Several years ago I was fortunate to sit in on a graduate Political Science class at UWM. The entire focus, even the title, of that class was Fascism. After a great deal of reading, research, and discussion, at the end of the semester we still did not have a definition of ‘fascism’. We asked the professor if he could give us a working definition. In essence, his answer was that fascism is “an apparatus that uses existing things to achieve its goals.”
For our purposes, apparatus can be thought of as a complex structure within an organization or system. Existing things can be institutions, organizations, societies, or people individually or as part of a group. A significant method by which these apparatuses insinuate themselves is frequently co-optation: defined by Merriam Webster as a taking over or appropriation of something for a new or different purpose. Robert Paxton, in his classic 1998 paper "The Five Stages of Fascism," suggests that fascism cannot be defined solely by its ideology, since fascism is a complex political phenomenon rather than a relatively coherent body of doctrine and that we should look to processes, not cosmetic features like flags and uniforms, to understand fascism.
The book, It Can’t Happen Here, released in the mid-thirties by renowned American author Sinclair Lewis, shows us how fascism can co-opt almost anything. In his story one of the first ‘things’ to fall was the Rotary, a service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. Most people think of Rotary as fairly innocuous, but how they were co-opted was astonishing.Read more
Because we cannot be certain that voting in person on Election Day will be safe either for voters or for poll workers, we urge everyone to plan to vote by absentee ballot. (If it is safe, you don't have to use the absentee ballot so you can still vote in person if you prefer.) The dates of the elections are August 11 for the partisan primary and November 3 for the national general election.
Requesting an absentee ballot online can be frustrating, but it does not have to be. The best way to accomplish the task is to use your smartphone or tablet. In the following illustration, a red arrow signifies a field you must complete. A blue arrow signifies the action to take when you have completed the screen.
Step 1: use an up-to-date browser (older ones are not well supported) and go to myvote.wi.gov.
Step 2: Choose "Vote Absentee" from the menu. The screen should look something like this illustration but it may be formatted differently depending on the device you are using:
Step 3: On the next screen, enter your name and date of birth. The system will then check to make sure you are a registered voter.
Step 4: Assuming you are a registered voter, you will next need to verify your name and address:
Step 5: Select the address you want your absentee ballot sent to. In most instances, you will choose your home address, but college students might well choose an address that is not the one they use when they're at school:
Step 6: On this screen you will choose the election(s) for which you want to vote with an absentee ballot. At this point in the year, you are required to request an absentee ballot for BOTH the August and the November elections. But remember that you can decide not to use the absentee ballot you receive in the mail. You can instead, if you choose, vote in person on election day.
Step 7: You will now be asked to upload a photo ID, usually your drivers license – but NOT A SELFIE!. (Here's a list of acceptable photo IDs.) If you have already done this before, you probably will not have to do it again. But some people have reported that they have needed to complete this step a second time, even though they used the system to request an absentee ballot in the past. Also, if you are using a computer with this system, you will need to take a photo of your ID, send it to yourself (sharing it and emailing it to yourself is usually the simplest method). Then save the photo from your email inbox. At that point, you can use the "Add Files +" button (see below) to upload your picture. If you are having trouble with the photo ID part of the process, please contact the Voter Protection Hotline at 608-336-3232.
If you are using a smart phone or tablet, the screen should look something like this:
After you click the button, the screen should display the following:
Using the camera in your device, take a picture of your photo ID and then click on "Use Photo."
Step 8: Congratulations! You're done.
Here's a video from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin that shows the steps on a smartphone. For some reason, the sound doesn't play for me (your results may vary) but the dynamic pictures of the screens are very clear. And here's another video, from Citizen Action of Wisconsin. It was made for the April 7 election, but the steps remain the same for every election. Just remember to choose "all elections this calendar year" rather than the April 7 election which is, of course, over and done with!
If you'd prefer to use another method, you can
Download and print a form, print a copy of your photo ID, and mail both documents to your municipal clerk. You can look up the clerk's name and address on myvote.wi.gov or find it on your municipality's website. Instead of putting your request form in the US mail, you can use a secure dropbox at your village or city hall to turn the documents in.
- Call, email or fax your municipal clerk. You can find contact information on your municipality's website or on myvote.wi.gov.
Our Spring 2020 Endorsements page is now up. On it you will see that we have endorsed Judge Jill Karofsky for Wisconsin State Supreme Court. We also have endorsed in two races for Circuit Court Judge in Milwaukee County. And we recommend voting YES on the Milwaukee County advisory referendum promoting a nonpartisan process for drawing new electoral maps in 2021. We have made no recommendation on the statewide, binding referendum on criminal justice reform.
We also have links to information about the two candidates for Milwaukee County Executive.
Know something about the two candidates running in the April 7 election to be Milwaukee County Executive. State Representative David Crowley and State Senator Chris Larson have both completed answers to a short questionnaire we have sent them. You can read them on our site.
Grassroots North Shore encourages everyone to stay safe and vote by mail. To do this, use your smartphone (a cell phone that has a camera and an internet connection) to access myvote.wi.gov. Once on the site, choose Vote Absentee. The site will walk you through the application process and will send the request form and your photo ID to the clerk of your municipality. But don't dither. The absentee ballot must be received by the municipal clerk by 8pm on April 7!
Revised: 3/26/2020 at 3:15 pm. Please note that it is now likely that there will be no open polling places on Election Day, April 7, 2020, at least in the City of Milwaukee. The only sure way to vote is to vote by mail with an absentee ballot. The rules for acquiring an absentee ballot have changed slightly to make it somewhat easier to obtain.
The coronavirus has disrupted most things, but our April 7 election remains on the schedule. You can of course show up at the polls on election day to cast your ballot (you can see a sample ballot and find your polling place at myvote.wi.gov) but you would be doing poll workers and yourself a huge favor if instead you vote by mail, using an absentee ballot.
There are TWO steps you have to perform:
- Request that your municipal clerk send you an absentee ballot.
- Fill out and mail the ballot back so that it arrives by 8pm on April 7 (otherwise your vote will not count).
To request an absentee ballot, you have to fill out a form. There are two routes you can take. The first is online.
- Use a computer or a smartphone and a browser to go to myvote.wi.gov.
- Click "Vote Absentee".
- Fill in your name and date of birth in the online application to check your registration status.
- Click the button "Request an Absentee Ballot" on the screen that displays your name, address, and registration status.
- Fill in the form requesting an absentee ballot. You can choose to request an absentee ballot for the April 7, 2020 election only or you can choose to request an absentee ballot for the August 11 election and the November 3 election as well. The request form may require you to upload a picture of your photo ID. Try to comply. If you cannot, go to the next step.
- Choose the box that says that you are "indefinitely confined." The coronavirus has rendered that statement true for everyone but do upload a picture of your photo ID if you are able to do so. If you are not able to upload a photo, choosing the box for indefinitely confined means that you will no longer need to provide a photo ID with your request form.
- The site will automatically send the request to your municipal clerk.
The second route is to print a copy of the form yourself. Once you have a copy, fill it out, and choose the box that says you're indefinitely confined if you are having a problem photographing and or printing a photo of your photo ID. Then mail the form to your municipal clerk. You can find a pdf of the request form on the site of the Wisconsin Election Commission. When you are filling out the form, we suggest that you request an absentee ballot for all elections for the remainder of 2020. You'll find that selection in box 6 of the form. You can find the mail address for your municipal clerk at myvote.wi.gov. Choose "Find My Polling Place". On the lefthand side of the screen you will see the name and some contact information for your municipal clerk. Clicking on the "More Information" button will bring up the mailing address.
As of March 19, Bayside and Whitefish Bay are sending forms to request an absentee ballot to every registered voter! Some other communities may be doing the same. And if Wisconsin takes steps now to have all votes by mail, we can heave a sigh of relief and avoid the risk of being contaminated at the polls or spreading the virus to others there. Wouldn't that be a good thing?
You can read the text of Milwaukee County Clerk George Christianson's memo:Read more
Grassroots North Shore is proud to announce its
The nonpartisan general election of 2020 is April 7. Early voting in most North Shore communities will begin by March 23 (in a few communities it will begin earlier -- check with your village or city administration. It will end on April 3 at 5pm. Before you go to the polls -- either for early voting or on election day -- be sure to check your registration, polling place and sample ballot: myvote.wi.gov.
The only statewide race on your ballot will be the one for Wisconsin State Supreme Court. The candidates are Dan Kelly (incumbent and Walker appointee), and Jill Karofsky, judge on the Circuit Court of Wisconsin. You can read our endorsement of Judge Karofsky and her answers to our Grassroots North Shore Questionnaire. You can also visit the the website and Facebook page for Karofsky's campaign. We urge our supporters to vote for Karofsky. She is the only progressive in this race.
Our Elections 2020 page provides some information about early voting in many North Shore communities, including phone numbers to reach your community's administration. It would be prudent to call to make sure, but most early voting for the nonpartisan election on April 7, 2020, will take place at the city or village hall. So please vote in this election and in all subsequent elections this year!
In addition to the April 7 election, Wisconsin will hold two more: the partisan primary on August 11 and the general election on November 3. Mark your calendars for subsequent dates now so that you don't forget to vote. (If you know you are going to be out of town or otherwise unable to vote early in person or go to the polls on election day, you can always request a mail-in ballot at myvote.wi.gov.)