everything, everywhere, all at once

I'm late, I'm late. There's so much happening right now, that I have been feeling a little overloaded with political and election news. But let's begin with our area's Spring elections and Wisconsin judicial opinions that will have an impact on this year's elections. Then we'll take a look at the national news and Trumpelthinskin's trials and tribulations, finishing up with a unionization drive that's going on at Planned Parenthood Wisconsin.

First, though, let me remind you about the fundraiser for Tammy Baldwin this Sunday, January 14, from 4:00 to 5:30pm at an address in Mequon (available upon request or in response to signing up). Tammy will be facing a well-heeled opponent who will barely have to raise any grassroots funding and will be the beneficiary of the national GOP's funds. As best I can tell, the senate race in Wisconsin will be one of their top targets. If Democrats hope to keep control of the senate after this election cycle, re-electing Baldwin is key. But that's not the only or even the most important reason to support her: she has been an outstanding senator for Wisconsin. Just consult her page of press releases for 2021-2022 (the 117th congress) to see an overview of what she was doing and how focused she has been on helping the residents of Wisconsin succeed.

For the spring 2024 election, the busy bees at Grassroots North Shore have been diligently gathering information about the candidates that you will see on your ballot. For many of Grassroots North Shore's supporters, no primary on February 20 will be needed. There are, however, some areas that will have primaries. Here's a list of the municipalities we know about right now:

  • Milwaukee County Supervisor, District 18
  • Mayor of Milwaukee
  • Milwaukee Alderpersons in Districts 5, 7, and 11
  • Shorewood School Board
  • Trustee in the Village of Fox Point
  • Ozaukee County Supervisor, District 7

We do not yet have all the information we'd like to provide, but the basic bones are accessible through our Elections 2024 page. If you check back on the Elections pages in a couple of weeks, we should have gathered links to candidates' social media pages so that you can be an informed voter. And by the way, the April 2 election is ALSO OUR PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE PRIMARY. President Biden will be on that ballot and really needs your support. But since we hold a so-called "open primary" that allows you to vote in any party's primary, you can take your choice, depending how the state of the race looks. But beware: you can vote in only one party's primary.

Now that 2024 has begun, it's time to request your absentee ballots at MyVote.WI.gov. That site will offer you the chance to request absentee ballots for ALL THE ELECTIONS in 2024 and we recommend that you take advantage of the opportunity. Voting by mail (or turning in your absentee ballot in person at your clerk's office) is the most secure way to make sure you'll be able to vote. For example, voting absentee means that if you are unexpectedly out of town or under the weather on election day, your vote has already been cast! Problem solved.

Absentee ballots are typically mailed to you 21 days in advance of an election. As usual, you'll need a witness to certify that you are voting your own ballot. But you don't need to be quite as anxious about whether your witness correctly fills out their complete address on the certification envelope. Thanks to lawsuits pursued by the League of Women Voters and Rise, Inc., municipal clerks will once again be allowed to correct minor errors on the certification envelope. (I'll have a fuller explanation of what the court's opinion means below.)

At the very bottom of the Elections 2024 page, you will find the texts of three referendums that will amend the Wisconsin constitution if they are approved by the voters — two of them will appear on the April 2 ballot and the third on the November 5 ballot. We don't yet know the full import of them, but we will certainly have information about what they REALLY mean and a recommendation about whether you should vote to approve each one, or not. So stay tuned.

This year's municipal, judicial, and school board elections look to be much sleepier than the spring elections the last couple of years have been. Most incumbents who are running for re-election are unopposed. For two North Shore communities, there will presumably be write-in campaigns for the Nicolet and Whitefish Bay school boards. Just because these elections don't seem to present a lot of conflict, though, doesn't mean you can safely skip them. It's vital that people get in the habit of voting in every election, even if it means four elections a year, as it often does in Wisconsin. Our local elections and local office holders exert a lot of influence on how our communities function. And they also create the "bench" for candidates at state and national levels. This year, the spring election includes two proposals to amend our state constitution. For that reason alone, you need to VOTE.

As for the change in the way small errors on certification envelopes are handled, the issue seems like a pretty minor concern. But it's not. It may "fly under the radar," but it's one more way to suppress the vote. As Democracy Docket explains, "Wisconsin’s witness address requirement has been a source of confusion and disenfranchisement for years. Under Wisconsin law, when voting absentee, voters must fill out their absentee ballot alongside a witness. The witness must complete and sign a witness certificate that includes the witness’s address. If a witness address is missing, the ballot will not be counted." The court rulings were a major win for voting rights groups and "could prevent thousands of ballots from being unfairly rejected due to witness certificates with an incomplete address." The court order for the Rise, Inc. suit can be found here. The one for the Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is available here.

The biggest judicial news in Wisconsin lately has been the 4-3 ruling of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin that the current legislative district maps are unconstitutional and cannot be used in the fall 2024 elections for Assembly and state Senate. Because new maps have to be in place by early March, the December 22, 2023, decision specified a lickety-split timeline for the parties to submit remedial maps that comply with the technical specifications and data requirements identified by two expert consultants the Court hired for this purpose. The Court hoped that the legislature and the governor could agree on a map in the allotted time. Governor Evers, however, is "not expecting agreement with Republicans on new maps" (Wisconsin State Journal, January 5, 2024). And the proposed maps are due on January 12 (TODAY!). The next steps are as follows:

  • January 22, 2024: Each party may file a response brief.
  • January 22, 2024: Non-parties with previously granted permission may file a non-party amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief.
  • February 1, 2024: the consultants, Dr. Grofman and Dr. Cervas, will evaluate and file a report on each of the parties' submissions based on the criteria identified in the Court's December 22, 2023 opinion. Only if no submission meets the criteria identified will the two consultants submit their own proposed remedial map.
  • February 8, 2024: The parties and all amici who have been granted leave to participate may submit a response brief addressing the consultants' report.

Okay, so on to Trumpelthinskin's trials and tribulations just this past week. I'm sure you have seen, read, or heard about TFG's outburst in the closing arguments of the New York State fraud case yesterday. Judge Engoron shut him up after a few minutes of ranting, whereupon he stormed out of the courtroom. Here's the AP account of the court action. The fraud trial threatens to strip him of the right to do business in NY.

Far more serious were the oral arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to determine whether a former president has absolute immunity from prosecution for acts he undertook while he was president. If you were not able to listen to the whole thing when it took place on Tuesday, January 9, you can listen to it here. George Conway, a highly respected conservative attorney and former husband of Kellyanne Conway, explains how Trump's argument fell apart under questioning from one of the judges. Here's a clip of Conway discussing it with Chris Hayes. The AP has a really helpful set of pages for tracking many of the cases against Dolt45.

Finally, 2023 was a really good year for union actions, especially the much covered strikes and then contract settlements at the big three auto makers. Let's keep the momentum going in 2024. The healthcare workers at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin have begun a union organizing drive. They are seeking people to sign the petition supporting their efforts. They have also set up a Facebook page for the effort. Share the links to the FB page and the petition widely to people who support unions!


Saturday, January 13

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
King and Locust

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

Monday, January 15

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 1531 W Vliet St, Milwaukee

We would like to invite you to the upcoming annual King Day Celebration at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center on Monday, January 15th at 12:00pm. Our vision this year is to highlight the sermons and messages that were just as powerful as King's well-known speeches but seldom heard. We will also acknowledge 3 young ladies who were responsible for saving the lives of two young men who overdosed on opioids while playing basketball in our gymnasium. One gave each young man Narcan while the other two young women administered CPR until emergency personnel arrived. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We hope to see you there.

Wednesday, January 17

January General DPOC Meeting, 7:00 - 8:00pm
Ozaukee Democrats Office, 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.

Saturday, January 20

LWV Voter Registration Training, 10:00am - 12:00pm
League of Women Voters Office, 6737 W. Washington Street Atrium Conference Room, Milwaukee

2024 is going to be a very busy election year. Have you thought about helping the League with voter registration? If so, this is your opportunity to get trained in all of the twists and turns of online voter registration. Prepare yourself to help people register to vote! Learn how to register people to vote using MyVote.wi.gov. Learn what is acceptable photo ID for voting in Wisconsin and how to acquire it. Registration required. Questions regarding this announcement? Please email [email protected].

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

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

Monday, January 22

Senate Democrats, 5:00 - 6:00pm
Enlightened Brewing Company - 2020 S Allis St, Milwaukee

Please join us as we welcome our new Senate Democratic Leader, Dianne Hesselbein! With far maps within reach, it is important we begin preparing right now to flip the Wisconsin State Senate from red to blue. Join special guests, Senator LaTonya Johnson and Senator Chris Larson to welcome the new Senate Democratic Leader and hear about our plans to fight for all 33 State Senate seats in 2024! Hosted by: Democratic Leader Dianne Hesselbein, Sen. LaTonya Johnson, Sen. Chris Larson, Patrick Guarasci (Host Committee still in formation). RSVP.


Multiple Dates and Times

Registration at Urban League Drivers Training Classes, Various
Milwaukee Urban League, 435 W North Ave, Milwaukee

Supermarket Legends have a new opportunity to answer questions about voting and to help with voter registration on the last days of the spring drivers training classes at the Milwaukee Urban League, 435 West North Avenue. We need volunteers to be available on the following dates and times:

  • February 1 — 1:30pm
  • February 8, March 14 — 6:45pm
  • February 22, March 28 — 11:00am

If you can help, contact Linea Sundstrom.

Saturday, January 27

Stand for Peace, 12:00 - 1:00pm
76th and North Ave, Milwaukee

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

Sunday, February 4

Grassroots North Shore presents: Authoritarian Candidates in the Nation and in Wisconsin, 5:00 - 6:30pm

Are We Dealing with Rising Fascism? Our featured speaker, Ruth Ben-Giat, Professor of History and Italian Studies at New York University, examines how illiberal leaders use corruption, violence, propaganda, and machismo to stay in power, and how resistance to them. Senator Chris Larson will discuss Wisconsin's own local versions of strongmen who threaten democracy. Can we unseat them and restore balance and democracy to the state? RSVP here. This event is the Annual Fundraiser for Grassroots North Shore. Donate.

Saturday, February 17

Get Out the Vote - Spring Primary, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Help connect with Ozaukee County voters ahead of the February 20 Spring Primary Election. You can contact us at http://www.ozdems.org.

Sunday, February 18

Get Out the Vote - Spring Primary, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Help connect with Ozaukee County voters ahead of the February 20 Spring Primary Election. You can contact us at http://www.ozdems.org.

other important links

Become a Member of Grassroots North Shore

Milwaukee County Democratic Party

Support Grassroots North Shore


Ozaukee County Democratic Party

Visit Grassroots North Shore on Facebook and Like Us!

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