We win, AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN!

So yesterday, the Electoral College officially elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the President-elect and Vice President-elect of the United States. The next step, the official tally of the Electoral College votes by a joint session of Congress, will take place on January 6, 2021. Legally, the only slate of electors that our senators and representatives can challenge is the slate from Wisconsin. And that's because Wisconsin is the only state that missed the "safe harbor" date (December 8) in certifying its electors. But that legal nicety is unlikely to deter the dead-heads and lickspittles whose loyalty to the vanquished current occupant of the White House is not dented. Never mind. President Biden and Vice President Harris will be sworn in at noon on January 20, 2021!

The Georgia senate runoffs remain the last election of the 2020 cycle. We can't stress often enough how important these two senate seats are. If Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock BOTH win, Democrats will win control of the Senate. If not, Mitch McConnell will be able to stop any legislation he likes, just as he has gummed up a COVID-19 relief bill for months. You can help out by calling with the campaigns, with the Fair Fight organization or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.You can find links to each of these organizations on our Take Action page for the Georgia elections. You can also connect with a Georgia group to write postcards. You can find information and instructions for this postcard project here.

Looking forward to 2021 and beyond, we encourage you to sign up to be a member of the first issue teams Grassroots North Shore is setting up. Paul Geenen is hosting a Zoom informational meeting on Monday, Dec. 21st at noon to discuss the structure and purposes for each team. The teams will dive more deeply into specific issues through meeting with invited speakers followed by discussions. We will start with four committees — Environment, Criminal Justice, Gun Violence, and Fair Maps — and are open to additional issue teams if there is interest. Please sign up after which you will receive an email confirmation and a link for the Dec. 21st noon informational meeting will be sent to you.

The events list continues to be fairly sparse, as it generally is over the winter holidays. But there is one event off of our beaten track that some of you might be interested in attending. The Waukesha Democratic Party is holding its meeting on Thursday, December 17, at 7pm. On Zoom of course. In addition to hearing from their county chair (perhaps he'll talk about the significant inroads Dems made in Waukesha County in the November 3 election), the meeting will hear from Tom Nelson who plans to contest Ron Johnson's senate seat in 2022, and Jill Underly who is running to be Superintendent of Public Instruction.

On my holiday wish list: an effective vaccine for COVID-19 and an end to the reign of error under tRump. With health care workers now beginning to get the jab, the end is in sight even if we mere mortals have to be patient for several more months. And it appears the FDA will meet to approve a second viable vaccine — from Moderna — some time later this week. But the departure of Bill Barr a little over a week from now is in my view the functional beginning of the end of the Drumpf regime. For sheer reading pleasure, you should read Charlie Pierce's take on Barr's resignation letter! As we light our Hanukah candles and/or our Christmas trees, we can truly thank each other and ourselves for all the hard work we did throughout 2020. And when we ring in the New Year, we can look forward to renewal.

Dear {{recipient.first_name_or_friend}} — 

So yesterday, the Electoral College officially elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the President-elect and Vice President-elect of the United States. The next step, the official tally of the Electoral College votes by a joint session of Congress, will take place on January 6, 2021. Legally, the only slate of electors that our senators and representatives can challenge is the slate from Wisconsin. And that's because Wisconsin is the only state that missed the "safe harbor" date (December 8) in certifying its electors. But that legal nicety is unlikely to deter the dead-heads and lickspittles whose loyalty to the vanquished current occupant of the White House is not dented. Never mind. President Biden and Vice President Harris will be sworn in at noon on January 20, 2021!

The Georgia senate runoffs remain the last election of the 2020 cycle. We can't stress often enough how important these two senate seats are. If Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock BOTH win, Democrats will win control of the Senate. If not, Mitch McConnell will be able to stop any legislation he likes, just as he has gummed up a COVID-19 relief bill for months. You can help out by calling with the campaigns, with the Fair Fight organization or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.You can find links to each of these organizations on our Take Action page for the Georgia elections. You can also connect with a Georgia group to write postcards. You can find information and instructions for this postcard project here.

Looking forward to 2021 and beyond, we encourage you to sign up to be a member of the first issue teams Grassroots North Shore is setting up. Paul Geenen is hosting a Zoom informational meeting on Monday, Dec. 21st at noon to discuss the structure and purposes for each team. The teams will dive more deeply into specific issues through meeting with invited speakers followed by discussions. We will start with four committees — Environment, Criminal Justice, Gun Violence, and Fair Maps — and are open to additional issue teams if there is interest. Please sign up after which you will receive an email confirmation and a link for the Dec. 21st noon informational meeting will be sent to you.

The events list continues to be fairly sparse, as it generally is over the winter holidays. But there is one event off of our beaten track that some of you might be interested in attending. The Waukesha Democratic Party is holding its meeting on Thursday, December 17, at 7pm. On Zoom of course. In addition to hearing from their county chair (perhaps he'll talk about the significant inroads Dems made in Waukesha County in the November 3 election), the meeting will hear from Tom Nelson who plans to contest Ron Johnson's senate seat in 2022, and Jill Underly who is running to be Superintendent of Public Instruction.

On my holiday wish list: an effective vaccine for COVID-19 and an end to the reign of error under tRump. With health care workers now beginning to get the jab, the end is in sight even if we mere mortals have to be patient for several more months. And it appears the FDA will meet to approve a second viable vaccine — from Moderna — some time later this week. But the departure of Bill Barr a little over a week from now is in my view the functional beginning of the end of the Drumpf regime. For sheer reading pleasure, you should read Charlie Pierce's take on Barr's resignation letter! As we light our Hanukah candles and/or our Christmas trees, we can truly thank each other and ourselves for all the hard work we did throughout 2020. And when we ring in the New Year, we can look forward to renewal.

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Safe Harbor Day!

Today is Safe Harbor day. And that means the votes of electors who have been certified cannot be challenged by Congress when it meets to count the electoral votes on January 6. The electors will meet in their respective state capitals on December 14 to cast their ballots for President and Vice President. Apparently, Wisconsin is the only state to have missed the deadline. And that's because there is still a lawsuit in state court. There's a hearing in that case scheduled for Thursday. But even if the 10 electoral votes from Wisconsin will be challengeable when Congress meets in January, President-elect Joe Biden will still win, with 296 votes, in the Electoral College!

Meanwhile, the circus continues to make the rounds of various states. Today, there's a report in Daily Kos that the state of Texas is seeking to file a suit against Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. Suits between states are adjudicated only at the Supreme Court of the United States but first five justices must agree to let Texas file its suit. Let's pop some corn and watch.

On the vaccine front, there's some really good news, some really bad news, and some more crazy news. First the really good news: the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA AND it appears that even one dose of this two-dose vaccine is effective in preventing COVID-19. The really bad news is that President Trump declined to purchase large quantities of the Pfizer vaccine when the government was offered that opportunity last summer. (The tRump administration of course denies this.) Although the US has purchased something like enough Pfizer vaccine to inoculate 30-50 million people, Pfizer will be unable to supply more doses until June 2021, because the company has orders from many other countries that it will need to fulfill first. And in some more crazy news, tRump will sign an executive order today that purports to "to prevent the U.S. government from shipping any doses it has purchased to aid any foreign countries until all needs are met within the United States." But, "it’s not entirely clear on how exactly the executive order would work."

There's definitely a glimmer of hope, but we have a lot of tunnel to get through still. With the virus so widespread in our communities, everyone has to assume that wherever they go, they are likely to encounter one or more people who are infectious. It's hard with the winter holidays upon us, but everyone needs to stay home! Do not gather with family and friends for Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukah, or New Year's Eve. Forego that pleasure just this once and make a difference in your own and countless other people's lives. Our own Dr. Ian Gilson has provided us with an excellent and informative presentation on the coronavirus and what we now know about its nature and its infectiousness. If you missed his live event, you can watch a video of it on YouTube. Don't wait. As more information, especially about vaccinations, becomes available, we will be taking this presentation down. We'll ask him to provide us with an updated talk, possibly in January, when there will be new information about FDA approval of additional vaccines and perhaps even some concrete information about distribution and availability.

Signature gathering for the upcoming spring elections is under way. You can review the offices for which there will be elections on our website. The document is not quite complete for all the races in our communities. If you know about any additional ones, either in our seven North Shore Milwaukee County communities, or in Ozaukee County, please let us know.

Finally, I urge everyone to help elect two Democrats — Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock — to the US Senate from Georgia in the run-off elections to be held on January 5. The importance of Democratic success in these contests cannot be overstated. Success translate to Democratic governance at the national level; failure means more Washington gridlock and GOP glee! Grassroots North Shore has already sent 3000 postcards to voters in Georgia. So now is the time to phone, either with the campaigns themselves or through Fair Fight, the organization Stacey Abrams set up. The reception of these calls, based on the reports I've heard so far, is positive. People seem to be pleased to hear from fellow Dems. And since run-offs are always turn-out fights, let's help make sure the Georgia Dems do the necessary.

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One more step forward!

I'm not sure how many shoes are involved in this whole process, but yesterday another one dropped as both Wisconsin and Arizona certified their results from the November 3 election. The recount in Wisconsin, which cost the Drumpf campaign $3 million, resulted in an additional 87 votes for President-elect Biden. In other words, each new Biden vote cost the Drumpf campaign $34,483. Thanks, one-term president* tRump!

Meanwhile, Drumpf sues to try to reverse Wisconsin's election results:

The lawsuit challenges more than 220,000 ballots cast in Dane and Milwaukee counties, alleging election officials broke the law by continuing the longstanding practice of early voting, allowing voters to avoid the voter ID law by labeling themselves indefinitely confined, allowing clerks to fill in missing information on absentee ballot envelopes and collecting absentee ballots in Madison parks.

Although the law here states that challenges to election results are to be filed in circuit court, the Drumpf campaign went straight to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. There's no certainty that the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case. But these sorts of lawsuits, like the ones filed in Michigan and Pennsylvania — all of which have failed spectacularly — can and have done harm to the US electoral system by convincing Drumpf supporters voter fraud is rampant and decreasing their confidence in the national vote count "from 56% before the election to 28% afterward" (Bright Line Watch).

To make sure the Biden administration is not hamstrung from the start by an obstructionist Senator McConnell and his henchmen, we need to help the two Democrats running for Senate in Georgia. If they win, we win the Senate. So, Grassroots North Shore needs more postcard writers: GRNS volunteers are currently writing 2,000 postcards to Georgia voters for the special Senate election for Jon Ossoff and Rev. Warnock. We just received 1,000 more names/addresses so we need more writers to get these postcards mailed by Dec. 9. We chose that date because early voting begins on Dec. 14 in Georgia. This project requires volunteers to handwrite a short message and address the postcards. The packets contain 25 postcards, stamps, instructions and the script and will be delivered to you by Dec. 3. To volunteer please contact Norma Gilson ASAP.

And don't overlook these opportunities to participate in the governance of our state:

Governor Evers is holding virtual listening sessions as he prepares his 2021-23 State Budget proposal. Wisconsinites are encouraged to offer their thoughts and recommendations for the Governor to consider. We hope many WISDOM members will speak at the next two sessions. To speak, you must register ahead of time.

  1. The Listening Session on "Environment, Infrastructure and the Economy" will be held TOMORROW (December 2) evening at 6:00 pm. This is the time to speak about Transit and Transportation issues, or matters related to protection of the environment. To be allowed to participate, you need to register. You can do so at the Governor's website. You can also submit written comments or suggestions.

  2. The Listening Session on "Criminal Justice Reform" will be held Next Tuesday, December 8. Again, the session will be at 6:00 pm. And, agan, you need to register at the Governor's website.
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now we can exhale. Twice!

ast night, the GSA chief, Emily Murphy, sent a letter to President-elect Biden signifying that the presidential transition could begin. And I'm sure everyone gave a big sigh of relief. Now, three weeks after election day, Pennsylvania and Nevada finally certified their elections and we can all exhale. Again. (For a lefty take on the momentous anti-climax, see this Daily Kos diary.) That of course leaves the recount in Wisconsin (and the ridiculous one the Drumpf campaign is calling for in Georgia) to go. Plus, I guess, a new court case? That's what the tweeter-in-chief claims, anyway. His campaign did appeal a federal district court's ruling on a case that seeks to nullify the voting in Pennsylvania. You can see an account of what that appeal includes, if you have time and patience.

The recount in Wisconsin is plodding along. And the Democratic Party is still looking for volunteers to observe the remaining process in Milwaukee County. If you can give some time to this work, that would be great. Sign up here. According to the chair of the Wisconsin Election Commission, in a presentation to the Milwaukee County Democratic Party on November 23, the Drumpf campaign is asking that absentee ballots requested through the myvote.wi.gov site should be discarded because the clerks did not receive the appropriate request applications directly. Also, in-person absentee ballots should be discarded because the people who voted early in person used absentee ballots but did not have to fill out the form requesting absentee ballots. And those are only two of the odd rationales for challenging ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties. This week's Capitol Notes conversation on UWUM 89.7 FM, on Monday, November 23, is headlined "Wisconsin Recount Will Likely End Up In Court." Is anyone surprised?

It's a holiday week but we are urged not to spend the it with family we don't regularly live with or to travel. But it seems millions of people are ignoring the pleadings of officials and scientists. I hope you are not engaging in high risk behaviors! To get a great handle on the state of our knowledge about the coronavirus, and how the Medical Society of Wisconsin assesses the risk of various activities, you can't do better than to watch a recording of Dr. Ian Gilson's presentation to Grassroots North Shore on November 22. Dr. Gilson uses his first-hand experience with patients who have contracted COVID-19 to help us better understand the latest scientific information.

The events list is pretty lean for the next two weeks, but the run-off elections that will take place in Georgia on January 5, 2021, will determine whether Mitch McConnell is demoted to Minority Leader, an outcome devoutly to be wished. You can do your part to help! Here are some ways to help put the Senate in Democratic hands so President Biden will be able to pass some much-needed legislation to provide COVID relief, stabilize the ACA, prop up our failing economy, and deal with many other pressing issues.

All in all, we have much to be thankful for this year, even if we cannot gather with extended family to share a meal. We have won an historic election for President. He may do some damage in the meantime, but tRump will exit the White House on January 20, 2021. The new administration will be able to roll back many of the terrible orders our current *president issued. We've elected the FIRST WOMAN and the first Black and South Asian American to the Vice Presidency. And there are several very promising vaccines for the coronavirus in the offing. So 2021 will almost certainly have a very difficult beginning but we can hope for a happy end to much of the misery and sadness we are currently experiencing by late in the year, at least. So whether you're alone for the holiday, celebrating it with the people in your immediate household, or risking visiting with a wider circle of friends and family, be thankful and be safe.

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Where the winning votes came from

GRASSROOTS NORTH SHORE did (at least some of) it! As analyses of voting patterns roll in, one thing is clear: the Milwaukee suburbs made a huge difference this year. Although Biden's vote share in Milwaukee County was 69% to Drumpf's 29% (JSOnline.com), voter turnout in the city was essentially unchanged compared to the turnout in 2016 (JSOnline, November 9, 2020). Using the still unofficial results, Sarah Volpenhein concludes, "In the city as a whole, Biden picked up close to 6,000 more votes than Clinton did four years ago, according to unofficial results. For his part, Drumpf also won more votes than four years ago: nearly 3,000. Third-party candidates this time around got a smaller share of the vote." On November 6, Craig Gilbert's scan of the data is headlined "Where Joe Biden won Wisconsin: Dane County and the Milwaukee County suburbs." The places where the crucial 44,000 vote shift occurred? They were "principally in the city of Madison, the Madison suburbs and the suburban communities within Milwaukee County. It also occurred — on a smaller scale — in the suburban counties of Waukesha and Ozaukee, the Fox Valley counties of Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago, and the counties of La Crosse, Eau Claire and Rock. These are all among the state’s most populous places."

The most detailed analysis of the vote in Milwaukee County comes from John Johnson, a research fellow at the Marquette University Law School's Lubar Center. His data show that the net votes for the Democratic presidential candidate grew by 51.5% between 2000 and 2020. The net votes in the Milwaukee suburbs over that same period grew from a deficit (-7,685 votes) to a net gain of 36,663 votes, or a change of 44,348 votes — a little more than 575%! In short, "Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris netted a larger number of votes than any other Democrat in Milwaukee County’s history. According to unofficial returns, they received 182,896 more votes than Donald Drumpf and Mike Pence. In percentage terms, this 40-point margin of victory is only exceeded by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1932 and 1936 campaigns (45- and 56-point victories, respectively), going back at least to 1892." Johnson goes on to say that "a remarkable blue wave in Milwaukee’s innermost suburbs ... recast the region’s political complexion. In the City of Milwaukee net votes cast for the Biden/Harris ticket exceeded those cast for Clinton in 2016 by about 3,000 votes. However, the Milwaukee county suburbs collectively netted the Democratic ticket over 17,000 more votes in 2020 than 2016."

But what does the picture look like in the North Shore suburbs and Ozaukee County? Johnson's piece tells us about the North Shore area while Chris Drosner provides the results for the WOW Counties in a piece for Milwaukee Magazine published on November 5, 2020. The northern suburbs of Milwaukee have shifted dramatically to the Democrats over the last 20 years. Here are the numbers showing the Democratic presidential vote margins as the difference between the percent won by the Democrat compared to the percent won by the Republican.

Municipality 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016 2020 Change
Bayside 12.2 12.4 22.5 10.7 34.3 42.8 30.6
Brown Deer 1.6 4.7 24.3 27.6 34.3 44.4 42.8
Fox Point 2.8 6.1 13.8 6.0 30.3 41.4 38.6
Glendale 13.9 16.3 27.4 24.7 37.2 45.4 31.5
River Hills −17.4 −15.0 −7.0 −15.7 7.9 14.3 31.7
Shorewood 23.8 33.6 47.4 44.7 60.0 67.1 43.3
Whitefish Bay -9.2 0.5 12.8 4.5 33.0 41.8 51.0

In the WOW Counties (Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington), the Republican strength remains but there are small blue gains in parts of those counties. Drosner writes that "Democratic gains were greatest in the more ... suburban suburbs and discrete cities — as opposed to the counties' exurbs and rural areas. Biden's largest gain in the WOW counties was in the city of Brookfield, where he added 8 points over Clinton's share. Biden gains of 4-6 points were more common in the WOW burbs, and those in rural areas and the southwestern part of the metro area were smaller." The only comparative figures here are with the 2016 outcome, so it's more difficult to see the longer term trends. But here is the data we have.

Waukesha 2016: Drumpf 60.0% | Clinton 33.3% 2020: Drumpf 59.6% | Biden 38.5%
Ozaukee 2016: Drumpf 55.8% | Clinton 37.0% 2020: Drumpf 55.2% | Biden 43.2%
Washington 2016: Drumpf 67.4% | Clinton 27.2% 2020: Drumpf 68.3% | Biden 30.2%

The slight uptick in Democratic performance in the WOW counties is largely attributable to the decrease in third party shares of the vote. But still, there's a little drift to the blue side we'll want to build on. And for the brightest spot in the WOW picture, how about that slim victory in the city of Cedarburg! Biden won there by "19 votes out of more than 8,000 cast. Drumpf won Cedarburg by 8.5 points in 2016." Congratulations to the Ozaukee County Dems who really put their backs into this year's election. And of course to Grassroots North Shore for the thousands of postcards and follow-up phone calls our volunteers made to the county. With all that hard work, we helped achieve the victory Deb Andraca won in the 23rd Assembly District!

Finally, for a look at demographic data in the state as a whole, take a look at this Washington Post piece exploring exit poll results. The data are preliminary right now, but a first read shows that 92% of people identifying themselves as Democrats supported the Biden/Harris ticket, while only 86% of those identifying themselves as Republicans supported the current orange elephant in the White House.

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It's not over!

As I am writing this, around 3pm on November 4, we have won Wisconsin by 20,000 votes, give or take. So a HUGE thank-you to everyone who got engaged and worked hard for this outcome. Several other states, including Pennsylvania and Michigan have yet to be called. Arizona and Nevada are also up in the air. As a result, we cannot definitively say that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have won. Still, it is a promising map, though too close to repudiate the large numbers of the country's voters who still support the man currently occupying the White House. Despite all the lies, the cruelty, the law-breaking and law-bending, the lack of vision and the lack of empathy. It's well nigh inexplicable that our fellow citizens have made that choice.

But here we are. The newsletter is a little more than a day late because I was working in a Virtual Staging Location to Get Out the Vote in the Milwaukee area over the weekend and on Election Day. We were down to the bottom of the barrel and every vote we managed to get out made a difference. That is my take-away going forward. If we want this state and this country to move in a new direction, we have to put in the hard work. And not just in the last week or two before an election. There will be important nonpartisan races in our area next spring and we have to be ready. So take a break now, but plan to get active and to find out what YOU can do as soon as we have all recharged.

Needless to say, there's very little on the events list right now. But that does not mean there's nothing to do. Have a look. And don't miss the entry for a John Nichols presentation on Saturday, November 14!

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One week to go!

We're one week away from what we used to call Election Day but is now better called "the end of voting day." We're unlikely to know the complete results here in Wisconsin that night because the law does not permit any processing of absentee ballots until 7am when the polls open on November 3. And as of this morning, 1,771,503 ballots have been issued, and 1,451,462 reported returned, including 352,073 in-person absentee ballots (clerk's office) cast since 10/20. In other words, about half of the 2.9 million votes in 2016's presidential election have already been cast. And, depending on where you live, there are still three to five days of early voting yet to come.

We don't know, of course, what this avalanche of early voting means: it could mean people — presumably on both sides — are just that eager to vote or it could mean that voters in Wisconsin are deeply concerned about the explosion of COVID-19 cases we're currently seeing. In any case, people are voting early in droves. If you have not voted yet, TODAY'S THE DAY TO DO SO. And if you still have an absentee ballot kicking around, fill it out, get the certification envelope signed and witnessed, and take it to the DROP BOX in your community. You can find a list of drop box locations by using the Wisconsin Democratic Party's website.

The COVID-19 situation in Wisconsin is almost catastrophic: the per capita rate of infection is the 3rd highest in the nation, according to the New York Times. And the total deaths from the coronavirus so far have exceeded 225,000 nationwide. In other words, "American carnage" for real this time. Mark Meadows, the Chief of Staff to the orange occupant of the oval office, has signaled that the administration's policy is to avoid blame for the explosion of infections by doing nothing itself but pointing to governors' policies in the states. In a CNN interview on Sunday, he said, "We're not going to control the pandemic." Although some of the press have called Meadows's statement "admitting defeat," it is in fact merely making plain what has been the de facto federal policy all along. Meanwhile, a study from Kansas University has shown that COVID-19 is spreading half as quickly in counties with mask mandates than in those without.

As we round the last turn and head down the stretch toward the end of voting, there are still plenty of opportunities to help make sure Wisconsin corrects its error of 2016.

  • Phonebanking. This is the most important thing you can do to make sure the turnout in Milwaukee and all across the state is as robust as we can make it. The Biden campaign is holding phone banks for the four days of the traditional Get Out the Vote, when we would ordinarily be knocking on doors. So if you live in Milwaukee County sign up for shifts on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. If you live in Ozaukee County, sign up for shifts for Mequon and Thiensville or Cedarburg, Grafton, and Port Washington. We need to get every last person who is going to vote for Biden (and other Democrats down the ballot) to turn out. It's how you do your part!

  • Work with Supermarket Legends by handing out flyers at busy locations. Pick up flyers and a list of places to distribute them at Linea Sundstrom's home, 1320 Lake Bluff, Shorewood. Flyers are in the red box near her garage. For questions, email Terri Lowder.

  • Volunteer to drive sound trucks in Milwaukee to help turn out the vote during the Final Four days (10/31-11/3), and especially Election Day, when we'll want about 10 of these trucks. Drivers will pick up the trucks the campaign is renting, large speakers and gas cards from the office, and routes to drive in high-priority, low turnout wards. The campaign would love to have people who are committed to all four days, but if that's unrealistic it would be great if volunteers could form their own teams to cover the period. To get involved, contact Millicent Cripe. She'd love to have volunteers connect with her by noon on Wednesday, October 28.

  • Drop literature on behalf of the Biden Campaign:

You'll also find phone banking and lit drop opportunities for specific candidates in the events list.

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NOW it's a sprint!

Early in-person voting has begun in Wisconsin! The chair of the Milwaukee County Democratic Party has informed the Executive Committee that by tomorrow, voters in Wisconsin will have already cast over a million votes. Yesterday's Journal Sentinel analyzed the absentee ballots received before the early in-person voting began. "Wisconsinites have now returned more than 860,000 absentee ballots by mail, according to the latest statewide data released Monday. That is the equivalent of 29% of the state’s 2016 turnout of just under 3 million. And it’s astronomically more ballots cast by mail than in any previous fall election in Wisconsin. Dane County has returned the most ballots as a percentage of its 2016 vote (45%), followed by Brown (35%), Door (34%), Milwaukee (32%) and Bayfield, Ozaukee and Outagamie at 31%." In the North Shore, "communities that have hit 50% of their 2016 turnout include Bayside, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay in Milwaukee County...." In short, turnout is already high and climbing.

If you yourself have not already voted, now would be a good time to do so. For early voting days & times in your community, see our Early Voting page on our website. Voting early means that if you are not in a high risk group for Covid-19, you can sign up to be a "poll observer" and help ensure that voters are not intimidated or challenged when they go to vote on election day. Sign up here.

And here's some analysis you can use — and we have published on our website — to talk about the economy and jobs with that shrinking pool of undecided voters. Bill Holahan and our own Keith Schmitz have teamed up to bring us another "Mythbusters" segment. Bill dissects the latest jobs report, the last one the Federal government will release before Election Day. Be sure you watch it and refer others to it.

The events list is suddenly quite full and long! Lots of opportunities to help win races in Wisconsin. So be sure you sign up for something. Although voters are turning out in droves around here, our candidates will need your help to chase down every last one of our left-leaning supporters to turn them out by or on election day. Only two weeks remain: get busy!

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Four weeks to go

With only four weeks to go, Grassroots North Shore is putting the pedal to the metal. And you should too. The polls are looking good but we all know we cannot entirely rely on them. So what are you prepared to do? Here are some suggestions:

You'll find other opportunities to contribute your energies to worthy candidates and causes in the events listing.

The latest forecast for the electoral college from fivethirtyeight.com predicts that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will win 83 out of 100 times in the 40,000 simulations the site runs frequently. It's based on both state and national polls and is a pretty reliable guide to where things stand right now. The chances of a Biden/Harris win have been increasing steadily over the past week. So I'm cautiously optimistic. The site has Wisconsin at 52.6% for Biden and 46.5% for Drumpf. The margin is a mere 6.1% but the really important piece of data is that Biden is well over the 50% mark!

RealClearPolitics has the national polling at +9.2% for Biden and the Senate going BLUE if its state-by-state projections pan out. Although we should not rely on polls and relax, you might want to bookmark these two sites. RealClearPolitics runs a bit to the right while fivethirtyeight.com tries to hew to the objective, statistical probabilities. Between the two, you are likely to get a fairly clear picture of the state of the race.

Finally, the results of the first debate between the disgrace of a president and former VP Biden are in. Daily Kos has the story.

A new CNN-SSRS national poll released Tuesday puts Joe Biden up over Donald Drumpf by a whopping 16 points among likely voters, 57%-41%. And the poll isn't exactly an outlier. Another national poll released over the weekend by NBC News/Wall Street Journal gave Biden a 14-point advantage among registered voters.

Both polls were taken entirely after Drumpf's off-the-rails performance last Tuesday, but CNN's poll—taken Thursday-Sunday—also captured most of the window in which the public learned Drumpf had tested positive for COVID-19. In fact, support for Biden's response to the pandemic spiked in the latest poll, giving him a 21-point advantage over Drumpf on the matter.

Overall, on the issues, voters gave an advantage to Drumpf on basically nothing. Even on the economy, Biden held a slight edge, with voters preferring Biden over Drumpf 50%-48%. And then there was everything else—where Biden dominated.

  • Coronavirus: Biden 59%, Drumpf 38%
  • Health care: Biden 59%, Drumpf 39%
  • Racial inequality: Biden 62%, Drumpf 36%
  • Supreme Court nominations: Biden 57%, Drumpf 41%
  • Crime and safety: Biden 55%, Drumpf 43%

Now get busy. We can win this election and take back the Senate. But we need all hands on deck.

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Let's Get Ready to Rumble

Important things to do this week: Watch the first presidential debate, perhaps, but for sure sign up for our Sweet Sixteen afternoon party and FUNdraiserat 4:30 on Sunday, Oct. 4, with our guest and good friend John Nichols. He's bound to lift our spirits and get us well and truly pumped up ahead of the election. In the spirit of the Wisconsin we used to know, John is a true progressive through and through. He believes in the power of collective action, both in marching for justice and in voting for change. The event itself is open to the public. But we encourage you to support Grassroots North Shore with whatever donation you can afford.

In this year of multiple elections, and of Covid-19, we have still been hard at work, teaming up with Souls to the Polls to recruit Election Inspectors (aka poll workers), with Civitech and Indivisible groups in northern Illinois to register voters, and with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to make direct voter contact. We have now sent voter information postcards and follow-up phone calls to more than 10,000 voters in Ozaukee County, the North Shore, and the city. We've helped sponsor a candidate forum with the Ozaukee Dems and held another candidate forum for four candidates running for Assembly and state Senate. And now we're experimenting with innovative pantomime canvassing — with poster boards — to maintain appropriate social distancing while refusing to give up door-knocking altogether. Volunteers have stepped up to make all these activities possible. But without funds, the vibrant and creative talents our supporters provide can't continue. And that's why we need your financial support as well.

Partnering with others is one way we multiply the energy and talent in the Grassroots North Shore Community. So let Jim Brown with Supermarket Legends know if you want to help Milwaukee optimize its early voting period (from October 20 through November 1). The plan is to do signage and visibility near early voting sites (there are 18 of them) without any direct contact with people. Near some of the sites where signs might be most effective, cars with EARLY VOTE HERE NOW signs will be placed on top of cars and trucks. Volunteers who are comfortable with it can stand nearby and wave bright orange signs with arrows pointing to the voting locations without risking anyone's health. Supermarket Legends will supply the signs and everything else you need.

Grassroots North Shore is still looking for people to make follow-up phone calls to voters who received postcards from us, both on the North Shore and in the city. Our purpose is to encourage early voting, both by vote-at-home balloting (aka vote-by-mail) and by early in-person voting. Our phone calls provide important information about the processes people can use and also give voters the phone number of the Voter Protection Team in case they run into snags. You can sign up to help us complete the calls to North Shore voters and to younger voters in Milwaukee. Like Supermarket Legends, we know that early voting effectively reduces lines and chaos on Election day. And people can register or correct problems with their registration during the early in-person voting period. The sealed ballot envelope can be witnessed and turned in as the voter completes the process.

YARD SIGNS! We have them and they're yours just for the asking! Go to our Yard Signs website page and sign up for all that apply: Biden/Harris, of course, but also Neal Plotkin (8th state Senate District), Deb Andraca (23rd Assembly District), and Emily Siegrist (24th Assembly District). Yard signs help with name recognition for the candidates and let your neighbors and passersby know that you are proud of and enthusiastically support our candidates. After you sign up, you'll receive an email with some instructions and/or contact from those organizing the distribution of signs.

Finally, I'm sure you've already heard about the New York Times bombshell reporting on DJT's 20 years of tax returns. The lead story was published Sunday evening. Today there's a second story showing the fortune and the fortunes DJT made out of The Apprentice, what he squandered the money on, but how he catapulted himself into the White House on the strength of the phony business acumen that was the central fiction of the TV show. Will this be the exposé that brings "The Donald" down? Who knows. But it appears that rushing to name a new Supreme Court justice is not helping him win over any voters. It turns out that a majority of Americans think winner of presidential election should select Supreme Court nominee, according to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

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