objection, underlies her choice. According to a post by WisPolitics, "The March 21 debate will be livestreamed by It will then be replayed at 4 p.m. by WISC-TV and WKBT-TV."

Absentee ballots that have already been requested will begin to be mailed today. If you have not already requested one, the time to do it is NOW and the place to do it is While you're there, you should also check your sample ballot so you will know exactly what will be on it. Prepare to fill out your absentee ballot as soon as you receive it. In the February primary, unfortunately, 75 otherwise valid ballots were delivered to the Glendale municipal clerk the day after the election and therefore could not be counted. There are just two ways to return an absentee ballot:

  1. Put it in the US Mail.
  2. Hand deliver it to your municipal clerk during regular business hours.

A word of caution about both methods. Legally, all voters must mail their ballots themselves (although it would be hard for anyone to know who placed the ballot in a mailbox). The same holds true for taking a ballot to the municipal clerk. The clerk will refuse to accept a ballot delivered by someone other than the voter of the ballot!

And a word about our digital presence. Grassroots North Shore is expanding its digital presence. In addition to our website, our Facebook page, and our Twitter page, we now have a spiffy new Instagram page. You really should check it out!

Finally, ahead of this vital election, I have changed the way I list some events. So you will see a special section devoted to canvassing and phoning voters. Some people, like me, can no longer canvass. But we can buddy up with someone who can and drive them through the turf they're working. It saves the canvasser a lot of time. And you can phone voters, an activity many people dislike. But I always say, like an eye doctor, "is it better 1 or 2." Is it better to grit your teeth and phone or lose the election? You know what the right answer is. When the future of the state and perhaps of the nation at stake, each of us must do as much as we can to win this election! The links allow you to sign up for several canvasses or phone banks. So get busy.


Canvassing is probably the most important way you can help secure victories for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Janet Protasiewicz, Senate District 8 candidate Jodi Habush Sinykin, and Milwaukee Appellate Court candidate Sara Geenen. We've organized into Neighborhood Action Teams. Here are the links to sign up for the one that's most convenient for you. Each sign-up page has multiple day and shift options.

Join the WisDems for a phone bank! We will be calling voters to talk about the importance of voting in the State Supreme Court race and encouraging voters to make a plan to vote! Phoning takes place on many days and at many times. Go to a comprehensive listing and sign up.


Write letters for the Wisconsin Supreme Court election with Vote Forward. We're sending the letters out on Tuesday, March 28. Overview: Help encourage Democratic-leaning voters to vote in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election by April 4, 2023. Background: The next Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice will rule on important issues that affect everyone in Wisconsin. Our letters can help provide more information about the candidates and motivate Democratic-leaning voters to participate in this critical election.Targeting: Fellow citizens who are unlikely to vote but likely to vote for Democrats when they do cast a ballot. Goal: This campaign seeks to increase voter turnout. This is a project of Vote Forward. Sign up.

Be a Poll Observer: the Voter Protection Project needs a lot more poll observers. It is our duty to remain diligent and protect our democracy. That’s why we’ve been building a team of poll observers to ensure every precinct’s voting process is smooth, fair, and equitable. Poll observers are the eyes and ears for our voter protection team at critical polling locations across the state. Without poll observers, we can’t rapidly respond to important issues at polling places as they arise. There are 3 Election Day poll observer shift options: All-Day (6:30am-8:30pm - this is our greatest need), AM (6:30am-1:30pm), or PM (1:30pm-8:30pm). You will have plenty of opportunities for breaks and meals throughout the day, and a place to sit down. Sign up.


Read and pass along a Guide to the 2023 Supreme Court Race from The Guide includes

  • a section on why your vote in this race matters;
  • a section providing an overview of the candidates's qualifications and positions on key issues like abortion and redistricting/gerrymandering;
  • a section on how to register and vote in this election, with dates and deadlines.

You can download a pdf or the Guide in English and En Español.

For additional information about the state candidates and the races in your community, visit our 2023 Elections pages. The index page has links to each community where you will find the names of candidates for each office and links to the online information we've been able to gather for each candidate.

The Democratic Party of Milwaukee County has Judge Janet Protasiewicz signs at the Office. Please stop in to pick one up! Location: 2999 S Delaware St, Milwaukee, WI 53221. Hours: Monday - Wednesday, 10:00am - 2:00pm. Thursday - Sunday: CLOSED. Office Phone: (414) 269-9287; Office Email: [email protected]. To make sure some are available, it's wise to call ahead.

Grassroots North Shore will also be distributing signs for Janet Protasiewicz and Jodi Habush Sinikin. I will let you know how to get them as soon as I know.


Tuesday, March 14

Jodi Habush Sinykin Meet and Greet, 5:00 - 7:00pm
Trouble & Sons Pizzeria, 133 E Silver Spring Drive, Whitefish Bay

Wisconsin Jewish Democrats is honored to co-sponsor this event. Jodi's victory in this election will positively affect the entire state, boosting the governor's veto power and bringing one more needed voice and vote representing Jewish and democratic values. This event is a fundraiser but even small amounts will be gratefully received. Come meet Jodi and enjoy outstanding pizza! Sponsored by Debra & Moshe Katz, Lisa & Craig Zetley, Ellie Gettinger, Lisa & Eli Frank, Wisconsin Jewish Democrats. RSVP.

Wednesday, March 15

Voting Rights Panel, 6:30 - 8:00pm
North Avenue Market, 5900 W North Ave, Milwaukee

Less than a month till Election Day! Come join us at North Ave. Market as we discuss the effects of gerrymandering and voter suppression in our day to day lives with Former LG. Mandela Barnes, House Rep. Gwen Moore, NAACP & more! RSVP.

Ozaukee County Democrats Meeting, 7:00 - 8:00pm
1930 Wisconsin AvenueGrafton

Join us for our in person general meetings the third Wednesday of each month at our Grafton office (1930 Wisconsin Ave. upper level by the hardware store). Zoom link sent to paid members. We look forward to seeing you there at 7 pm.

Saturday, March 18

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Farwell and Brady

Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday. Join us.

Sunday, March 19

FRIENDraiser for Jodi Habush Sinykin, 7:00 - 8:00pm

Why should you meet Jodi? It is because this race is incredibly consequential to Wisconsin’s future, especially the future of women's healthcare. I truly did not realize the extent to which Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion law will jeopardize all aspects of women's healthcare, not simply abortion. Bottom line, Jodi is fighting for every woman's right to make her own personal healthcare decisions—decisions that should not be made by politicians. During next Sunday’s Zoom, several local OB/GYN doctors will share how Wisconsin’s pre-Civil War abortion law targeting healthcare providers is already compromising Wisconsin women’s healthcare options and already deterring young doctors and families from wanting to live here. The discussion will be informative and there will be ample time for you to ask questions. Invite your pro-choice friends and drop in on Zoom to hear from the candidate herself. Zoom link.

Monday, March 20

Democratic Party of Milwaukee County Monthly Meeting, 6:00 - 7:30pm
734 N. 26th St, Milwaukee

Join us for our third membership meeting of 2023! We will host our Women's History Month program, discuss the urgent Spring 2023 elections and perhaps hear from candidates!

Tuesday, March 21

An All-Star Democratic Lineup for Judge Janet, 5:30 - 7:30pm
The Tinsmith, 828 E. Main St. Madison, WI 53703

Wisconsin’s top Democrats are coming together in support of Judge Protasiewicz, including Congressman Mark Pocan, former State Treasurer Sara Godlewski, Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard, Assembly Minority Leader Greta Neubauer and some of your favorite state legislators. RSVP to join them in Madison on March 21st, or simply donate.

Vote Forward Letter Writing Party, 7:00 - 8:00pm

Join Vote Forward and volunteers across the country in writing letters to voters in Wisconsin ahead of the state supreme court election happening on April 4. The laws passed by state legislatures and interpreted by state courts have far-reaching consequences on everything from abortion access to voting rights to fair maps to safeguarding our national elections. That’s why the work we do together this year will have a real impact on Wisconsin's future—and the future of our country. Sign up.

Saturday, March 25

Democracy Town Hall, 10:00am - 12:00pm
St Gabriels Church of God, 5363 N 37th St, Milwaukee

Join our community leaders and notable guests as we discuss the upcoming Wisconsin election and what it means for democracy. Everyone, regardless of political persuasion, is invited and welcome. The latest Supreme Court race in Wisconsin has been labeled “The most important election no one has heard of” for a reason. The Wisconsin State Supreme Court may decide who gets Wisconsin’s vote for president in 2024.Along with our esteemed partners, Souls to the Polls, Wisconsin Voices, NextGen America, VoteRiders and Milwaukee Turners, we will bring election awareness, democracy defender connections, and overall fun to Wisconsin. Sign up.

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Capitol and Teutonia

Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday. Join us.

Sunday, March 26

Defenders of Democracy Milwaukee Gala, 5:30 - 9:30pm
Italian Community Center, 631 E Chicago St, Milwaukee

Join us for our big night: Cocktails at 5:30. Dinner at 6:30. This year we are recognizing these champions of democracy:
     •  Democrat of the Year: Mandela Barnes
     •  Elected Official of the Year: Gov. Evers + LG Rodriguez
     •  Lifetime of Service: Gary Goyke
     •  Rising Star: Rep. Supreme Moore Omokunde
     •  Organization of the Year: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin
NEW THIS YEAR: Democrats who volunteer at 2+ confirmed shifts for the April elections will receive a 50% discount on their Gala ticket. Please contact Dawn Martin for more information.

other important links

Become a Member of Grassroots North Shore

Milwaukee County Democratic Party

Support Grassroots North Shore


Ozaukee County Democratic Party

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