Friday's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade has left many people angry and demoralized. The anger is righteous, but we cannot afford despair. Read Rebecca Traister's article The Necessity of Hope In New York Magazine for inspiration and direction.
A New England Journal of Medicine editorial is a blockbuster. It ends with this paragraph: “By abolishing longstanding legal protections, the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade serves American families poorly, putting their health, safety, finances, and futures at risk. In view of these predictable consequences, the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine strongly condemn the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.”
Governor Evers spoke strongly in his response to the immediate resumption of an 1849 law banning abortion in Wisconsin. Here's Channel 3000 in Madison coverage: "Gov. Tony Evers said he will grant clemency to any abortion providers who are convicted under the state’s 1849 abortion ban, during a rally Saturday ahead of the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention in La Crosse."
And here's a quotation from Governor Evers published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online on June 25, 2022: "I don’t think that a law that was written before the Civil War, or before women secured the right to vote, should be used to dictate these intimate decisions on reproductive health."
In spite of everything, Grassroots North Shore must persevere. And as I remind you frequently, the organization cannot continue to do its work without you. One thing you can do to help: make a donation to support our election work.
Just a reminder: absentee ballots for the August 9 primary are being sent out already. I received mine on June 25! But it's not too late to request one at MyVote.WI.gov. COVID-19 is not the only or even the chief reason to vote absentee or early in person (see info about early voting). One vital thing you can do voting absentee or early allows you to do: apply to be a poll worker (i.e., an election inspector). In Milwaukee County, residents can find the qualifications and an online application at the Election Commission. In Ozaukee County and elsewhere, check with your municipal clerk. (Find contact information on our website.)
Just as important: Voter Protection. The Voter Protection Team for the Wisconsin Dems sends out a newsletter listing volunteer opportunities:
- answering voter's questions on a hotline (use the "contact the organization" button to send email inquiring about the possibility);
- making phone calls to recruit people to help protect voters;
- becoming a poll observer (at a polling place on election day).
Getting out in force to protect voters has never been so important, given what the GOP is doing to undermine elections at local, state, and federal levels. Here's what we know about GOP plans in an article by Heidi Przybyla on June 1, 2022: ‘It’s going to be an army’: Tapes reveal GOP plan to contest elections. "Video recordings of Republican Party operatives meeting with grassroots activists provide an inside look at a multi-pronged strategy to target and potentially overturn votes in Democratic precincts: Install trained recruits as regular poll workers and put them in direct contact with party attorneys." We need to help protect voters and that means stepping up to do our part in these crucial elections.
Another way to turn out voters is to participate in voter registration at MATC in the fall with the American Federation of Teachers Local 212, representing the faculty of MATC. We need volunteers. We are in need of volunteers to help students register to vote at all four campuses. We will be conducting registration from 11:00-1:00 several days of week from the end of August through election day. Part of the role is to help students understand the importance of voting as well. We are asking volunteers to pick one or maybe two days per week to help. We understand that some weeks you might not be there but it is easier to coordinate if we have you on a specific day. If you are interested or have questions contact Dave Weingrod.
A glimmer of welcome news? A Politico article June 26, 2022, is headlined "Trump fatigue sets in: ‘Some donors are getting sick of the sh--show'." "As the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots lays out Donald Trump’s obsessive efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, Trump allies have responded with the political equivalent of a collective eye roll." The SCOTUS decisions on gun safety, abortion, and religion in public schools haven't helped either. Here's the Daily Kos roundup of weekend polls on the impact of the Dobbs decision: Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The fallout continues as the GOP's regressive plan comes into focus.
Bottom line: We need every Democrat, Independent, and disaffected Republican — all those who support women's rights — to elect Democrats at all levels to mitigate the damage that the GOP plans to do to the social fabric of this country. We're counting on you to help us get all like-minded voters to the polls in August and November. And to support our election work. We're the majority. We need to act like it and win like it!
Finally, I want to leave you with a view of our political present and future by Ronald Brownstein in The Atlantic, June 24, 2022:Read more
The January 6 Committee hearings continue today at noon CDT, but there are plenty of places to read about the three that have already occurred and to catch a recap of today's action on MSNBC beginning at 7pm CDT. So this week's newsletter is focused on what Grassroots North Shore and other organizations are undertaking ahead of the August 9 primary.
We've all but completed our candidate information for the upcoming election. In our Elections 2022 section, we provide links to online information for each candidate in each race — including Governor Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul, candidates for Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Assembly Districts 10, 23, 24, and 60. Plus, of course, US Senate and the 4th Congressional District. In contested races, we also provide a questionnaire with candidates' responses. In addition, we provide information on early in-person voting and videos of candidate interviews. We hope you will use these materials to become a well-informed voter. And of course that you will vote in the August 9 election.
In addition to the candidate information we provide in our Elections 2022 section, there's a recording of Kathleen Dunn interviewing the top four candidates for the nomination for US Senate. If you missed it or simply want to review it, you can find it on our YouTube site.
You can still request an absentee ballot at MyVote.WI.gov for the August and November elections. If you live in Milwaukee County — and you vote absentee by mail or early in person at your municipal clerk's office — you can sign up to be an election inspector in the county. (By the way, we're still waiting for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to rule on the use of drop boxes and whether someone can deliver a ballot to your mailbox or your municipal clerk for you. Stay tuned.) The Milwaukee Election Commission needs 1,500 election inspectors for the fall primary on Tuesday, August 9th, and 2,500 for the General Election on Tuesday, November 8th. New and returning election inspectors must take a training class. They will be paid $30.00 to take the class. Election inspectors will be paid a $220 stipend for working a full shift and $113 for working a half shift on Election Day. It's just one of the ways you can help Wisconsin vote! You can find information about qualifications and apply online.
We're already sending out 3300 postcards contacting voters in the hard-to-canvass areas of Ozaukee County and will be sending material to people who now find themselves in Assembly District 10 after the redistricting required every ten years. As the August election nears, we will be making phone calls, dropping literature, and knocking on doors. We'd love to have your help. So stay tuned for specific volunteer opportunities with Grassroots North Shore.
Among our ambitions around the November election, we plan to do what we can to support Ann Roe who is running for Congress in the 1st Congressional District (encompassing much of southeast Wisconsin). The district is winnable: it's one of two truly competitive congressional districts in this election cycle. Those of you who have wanderlust or happen to be in the district at some point ought to consider pitching in. You can find Ann's website here.
Right now, Supermarket Legends is running voter registration drives at two DMVs: the Chase Street locale and the one on Teutonia. Volunteers have been at the DMVs for many weeks, and no one has reported getting COVID. Volunteers wear masks, so the organization feels this is a COVID-safe activity. They need more volunteers to fill all the shifts daily. Please consider volunteering for a two- or three-hour shift. Supermarket Legends will provide training and you will work with someone. They have a real impact at the DMVs as people registered to vote are more likely to vote, and turnout will be key in the midterms. To volunteer, contact Jim Balk.
On a bittersweet note, WAVE (Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort) has announced that it's longtime program director Heidi Rose is retiring this week. In her role as program director, Heidi has done so much. Her work has touched (and even saved) countless lives in Wisconsin and beyond. She is truly irreplaceable. Those of you who know her and/or been involved with WAVE may want to honor her. Contact the organization for more information.
As for the investigation of the long-decided 2020 presidential election in our state, there was an interesting development this month. As WisPolitics reported: Judge fines Gableman, refers him to OLR for ‘unprofessional behavior.’
Finally, let me leave you with Paul Waldman's profound insight into where the Republican Party is right now: "When [Republicans] say they fear for democracy’s survival, what they’re afraid of is the idea that we might continue to have a competitive system, in which elections are contested, sometimes Democrats win, and when they do, they get to implement their policies." We have to defeat the Republican Party at every level of government. I hope we can count on your vote in August. And your volunteer efforts!Read more
The focus of this week's newsletter is, of course, the January 6 Select Committee hearings. If you missed the opening hearing last Thursday evening, you can see it on PBS's website (beginning at 1:06) or see key bits and a written account in the New York Times. The second hearing, on Monday, June 13, is available online starting at about 19:30, in case you missed that one.
The first hearing provided an overview of the whole case and included a 7-point plan the former guy used to try to steal power. You can read a synopsis of it on Talking Points Memo. The second hearing focused on the number of times the cast of White House and campaign officials repeatedly told the ex-president that the election was not stolen, there was no widespread voter fraud, and the voting machinery did not "flip" votes from him to President Biden. Former US District Attorney Joyce Vance, commenting on MSNBC, noted that the lies tRump kept issuing and still issues will not provide an adequate defense in a criminal court because he exhibits what is known as "willful blindness." You can read a slightly different version of the same idea in an op-ed piece by Jennifer Rubin, a former Republican, in the Washington Post this morning.
The schedule and guide to how to watch is available with the caveat that the hearing originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, has been postponed for technical reasons and has not, as of this writing, been rescheduled.
And in case you missed the big local news last week, a judge finds Michael Gableman's office in contempt during tense court appearance in which the former justice refused to respond to questions."
On Sunday, June 5, Grassroots North Shore sponsored a forum with the four top candidates for the Democratic nomination for US Senate. Watch it on YouTube.Read more
The first hearing of the January 6 Select Committee will take place Thursday, June 9, in prime time at 7pm CDT. Even if you think you already know enough about the previous administration's numerous efforts to stay in power illegitimately, it's absolutely MUST SEE TV. Why? Because like the Watergate hearings 50 years ago, these hearings promise to weave a riveting, coherent, and above all comprehensive narrative tying together all the numerous strands and major participants and showing what Liz Cheney believes is an "extremely broad..." and "well-organized" conspiracy that took place over months.
There are numerous ways to watch. The Washington Post is reporting that ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN will all air the proceedings in full. "The Washington Post will have anchored coverage and analysis beginning Thursday night on www.washingtonpost.com. Whether you watch at home or join with others, make a plan to see the whole thing.
Carlene Bechen and the Oregon Area Progressives are hosting a watch party. Although the Zoom is fully subscribed, the event will also be in a live stream on Facebook. Watching with others adds to the fun!
The primary election is coming up fast. And there are several things you need to do to prepare.
- Make a plan to vote:
- inform yourself about the candidates in every race on our Elections 2022 pages;
- meet and greet some of the key candidates in our area at Virmond Park in Ozaukee County from 4pm to 6pm on Sunday, June 12 (drop in any time during the event).
Voting may be the most important action you can take for every election. But it is definitely not the only thing you can or perhaps should do to help safeguard our elections. The Milwaukee County Election Commission is soliciting Election Inspectors, also called poll workers (for people who live in Milwaukee County).
Help make elections in Milwaukee County run smoothly if you can.
While we're talking election information, I want to alert you to some important information in this year of redistricting. Although many people won't notice any changes to their electoral districts, it's important to know what happened, why it happened, and where those who have been moved finally landed. Cheryl Maranto and Deborah Patel are offering a series of "Know Your District" meetings. For Assembly District 10, sessions will take place on Thursday, June 16, and on Wednesday, July 13, at 7pm. For Assembly District 23, the sessions are Monday, June 20, and Thursday, July 14. For Assembly District 24, the sessions are Tuesday, June 21, and Friday, July 15. All of these programs begin at 7pm. You can sign up here.
Finally, we are sad to announce that Mike Maher, a long-time and active supporter of Grassroots North Shore, has died. The viewing and funeral were last week but you can read his obituary in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Let's start off with an announcement from the Ozaukee County Democrats: "Exciting news! Our very own Bob Tatterson (24th Assembly) and Dan Larsen (60th Assembly) announced their candidacies for state assembly at this week's Ozaukee Democrats meeting! .... And here's a link to Larsen's nomination form." Be sure you live in the district before signing his nomination papers. And that goes for any nomination papers you sign.
It's really important that the Democrats field candidates in every race. Not only do nominees help get the message out; they really help elect others up and down the ballot. How? They make it more likely that people will turn out to vote. We're going to need every last blue vote we can muster to return Governor Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul to their offices. And we need to elect a new Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer. Plus, the Secretary of State is also on the ballot in the August 9 primary and the fall general election. We need to win all five statewide offices plus the race for US Senate if we want to keep our rights and our democracy from falling into the hands of would-be autocrats.
Behind the scenes, right-wing operatives are ginning up ways to thwart the will of the voters. Here's one you've probably never heard of: a Talking Points Memo/ProPublica article about Jay Stone and his role as Big Lie proponent in Wisconsin.
Last weekend, the Wisconsin GOP held its convention. Can we say Republicans in Disarray? Here's how Urban Milwaukee announced the fact that Republicans failed to endorse a gubernatorial candidate ahead of the August 9 primary. As the article notes, "After a weekend of extreme politics, the race to the bottom for the WisGOP gubernatorial nomination continued at the state convention. It appears that the chaos will not be ending any time soon: the Republican Party of Wisconsin chose not to endorse a single candidate ahead of the primary on August 9." At the same convention Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was booed when he said the 2020 election results cannot be decertified. "We need to focus on going forward," he told the audience. Let chaos reign!
A few more nomination papers have trickled in. To sign any candidate's papers, you must live in the district the candidate is running in. You need to sign nomination papers and get them back in the mail (email and fax won't cut it) ASAP. You can search on your own address to make sure you know what district you're in.
Peter Peckarsky is running for the nomination for US Senate. Because it's a statewide race, you don't need to look up a district map. You can download his nomination papers and send them back by mail (Peckarsky For Wisconsin, 1345 N. Jefferson Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202). In the event of a delay in seeing the papers and snail mail will not be fast enough, please contact the campaign by email ([email protected]) or telephone (414-719-1838) and the campaign will schedule someone to pick up the fully signed papers from you.
Steven Olikara is also running to be the Democrats' US Senate nominee. Here is his nomination form and a Cap Times piece about him. Send nomination forms to Olikara for Senate, P.O. Box 510216,Milwaukee, WI 53203.
- Darrin Madison is running for Assembly District 10. You can help him get on the ballot if you live in the new AD10. (Look up your new voting district here.) Send his nomination papers to 4080 N. 21st St. Apt#4, Milwaukee, WI 53209. Or you can phone or text his campaign and someone can pick them up from you: 414-303-2404 or 414-366-5778. WisPolitics.com published an article about him recently.
You can find others' nomination forms on our Elections 2022 pages.
Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend, everyone! I can smell the grilling already.
Visit Grassroots North Shore on Facebook and Like Us!Read more
his week's newsletter will introduce a regular feature: Say No to RoJo. But before we get to that, some upcoming Grassroots North Shore events you won't want to miss. On Sunday, June 5, we're holding a Zoom webinar for the top four candidates for the US Senate nomination. And on Sunday, June 12, we're holding an outdoor meet-and-greet with those same four candidates plus candidates for Lt. Governor at Virmond Park in Ozaukee County.
And I have a few more links to candidates' nomination papers to share with you.
- Gillian Battino, running for Treasurer: nomination form | instructions
- Mandela Barnes, running for US Senate: nomination form
- Alexia Sabor, running for Secretary of State: nomination form
In a final note this week, there's news about a current lawsuit that seeks to to knock Senator Ron Johnson, Representative Tom Tiffany, and Representative Scott Fitzgerald off the ballot for aiding the insurrection on January 6, 2021. Our own Grassroots North Shore co-chair, Cheryl Maranto, is one of the plaintiffs bringing the suit.
Unlike previous efforts in North Carolina (to get Madison Cawthorn off the ballot) and the one in Georgia (to get Marjorie Taylor Greene off the ballot) — both of which failed, this one is in a federal court. An article in UpNorthNews provides a clear explanation of what the suit entails. A hearing on what's known as "standing" — whether these specific plaintiffs are entitled to bring this suit — will take place soon.
Now we turn our attention to the main electoral event of the year: the November 8 election. Let's start with some excellent reasons to re-elect Governor Evers! Although I do not usually include graphics in the newsletter, this one is just too good to pass up. We need protection from the shenanigans the GOP legislature gets up to. And Tony's our guy!
MAKE A PLAN TO VOTE! And request your absentee ballots for the August 9 partisan primary and the November 8 election, if you have not already done so. Absentee ballots can be returned either by mail or by delivering the ballot to your municipal clerk. Right now we are awaiting a decision from the Wisconsin Supreme Court on the availability of drop boxes. You should also make sure you know what Assembly district you are now in by using the search icon — in the lower right corner.
We are living through very dark days. As I'm sure you're aware, a draft opinion on the Dobbs v Jackson case at the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) leaked and was published by Politico last week. You can read the draft opinion yourself. If it stands as written or even if the opinion is modified a bit but the heart of it stands, Roe v Wade and Casey v Planned Parenthood will both be overturned in their entirety. For Wisconsin, that means abortion will be illegal once again, as it was before Roe v Wade made reproductive healthcare a universal right under a right to privacy seven Justices wrote that the Constitution implied.
While the opinion drafted by Justice Alito goes out of its way to try to distinguish between abortion cases and all the other rights that have relied on the same legal reasoning about privacy that forms the basis of the Roe v Wade decision, the truth is all sorts of other decisions — access to contraception, same sex marriage, and interracial marriage, to name just a few — are likely to be challenged on the same grounds. Alito holds that because there is no mention of abortion in the Constitution, and there is also no explicit right to privacy, Roe and Casey were "wrongly decided."
Our current Attorney General, Josh Kaul, has announced that his office will not prosecute cases of abortion. Milwaukee's District Attorney, John Chisholm, was a bit more circumspect but both note that such cases would deflect resources from more urgent matters. On the other hand, Republicans running for Attorney General support prosecuting abortions should the 1849 Wisconsin law that banned abortions once again be in force.
It's easy to fall into despair over this turn of events. After all, there does not seem to be a clear avenue to protect reproductive health rights at the federal level. And our state legislature, dominated as it is by radical Republicans, will certainly not repeal the draconian anti-abortion laws already on the books here. (See this account of Wisconsin's abortion laws in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.) But we must not. Our recourse is simple: on Mother's Day thousands of people took to the streets in protest. Public pressure of that sort, though, won't reach the stony hearts of the five Justices who have already signaled that SCOTUS will overturn Roe v Wade and Casey v Planned Parenthood. The important thing to do now: VOTE FOR PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT OUR RIGHT TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE! What stands between us and a rash of new legislation attacking all sorts of other rights to privacy is the veto pen Governor Evers wields and the determination of Josh Kaul. Re-electing them in November is our ONLY WAY to protect our personal privacy in Wisconsin.
And in other startling, but perhaps not shocking, news, Russia's infiltration of the GOP goes back at least to the McCain campaign in 2008. So says Steve Schmidt, who, as campaign advisor for the 2nd half of the campaign, ought to know. Politico has the Twitter thread and the story. Plus Mark Esper, former Secretary of Defense under the former guy, reveals more of *Rump's viciousness and stupidity in an interview with Norah O'Donnell. So our president wanted to shoot missiles into Mexico and try to pretend we didn't; to shoot Black Lives Matter protesters; and to remove all US troops from South Korea. And he called his VP and other officials "f'ing losers." Nice, right? And we might be seeing this dangerous clown act return in 2025! Again, we must vote like our country depends on it. Because it does.
So here's a little help sorting out who should be the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor. Three declared candidates visited virtually with the steering and advisory committees. We're sharing the video on our YouTube channel. It's about 50 minutes long, but take the time to watch it. All three candidates — Peng Her, Sara Rodriquez, and David Bowen — are impressive. Mr. Her, founder and CEO of the Hmong Institute, declares on his campaign website that he is running because he is "a strong advocate for building strong and safe communities, helping small business succeed, and increasing access to quality health care." Sara Rodriguez, currently a member of the Wisconsin Assembly representing Waukesha County, is a nurse and public health professional, according to her campaign website. David Bowen is also a current State Assembly representative. You can find out more about him on his campaign Facebook page. You can help get one of them on the primary ballot by downloading and circulating their nomination papers from their websites. But remember you can nominate ONLY ONE.
We will be interviewing and meeting the top candidates for the Democratic nomination for US Senate in June. It's a two-part event. On June 5, Kathleen Dunn, former NPR host, will speak with the candidates on Zoom. You can sign up to watch. We will also make the video available if you can't attend the event. And on June 12, we will hold a safe outdoor event at Virmond Park in Ozaukee County. You can meet and talk to the Senate candidates in person. The candidates for Lt. Governor will also be available for you to meet. Sign up for part two here.
By now you have undoubtedly heard the news, either from watching cable news channels last night or from Journal Sentinel, the Washington Post, the New York Times, or indeed any national news outlet. A draft majority opinion is poised to overturn Roe v Wade. Once the ruling is final, Wisconsin's 19th century state law banning doctors from performing most abortions will be immediately enforceable again, as it was before the 1973 landmark Roe v Wade decision. In much of the country, women will not be able to access abortions. And that's not all. Many other rights depend on the right to privacy that the Roe decision relied on but that the current court seems to believe does not have constitutional protection. Contraception may in fact be the next target of the theocrats who want to turn back the clock on women's rights.
In case you had previously doubted the meaning and importance of elections, this pending decision should settle the matter. It also MUST GALVANIZE YOU TO VOTE AND TO WORK to elect candidates who will support a national law protecting a woman's right to choose. The primary election, in which we will determine which Democrat will run against — and DEFEAT — Senator Ron Johnson, will take place on August 9. Absentee voting will begin in early July. So get yourself informed and ready to vote by attending a special two-part event Grassroots North Shore is hosting on June 5 and June 12. On June 5, Kathleen Dunn, a former NPR host, will interview the top four senate candidates: Mandela Barnes, Sarah Godlewski, Alex Lasry, and Tom Nelson. (By then, we should have information about these candidates and many others on our Elections 2022 pages.) Register for that Zoom event here. On June 12, we will hold an outdoor, in-person meet-and-greet with the four top candidates at Virmond Park in Ozaukee County. Here's the sign-up. Candidates vying to be the Lieutenant Governor nominee — David Bowen, Peng Her, and Sara Rodriguez — will also be there.
If you have not already done so, please request an absentee ballot. You can take care of that task at MyVote.Wi.gov. You can also check your registration, track your ballot so that you know your request has been received, when your ballot is mailed to you, and when the municipal clerk's office has received it. Absentee voting is safe and secure. It is also the best way to make sure you are available to help run elections, either as a poll worker (aka election inspector) or as an election observer. If you live in Milwaukee County, you can work at the polls in the city. Apply here. Or you can contact your municipal clerk to ask whether poll workers are needed in your municipality.
There are a few upcoming events of note that are not yet on the list because they're farther in the future than the list usually covers. But I want to bring them to your attention now so you can put them on your calendar. So, for those of us who live in Ozaukee County, you should know that the 6th CD Convention will take place on Sunday, May 23rd, at the La Sure Supper Club in Oshkosh. A continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Cost: $30 general fee, $25 for students, $40 at the door. The Oz Dems can send 35 delegates. This is a gateway to the state Dem convention. If you want to be considered, contact the Oz Dems to get information: (262) 423-7578.
On Thursday, May 19, the Wisconsin Justice Initiative will feature Mark Joseph Stern, staff writer at Slate, discussing the court's justices decisions, and trends and the dangerous paths the Court may be taking. Stern covers the Supreme Court and the law. Given the Court's blow to a woman's right to choose, this program is especially timely. You can register now.
The events list is modest again this week and is likely to continue to be until the primary heats up in early June. So in the meantime, you might want to send postcards to support Senator Warnock in Georgia. Activate America, with whom Grassroots North Shore worked in the 2020 election, is organizing the effort. Sign up with them. You will have to supply your own postcards and stamps so you'll need to get right on it. The primary in Georgia is on May 24. Grassroots North Shore will begin its own postcard campaign in June. Watch for it and sign up when it's time!Read more
August 9 may be months away but the time to register and educate voters about the new districts, rules for absentee voting and like is NOW. Supermarket Legends legend Linea Sundstrom is holding on online voter registration training on Sunday, May 1, at 7pm. To attend, send an email to her at [email protected]. The Zoom link will arrive in your email on Saturday, April 30. Grassroots North Shore is organizing efforts to register eligible high school students at Nicolet, Brown Deer, and Whitefish Bay schools. And we could use a lot of help. So more about this volunteer opportunity as plans firm up. Also keep in mind that we will be sending postcards and organizing some phoning ahead of the August election. More information coming soon.
If you have not already done so, request an absentee ballot at MyVote.WI.gov. Voting absentee is still the safest method and it also allows those who can work the polls as election inspectors or election observers to do so on Election Day. To be an election inspector, you can contact your municipal clerk to find out what's needed. You'll find phone numbers for many North Shore municipalities on our page for early in-person voting. If you live in Milwaukee County, you can also apply to be an election inspector for the city. Here's a link to the Milwaukee City Election Commission information about election inspectors. You'll find a link to the online application and other helpful bits at the bottom of the page. To help with voter protection, both before and during the elections, volunteer with the Voter Protection Team.
The matter of drop boxes and also the question of assisting voters with disabilities to return absentee ballots were argued at the Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 13. NPR has extensive coverage of the hearing and the issues. No decision has yet been rendered but one could be issued in the next few weeks.
Also, be sure to mark your calendars now for the Grassroots North Shore US Senate candidate forum. We're going to have two parts to this event: first, an online virtual forum moderated by Kathleen Dunn on Sunday, June 5, and second, a meet-and-greet outdoor gathering at Virmond Park on Sunday, June 12. I can't tell you how vital voting in this primary will be. Choosing a candidate for the general election in November is always important but this year we have an excellent chance to give Senator Baldwin a partner instead of an opponent. A lot of really interesting candidates are vying for the nomination. This event will give you a chance to meet and talk to them in person.
And while I'm forecasting the future, here are two other events you might want to pencil in. On Thursday, May 12, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and also the county chapters in Dane, Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties are presenting a talk by Reggie Jackson on "How We Got Here: The Hidden History of Diversity in America." You can sign up here. And on Sunday, May 19, a Wisconsin Justice Initiative featuring Mark Joseph Stern (staff writer at Slate) will tackle the question "Can Democracy Survive This Supreme Court?" Stern will discuss the court's justices, decisions, and trends and the dangerous paths the Court may be taking and will entertain questions from attendees at the event, which will be held from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at The Cooperage. Get more information and sign up.
There's a lot of shrugging about the virus going on, but you should know that, according to the New York Times Tracker, cases of COVID-19 in the Milwaukee Metro area have increased by 50% in the last two weeks. While the seven-day average stands at 303 daily cases, that's an 18% increase over Monday's seven-day average. In other words, cases are beginning to increase at a fast clip. You should definitely order home test kits from the federal government. You might also want to consider masking in indoor public spaces and observing social distancing for the next few weeks as this wave waxes (and then, we hope, wanes).
A new Marquette University Law School poll will be released on Wednesday, April 27, at 12:15pm CDT. The survey looks at preferences for the Republican and Democratic primaries being held in August as wall as a host of salient issues. Poll director Charles Franklin will talk with Alan Borsuk, senior fellow in law and public policy, about the findings. You can watch the video beginning at 12:15. Just click on the "WATCH NOW" button. The full poll will also be posted after 1pm.
As you're probably aware, richest-man-in-the-world Elon Musk is apparently going to buy Twitter and take it private, assuming that the deal passes regulatory muster. What that will mean for the social media behemoth remains to be seen. But there's plenty of speculation. He says he's a "free speech absolutist" who believes that anything that's legal should not be removed from the site. So no content moderation. However, there's what he says he'll do and then there are the downstream effects. As NPR points out, "[e]xperts who study social networks fret about Musk's push to loosen the rules of engagement on Twitter. They say that could give license to harassers, trolls and others who abuse the platform to target people. They also worry relaxing the rules on Twitter will empower those looking to exploit the platform by spreading misinformation, or flat-out lies, about political events, government officials and matters related to public health and safety." In short, the prospects are like dark clouds: threatening stormy weather.
The saga of our post-2020 census redistricting maps has been resolved for now, and not in a good way. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has now selected the maps the legislature submitted in light of the US Supreme Court's shadow docket ruling on the previous maps from Governor Evers the WI Supreme Court originally approved. The new maps pretty much ensure Republican control of the legislature for the next decade. And they also reduce the number of majority-minority Assembly districts from the current six to only five. The issues surrounding majority-minority districts are likely to be further litigated, questioning the maps' compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act. The US Supreme Court, though, looks increasingly hostile to the VRA in general. So the outcome of such litigation both in Wisconsin and elsewhere could be frightening. And the legal battles will almost certainly have to wait until the November 2022 elections are over. The result is we cannot miss turning out a single one of our supporters. And we need EVERYONE to step up.
Nomination papers for everyone running for office in August and November can circulate now. Many candidates are sending nomination papers to supporters. Others are posting them online for you to download, fill out, and mail back to the campaign. If you are contacted by a candidate you support, you should fill out the nomination for that candidate if you can. For those of you in the 4th Congressional District, here is a link to papers for Representative Gwen Moore. You can sign both as a nominator and as a circulator on the same form. What you cannot do is nominate more than one candidate for the same office. So sign only one nomination form for, say, a candidate in the 4th or 6th congressional district. Or for Governor. Or Attorney General. You get the idea.
In other election news, as you may already know, former Governor "Tommy Thompson won't launch a fifth campaign for Wisconsin governor," according to an article published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday afternoon. The article doesn't really explain Thompson's reasoning, but reading between the lines it seems that maybe his chances of winning the Republican primary weren't good enough. At least that's how I interpreted this sentence from the article: "[...] a conservative group created by a former Thompson administration official conducted a poll about Thompson's chances" before he made the decision. Presumably he's not sufficiently trumpy.
COVID-19 infections are on the rise again in many parts of the country. Here in Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties, the rise is so far very small. But another surge may well be starting. I find the tracker in the New York Times to be a useful way of keeping up with the pandemic in our area since the Journal Sentinel is no longer publishing articles about it very frequently. You can find and customize the NYT tracker here. And if you have not yet ordered at-home test kits from the federal government, you can do so at covidtests.gov. Every address can request two sets of four tests. It's handy to have them around in time for the next wave. And since it can take a couple of weeks to receive yours, don't delay.
Earth Day — on Friday, April 22 — is right around the corner. This year's theme is Invest in Our Planet. The Milwaukee Riverkeeper is hosting an annual river cleanup on that Friday with a celebration at the Harley Davidson Museum afterwards. You'll find the event in the list below, but you can also sign up to participate right now! There will also be a rally and march sponsored by the Milwaukee Earth Day Coalition at city hall at noon. No sign-up needed: just show up. Or you can call 414-269-9525 for more information.
Finally, here's a way to help support Ukrainians: donate what you can to an organization called Ukraine TrustChain. It's a grassroots group that provides direct aid like meals and evacuations under extremely dangerous conditions. Ukraine TrustChain was founded a little over two months ago by Daniil Cherkasskiy of Evanston, IL, along with other Ukrainians in the Chicago area and around the US to respond to the Russian attack on their former country. The organization has a network of volunteer teams in Ukraine who communicate with each other and document their harrowing achievements. As of Sunday, April 17, they have evacuated 26,019 people (more than half children), and have provided over 50,000 daily meals. It costs approximately $6-$8. to evacuate each person. To date the group has raised $432,340. You can learn more about this incredible local effort to fund these courageous teams and their accomplishments by reading the Ukraine TrustChain Newsletter. For more information, email or call Norma Gilson (414-588-1241).Read more