election problems loom

While we're all holding our breath or crossing our fingers waiting for Special Counsel Jack Smith to indict TFG (see NBC News coverage), we're also waiting for the US Supreme Court to vitiate the remaining section of the Voting Rights Act that still permits aggrieved voters to turn to the federal courts for relief. That opinion, like the indictment, could drop any day now. (See NPR's coverage from October 2022 and an AP story in Daily Kos that also reviews the history of the Court's weakening of the Voting Rights Act.) In this pregnant pause, other important national news is not getting the coverage it deserves.

I want to call your attention to four pieces about how elections in this country are changing. First, Open Secrets — a nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks money in U.S. politics — recently published The nationalization of political contributions and the rising role of out-of-state donations. The piece demonstrates that "federal candidates are increasingly reliant on out-of-state contributions." But it opens with data from the April 4 election in Wisconsin. "Janet Protasiewicz, a liberal, outraised her conservative opponent Daniel Kelly five to one. More than $2.6 million of Protasiewicz’s $14 million fundraising haul came from out-of-state donors." So the percent of her funds from out-of-state remained modest compared to the money she raised in state, from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin as well as from individuals. The point is, though, that even down-ballot races are attracting funds from people who cannot vote for the candidate in question. And it may mean that big dollar donors, like the Uihleins, will dominate races everywhere.

Second, Republican-led states like Texas and Florida "have resigned their membership in the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan data clearinghouse that helps states keep their voter rolls accurate and up-to-date" (New York Times, 6/6/2023). Why is this a problem? It turns out that ERIC is the only "comprehensive, secure and useful database of voter information. That information — drawn from voter rolls, D.M.V. records, Social Security death records and change-of-address data — gets analyzed, matched and compiled into reports that are provided to the states to help them clean up their rolls." Without ERIC, states have no way to communicate and coordinate voter information with each other.

ERIC uses states' information to identify people who have moved, either within a state or to another state, and have not remembered to change their status as a voter in their old location. But recently, MAGA Republicans have begun vilifying ERIC with the usual rhetorical accusations: the program is dominated by the left, funded by George Soros, connected to Democratic Party databases, and so on — none of it true, of course. And the point of the exodus? To allow voting rolls to become bloated and to foster a kind of chaos. That way they can point to poorly maintained voter rolls in their continuing efforts to restrict access to the ballot to shore up "election integrity." And Voila! Bring on more voter suppression.

Third, YouTube has now reversed its policy of preventing certain false "information" about prior elections from circulating on its platform. "YouTube will leave up content that says fraud, errors or glitches occurred in the 2020 presidential election and other U.S. elections" (Election Law Blog, 6/2/2023). The policy removing such content was established in December 2020, but now the company is concerned about squashing campaign speech without having a discernible effect on the threat of violence. The story first appeared in Axios.

This fourth piece returns to the pending Supreme Court decision on a case about racial gerrymandering. Richard Hasan, a constitutional law professor and scholar, and Dahlia Lithwick, a Slate reporter covering the courts and the law, find that There’s Unsettling New Evidence About William Rehnquist’s Views on Segregation. The article shows that, in 1952, Rehnquist seemed to support the infamous reasoning in Plessy v. Ferguson, a case that pronounced the 14th Amendment protected racial equality before the law but could not be the foundation for establishing social equality for Black people. Rehnquist still believed Plessy was correctly decided as late as 1993, when as Chief Justice he wrote a memo to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor saying "The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination; it does not require integration, and I think it is a mistake to intimate that it does even as a 'goal.'"

Hasan and Lithwick then draw the connection between Rehnquist's views and those of the current conservative justices: "Tragically, Rehnquist’s thinking on the 14th Amendment currently infects the conservative supermajority of the Supreme Court and could have devastating consequences for the end of this term." The piece concludes, "In short, Rehnquist consistently contended—and the current Supreme Court majority is likely to contend—that the Reconstruction Amendments were drafted not to protect disadvantaged groups from racially biased treatment at the hands of the government but rather to prohibit the government from using race-conscious measures to ever remediate inequality." If their reasoning is correct, we will see the court undermine the Voting Rights Act in their forthcoming opinion in Allen v. Milligan, a redistricting case "challenging Alabama’s congressional map" that diluted Black votes (Brennan Center for Justice, 9/29/2022).

On the large and increasing field of Republican candidates vying for the presidential nomination, Josh Marshal has an interesting (and somewhat amusing) take. Schrodinger’s Candidates: They’re Running and Not Running at the Same Time looks at the field and surmises that "aside from Trump, all of the people running for President in the GOP primary, with the semi-exception of Ron DeSantis, aren’t actually running for President. Normally, long shot entrants at least think they have some chance or they have some plan for career advancement by making a solid showing. But in this race, every candidate is in that category." Marshall posits that these people are probably thinking that running now is good preparation for their real campaign in 2028. He notes that "They’re running, sort of. But they’re not saying anything out of line with Trump and they’re definitely not criticizing Trump. Ferreting out the implicit critiques amounts almost to a latter-day variant of Kremlinology."

Last week, Politico published ‘Numbers Nobody Has Ever Seen’: How the GOP Lost Wisconsin. The piece asks "Did abortion make Wisconsin a blue state again?" It's long, chatty, and leans heavily on talking to and quoting people — some ordinary folks and some dignitaries from both parties. But it has some interesting bits. For example, it reveals that Scott Walker thinks his elections and Ron Johnson's were exceptions. Then Walker said, “Wisconsin has historically, and I think largely continues to be, a blue state.” An even more stunning statement reveals that "If you lopped Dane County off the map and didn’t count any votes there, Protasiewicz still would have won. Same thing if you excluded Democrat-heavy Milwaukee." The clincher for the 2023 election: Ben Wikler (Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair) said, "abortion was so salient not only in Democratic-leaning areas of the state, but in redder, rural areas, too." It behooves us to pay attention to how much this one issue moves the needle. "Abortion, while slightly more resonant an issue for voters in the Democratic-leaning media markets around Madison, Milwaukee and Eau Claire/La Crosse, was the main vote driver for Protasiewicz in every market in the state."

There's little of note happening just this minute in the Wisconsin's political scene. Hence my focus on big national issues. But I like to bow out with a little bit of spice. So here it is. From Talking Points Memo, "George Santos Falls On Sword For Mystery Donors: Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has told a judge he’d rather be taken into custody pre-trial than reveal the donors who co-signed on his $500,000 bond."



Tuesday, June 6

Bob Tatterson's Campaign Kick-Off, 6:00 - 8:00pm
Water Street Brewing, 1251 Gateway Dr, Grafton

You're invited! Come meet Bob, hear how we are going to WIN this election, and celebrate with us as we officially kick off the campaign. Purchase a ticket and get a free drink! Together we can do this, to improve and protect our way of life in our communities and across the state.

Wednesday, June 7

#FlyingWhileMuslim Know Your Rights, 2:00 - 3:00pm

For many Muslims, summer travel comes with the anxiety that we could be detained, interrogated, or have our personal belongings confiscated. We want to be ready and know our rights before we travel this summer. That’s why we’re hosting a special #FlyingWhileMuslim Know Your Rights Webinar. RSVP now.

A Conversation with Steve Schmidt & Joyce Vance, 7:00 - 8:00pm
Online with Steve Schmidt

Join Joyce Vance of Civil Discourse and Steve Schmidt of The Warning to talk about the stress on our institutions and the challenges they face, especially in the context of the diminishment of the rule of law. Some of the questions and topics they'll cover include:

  • What does it mean to be a rule of law country? Is it ever appropriate to defy a law?
  • What are we entitled to expect from our courts? Are they living up to that, and if not, what should be done?
  • What does it mean to have a former president who is under indictment?

The event will be moderated by Suzy Shuster, Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and founder of Magnetic Media Group. Sign up.

Thursday, June 8

Writing for Advocacy, 6:00 - 7:00pm

Bring your pen. Leave with a feeling of accomplishment. During this 60-minute Zoom Workshop, you will write and send a letter to the editor about the need to expand BadgerCare to include thousands of Wisconsinites whose lives are on the line. Childcare providers, home health aides, retail and other low-wage workers often earn too much for BadgerCare — but too little to afford health coverage. Some workers are afraid to get a raise because it means they will lose their healthcare. You don't have to be a healthcare expert to know that this isn't okay. Whether this is your first letter to the editor your 100th, Citizen Action folks will be on hand to help. We can provide all the policy information and support you need to write a short, high-impact letter. Please sign up.

A Screening of Juneteenth: Faith & Freedom, 3:00 – 5:00pm
Milwaukee Public Library East Branch, 2320 N Cramer St, Milwaukee

Join The LWVMC for a Screening of Juneteenth: Faith & Freedom. Juneteenth: Faith & Freedom is an unscripted documentary that invites viewers into the story of Juneteenth – the holiday recognizing the end of legalized slavery in Texas – through the eyes of a Black man learning about the holiday from the direct descendants of those liberated. The story serves as a parable that offers hope, and the insight that faith can be the greatest weapon against injustice. Light refreshments. Discussion to follow film. RSVP.

Saturday, June 10

Knock doors in Menomonee Falls, 9:00am - noon and 3:00 - 6:00pm
Fiddleheads Coffee, Menomonee Falls (N88 W16621, Appleton Ave, Menomonee Falls)

Join us to knock doors for the Assembly District 24 Special Election in Menomonee Falls! Sign up.

Canvass for the Assembly District 24 Special in GRAFTON!, 9:00am - noon and 3:00 - 6:00pm
1930 Wisconsin Ave, Grafton

Join us to knock on doors for the crucial Assembly District 24 Special Election in GRAFTON! Sign up

Three First-Hand Perspectives on The Most Important Issues For The United Nations and the UNA of Greater Milwaukee, 10:00 - 11:30am
Zao Milwaukee Church, 2319 Kenwood Blvd, Milwaukee
and Online

This forum is distilled from the 2023 UNA-USA Leadership Summit held in DC in early June. In the first part of this forum, three Chapter leaders who attended the Summit will discuss their experience. The second part, will focus on "Collaborating for Greater Community Impact." The forum is free and open to the public.

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
16th and Greenfield Streets, Milwaukee

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

North Shore Knocks Doors for Bob Tatterson, 12:00 - 3:00pm
6563 N Crestwood Dr., Glendale

Join the Grassroots Glendale team to knock doors for the special election in Assembly District 24! We'll be canvassing in Mequon. To make the effort easier, and more fun, ask for a driver by emailing [email protected]. Please Sign Up.

Friday - Saturday, June 9 - 10

League of Women Voters Wisconsin Annual Meeting, Friday 3:00pm - 8:pm & Saturday 9:00am - 4:30pm
La Crosse Center 300 Harborview Plaza, La Crosse & Virtual

Annual Meeting 2023 Theme: The Currents That Connect Us. This year's theme focuses on all the ways water touches and impacts our lives, both in obvious ways and subtler ones. We've curated a line-up that will move you to advocate, encourage you to reflect, and empower you to put aside differences and reach across politics, race, religion, the rural-urban divide and more to protect the beautiful planet we ALL call "home". To view the preliminary Annual Meeting Program Agenda, click here. See more information, including COVID-19 protocols, hotel reservation and virtual attendance. Register for in person or virtual attendance. Deadline: May 24.

Sunday, June 11

Black-Owned Summer Marketplace, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Deer District, 1134 Vel R. Phillips Ave, Milwaukee

Join us for the first marketplace of the summer focused on local Black-Owned businesses. There will be food trucks, close to 50 vendors, and music.

Monday, June 12

North Shore Fair Maps Meeting, 7:00 - 8:00pm

"White Christian Nationalism:" what exactly is it and how does it threaten democracy in America? Join us June 12 and find out. Featuring Rabbi Bonnie Margulis, founder and Executive Dirctor of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, an interfaith education and advocacy organization dedicated to creating a more just and equitable society for all. An expert on the topic of Christian nationalism, earlier this year Rabbi Margulis joined with Reverend Jennifer Butler, founder of Faith in Public Life, to present three days of Wisconsin workshops and lectures on the rise of white Christian nationalism. Sign up. Visit our website for information about this group.

Tuesday, June 13

Behind the Headlines: Violent Crime in Milwaukee: Time for Solutions, 11:30am - 1:30pm
Hilton Milwaukee City Center, 509 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee

Although crime in Milwaukee decreased more than six percent overall from 2021 to 2022, a review of crime data from the past several years from some media outlets and the Milwaukee Police Department shows a disturbing trend. Community leaders will answer questions from a panel of journalists about the increase in violent crime in Milwaukee and what is being done to make residents safer. $30 for MPC members, $35 for non-members. Lunch is included. Register.

How the Supreme Court Is Dividing America, 5:00 - 6:00pm
Live streamed and in person in New York

The most extreme Supreme Court in decades is on the verge of changing the nation — again. How did we get here? How will overreach by the justices impact the 2024 election? And what can we do to protect American democracy from a deeply political, fiercely partisan Supreme Court? Join us for a discussion of Brennan Center President Michael Waldman’s new book, The Supermajority: How the Supreme Court Divided America, about the Court’s devastating 2021–2022 term. He will be joined by moderator George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, as well as constitutional law scholars Wilfred Codrington III and Cristina Rodríguez. RSVP today. Produced in partnership between 92NY’s Newmark Civic Life Series and the Brennan Center for Justice.

Wednesday, June 14

Gun Violence Prevention and the 2024 Election, 7:00 - 8:00pm

The scourge of gun violence frustrates sane Americans like almost no other issue. Often on a daily basis, we’re confronted with yet another mass shooting, and the pace of the neverending violence, followed by the predictable inaction of Republicans in Washington, reminds us of the many ways in which our system is broken. If we can’t change the minds of these politicians, then we must change the politicians. We must call out and resoundingly defeat those Republicans who have made it their mission to oppose common sense gun safety reforms. Join Activate America and our special guests from Newtown Action Alliance to learn more about gun violence prevention and how you can help elect officials who will take meaningful action on this critical issue. Sign up.

Thursday, June 15

Milwaukee County 2024 Dems Strategy Session, 5:30 - 7:30pm
8405 W Lisbon Ave, Milwaukee

Join our team for a strategy session to discuss the various ways we can expand our outreach and voter turnout throughout the County! We know that Milwaukee County plays a huge part in whether we win or lose elections here in Wisconsin. It's going to take all of us working together to make sure we have the outcome we all want in 2024. Sign up.

Saturday, June 17

Canvass for the Assembly District 24 Special in GRAFTON!, 9:00am - noon and 3:00 - 6:00pm
1930 Wisconsin Ave, Grafton

Join us to knock on doors for the crucial Assembly District 24 Special Election in GRAFTON! Sign up

Knock doors in Menomonee Falls, 9:00am - noon and 3:00 - 6:00pm
Fiddleheads Coffee, Menomonee Falls (N88 W16621, Appleton Ave, Menomonee Falls)

Join us to knock doors for the Assembly District 24 Special Election in Menomonee Falls! Sign up.

Brown Deer Dems Team Launch!, 11:00am - 12:30pm
Kurt Schulz Deli & Pastry Shoppe, 8752 N Deerwood Dr, Milwaukee

Join other Democrats in your area to launch a Brown Deer volunteer action team! We will be getting together, talking politics, and planning out what we can do to elect Democrats up and down the ballot in 2024. Sign up.

North Shore Knocks Doors for Bob Tatterson, 12:00 - 3:00pm
6563 N Crestwood Dr., Glendale

Join the Grassroots Glendale team to knock doors for the special election in Assembly District 24! We'll be canvassing in Mequon. To make the effort easier, and more fun, ask for a driver by emailing [email protected]. Please Sign Up.

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
35th/Fond du Lac/Burleigh, Milwaukee

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


Wednesday, June 21

June General DPOC Meeting, 7:00 - 8:00pm
1930 Wisconsin Ave, Grafton

The Democratic Party of Ozaukee County meets on the third Wednesday of the month at our office. We're on the lower level by the hardware store. Join us as we gather to hear speakers and catch up on the local and state politics influencing Ozaukee County – while spending time with like-minded people. All interested people are encouraged to attend.

Saturday, July 2, and Tuesday July 4

Family Fun on the Fourth Parade, 9:00 - 11:00am
parade routes

Join us as we stroll the streets of beautiful Thiensville at the annual Family Fun on the Fourth. It’s loads of FUN! We’ll have plenty of candy to share and positive messaging to remind people our values – equity, care of the earth, and voter protection. Or see information about how to participate in the Thiensville parade (Saturday, June 2) and the Cedarburg parade (Tuesday, July 4).

Sunday, July 9

Grassroots North Shore Presents: To US, 3:30 - 5:00pm
Doctors Park, 1870 E Fox Lane, Fox Point

It's a party to celebrate our country's 247th birthday. John Nichols — National Editor for The Nation, Madison Editor of the Capitol Times, author of Dollarocracy and other books, and the Voice of Wisconsin Progressivism — will get us ready for 2024 with a talk on where we have been and where we are going. Bob Tatterson, now running in a special election for Assembly District 24, will also be on hand to speak, meet, and greet. Enjoy beverages and birthday cake. Bring your family, your folding chairs, and your hope for our future as we celebrate our good work in recent elections. RSVP.

Friday - Monday, September 1 - 4

The Golden Rule, an historic sailboat, docks in Milwaukee
The Golden Rule, a storied sailboat that helped bring about an end to atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, will stop in Milwaukee Sept. 1-4 as part of a 15-month, 11,000-mile voyage to inform and educate the public about the dangers of nuclear weapons proliferation. A number of public events will be held, and speakers / crew members will be available for presentations at schools, churches or other venues during the four-day visit. Boat tours and visits with the crew will be offered every afternoon. (See a real-time map of the boat's journey.) The Golden Rule is a project of Veterans For Peace.

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