Today is Election Day for the special election in Assembly District 24, a seat formerly held by the odious Dan Knodl. We should know by 9 or 10pm how this race came out. But I'm very hopeful. As I was hosting the North Shore canvass on Saturday, I learned that the Democratic Party had managed to get to the third pass of every turf in the district! That means each walk list went out three times, with the people a canvasser had already reached removed. Clearly coverage was outstanding and the number and commitment of volunteers must have been off the charts!
Grassroots North Shore's work included sending almost 6000 postcards and making almost that many phone calls — an outstanding effort for our hardy band. So a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who wrote, called and/or canvassed. Win or lose, and we hope it's WIN, we worked our tails off.
Our Wisconsin election cycles for the year may have drawn to a close, but there's always an election somewhere it seems. And on August 8, a weird election will determine the state of democracy in Ohio. The Republican-controlled legislature has concocted an Ohio constitutional amendment that would raise the percent of yes votes needed to pass a citizen-initiated referendum from 50%+1 to 60%. I wrote about this in last week's newsletter so I won't belabor the topic now. But I did want to reiterate that we should be helping to defeat the referendum called Issue 1. It's a ridiculous notion, of course, that voters would want to exercise less power in the future than they have now! There are two ways to help.
Volunteer to write letters to Ohioans with Vote Forward. The letters target young women. You can visit the Vote Forward guide for this project. And you can create a Vote Forward account to sign up. The organization will provide you with a template for your letter. As of this afternoon, the organization had 36,000 names and addresses that had not yet been assigned to a letter-writer. Letters need to be in the mail by August 1. So get cracking!
- The Ohio Democratic Party, Indivisible Chicago, and a group of volunteers in DC are all holding phonebanks over the next two weeks. They're generally 2 hours long and in the early evenings. Training is included for those who've never participated in a phonebank before. Sign up with the group of your choice and make some calls for democracy.
The Ohio Issue 1 referendum is only one of a legion of voter restrictions passed or proposed all over the country. All of these efforts are concerning, but one state in particular has prompted the Guardian, a British publication, to publish Ten years of a crippled Voting Rights Act: how states make it harder to vote about the "wave of voter suppression across the country" the Roberts Supreme Court unleashed when the court ruled in 2013 that section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) was unconstitutional. As predicted, "states once covered by section 5 pre-clearance have enacted new laws requiring voters to show ID, cutting early voting, making it harder to vote by mail, aggressively removing voters from the rolls and implementing maps that blunt the electoral power of Black and Hispanic voters."
However, as Thomas Edsall argues in an op-ed in the New York Times on July 12, "within hours of the Shelby decision [to strike section 5 of the VRA as unconstitutional], Republicans announced plans both to enforce laws that had been blocked by the federal government and to pass laws designed to prevent Democrats from casting ballots." He goes on to ask "How effective has the onslaught of state-level legislation been at raising the odds for Republican candidates?" And his answer is not very. But the jury is still out. The rest of the article asks various election law experts to evaluate two key articles exploring the issue. Read the whole thing to understand the heat suppressive voting laws provoke and the light, if any, studying the outcomes has produced.
In a win that I hope is a harbinger of a similar outcome in Wisconsin, the New Mexico Supreme Court Rules That State Courts Can Review Partisan Gerrymandering Claims. The plaintiffs in the case contend that the partisan gerrymander violates the New Mexico constitution because the map currently both divides communities and splits counties and cities unnecessarily. It results, they say, in an unconstitutional gerrymander that achieves a partisan end. The court agreed and provided a standard for a lower court to apply to determine whether any given map amounts to a partisan gerrymander.
While I'm on the subject of voting and voting rights, you should know that National Voter Registration Day this year will be Tuesday, September 19. Grassroots North Shore will undoubtedly be participating in some voter registration activities that day and will want your help. So stay tuned for more information.
Right now, though, you can and should volunteer with the Democratic Party of Ozaukee County to staff their booth at the Ozaukee Fair, August 2 - 6. You can sign up for shifts here. As of this writing, the party needs help setting up on Tuesday, August 1, a Day Captain for Wednesday, August 2, and three or four shifts covered for each day of the fair.
In the same vein, volunteers are needed to staff the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County State Fair Booth, from August 3 - 13. It's important that we represent Democratic Party values, find volunteers to win elections, give our friends the information they need, and let the other side know we're not going away. The issues we face in the future are crucial and we will have the opportunity to come in contact with thousands of people during our time at the fair. Sign up for a shift. There are 3 shifts per day: 10:00am - 2:00pm; 2:00 - 6:00pm; 6:00 - 9:00pm. You will be mailed a free admission ticket for each shift!!! Your contribution and effort to help make our booth a success is appreciated. If you have questions or problems with sign-up, contact Mary Jonker or call 262-497-4672.
I'm sure you've all seen or heard that TRE45ON received a letter from special counsel Jack Smith on Sunday announcing that he is the target of a DC grand jury investigation of the January 6, 2021, insurrection and the events that led up to it. May actual indictment(s) follow swiftly. And today, Judge Aileen Cannon is holding a hearing to try to sort out issues around the classified documents and the date for a trial in the so-called documents case. According to the Washington Post, Judge Cannon "did not set any new date for the trial, saying she would consider both sides’ arguments and make a decision on the timing 'promptly.'" Plus DA Fani Willis is still on track to issue charging decisions in the Fulton County, Georgia, investigation in the next few weeks. It's probably time to stock up on popcorn, folks.
Wednesday, July 19
Drinking Liberally Tosa, 6:30 - 8:00pm
Camp Bar, 6600 W North Ave · Wauwatosa
Meet old friends. Make new ones! Need to vent, share ideas, or just enjoy the company of, and conversation with, fellow progressives in Wauwatosa? Join us!
Ozaukee County Dems Meeting, 7:00 - 8:00pm
1930 Wisconsin Ave., Grafton
Join us at our Grafton Office 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.
Bob Tatterson Election Night Celebration, 8:00pm
1930 Wisconsin Ave., Grafton
Are you a volunteer, donor, or supporter of Bob Tatterson? You are invited to our Election Night Celebration. Please RSVP.
Thursday, July 20
Wisconsin Conservation Voters Meet up, 5:30 - 7:30pm
Lincoln Park Shelter 1, Milwaukee
Conservation Voters do good things when we get together. So let’s meet up! We are inviting Wisconsin Conservation Voters members and all others interested in conservation and climate change to a Milwaukee Meet Up.
Friday, July 21
Wisconsin Justice Summit, 10:00am - 8:00pm
First United Methodist Church, 203 Wisconsin Ave, Madison
What if we all focused on four things… and when we were ready worked on three or four more? What if we strategically did all we could collectively do to end: (1) U.S. war-mongering, (2) environmentally destructive systems, (3) injustices and inequities of all forms, and (4) the erosion of our democracy. Yes, they are big goals. But unless we unite, we will very likely not amass the power that we need to stand up to the big money and the lies that have led to massive, multi-level confusion, pain and gross injustice in our society.Help make July 22 the next step towards our realizing the mass movement that we need now. See more information about this event.
Saturday, July 22
Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Farwell and Brady
This week, we will follow the demonstration with a walk at 1pm over to the Brady Street Bridge to hold peace signs during the Blue Angels Air Show. Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday.
Wednesday, July 26
WRITE TO OH VOTERS, 7:00 - 8:00pm
Join Vote Forward, Stand Up America, and volunteers across the country in writing letters to voters in Ohio ahead of the special election happening on August 8. Whether you’re writing letters for the first time or you’re an experienced letter writer looking to refine your message, this event is for you. The most common question we receive at Vote Forward is: "what should I write?" This letter writing event is the personalized, in depth answer to that question. Vote Forward staff will help you craft an effective, personal message to voters. Sign up.
Friday, July 28
League Cafe Book Club, 10:00am
Summit Building, 6737 West Washington Street, West Allis
Our July book club selection is 400 Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain. Feel free to pick just a single story or a single part or a few parts or a poem or two to read. At our meeting, we will take turns talking about what we read in particular. After that, we will open it up for discussion. Co-Facilitators: Marie Garnhart, Pat McFarland, Mary Ellen Spicuzza.
Saturday, July 29
Cartoon Skills Workshop with Eric Orner, 10:00 - 11:30am
Milwaukee Public Library, Good Hope Branch, 7715 Good Hope Rd, Milwaukee
Learn to bring your cartoon characters to life during this fast-paced and interactive 90-minute workshop. Eric Orner has worked as a Disney animator and his published comic strips and illustrations have appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The New Republic. In 2021, Metropolitan Books published his graphic novel, Smahtguy: The Life and Times of Barney Frank. For ages 10+. Registration requested.
Wisconsin Dems Park Cleanup! 11:00am - 1:00pm
Noyes Park, 8235 Good Hope Rd, Milwaukee
Come join your fellow Democrats at 11AM Saturday July 29th, at Noyes Park for a little tidying up! Let's all take some pride in making this staple of the community a sight to see and who knows, you might even meet some new people in the area! Make sure to bring a friend or two! Sign up.
Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
92nd and North Ave
Stand for Peace demonstrates for peace at a different intersection in Milwaukee County every Saturday.
One Smaht Guy: A Biography of Barney Frank, 2:00 - 3:30pm
Milwaukee Public Library, Good Hope Branch, 7715 Good Hope Rd, Milwaukee
Author Eric Orner will read from and talk about his graphic novel, “Smahtguy,” a biography of Barney Frank, followed by a Q&A and book signing. Eric is a former Congressional aide to Frank. He is also the creator of The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green, one of the country’s first and longest-running gay comic strips. Eric has also published comic strips and illustrations in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The New Republic. His cartoon story “Weekends Abroad” was included in Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Comics 2011. Books will be available for purchase from Boswell Books.
Tuesday, August 1
Investiture of Justice Janet Protasiewicz, 4:30pm
Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison
We worked hard to get her there. And she worked even harder. With an 11% victory, we all deserve a party! The investiture will take place in the State Capitol building. (If you want a seat, be sure to arrive early.) It will be followed by a reception on Monona Terrace. Please RSVP.
SAVE THE DATE
Thursday, August 3
Protect Our Democracy: Reject Christian Nationalism, 1:00 - 4:00pm
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2207 N. 2nd St., Milwaukee
WISDOM will hold a press conference, march, and program (Stay tuned for more information soon!).
Saturday, August 5
Brown Deer Dem Team Launch, 12:00 - 2:00pm
Kurt Schulz Deli & Pastry Shoppe, 8752 N Deerwood Dr, Brown Deer
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. No need to sign up. Just come!
Sunday, August 6
Whitefish Bay/Shorewood Bridge Building Canvassing, 12:00 - 3:00pm
4845 N Newhall St, Whitefish Bay
Join the Whitefish Bay and Shorewood Dems for a volunteer meetup and neighborhood canvass! We'll be talking to voters about the issues that matter most to them ahead next year's crucial elections. First time canvassing? No problem! Our organizer will walk you through everything you need to know to knock doors. All you need to bring is yourself, your best walking shoes, and a fully charged phone. Sign up.
Tuesday, August 29 - September 26
WISDOM 5 Week Fall Training Series, every Tuesday from 6:30 - 8:00pm
Please join us for our 5-week Fall Training Series every Tuesday night from August 29-September 26. We are excited to cover a variety of topics about community organizing. Whether you're a new WISDOM member, an old timer or need a refresher - we welcome you to come learn from our leaders within our network! Once you register, you will recieve your Zoom information within a few minutes. It is the same Zoom link for all 5 sessions. You can choose to attend one or all sessions. If you have any questions please contact Amanda Ali, WISDOM's Digital Organizer.
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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