Five weeks and counting!

What a great Tuesday night we had last week! Judge Janet Protasiewicz received 46% of the statewide vote in a smashing victory for her. She of course did even better in our North Shore communities. In Shorewood and Bayside, she received over 70% of the vote. Glendale and Whitefish Bay awarded her more than 60% and River Hills came in with 54%. Only in Brown Deer did her vote total fall below 50%. But combined with the vote share for her liberal opponent, we can be pleased with the outcome: 67%! In Thiensville, she won 46%, the highest share of the vote. In Grafton, Cedarburg, Port Washington and Mequon she also won the most votes, 38%, 43%, 45% and 45% respectively. You can see all the county-by-county results online at the New York Times. And for a great appraisal of the outcome, you can't do better than to read Ben Wikler's piece on Daily Kos today.

Here's a map showing the winner of each county by color. (Click here for a larger version.) Note that Protasiewicz actually won Ozaukee County, while Dorow came first in Washington and Waukesha. Since the voters did not favor her opponent, it's possible that at least some of them might prefer Protasiewicz in the April election. To get a clearer picture of the split between liberal and conservative candidates in the aggregate, here's a map showing the aggregate vote totals by county. (For a larger map, click here.) That is, if you add the vote totals of Protasiewicz and Mitchell together and compare the result to the sum of Kelly and Dorow's votes, you approximate the vote total of the liberal candidate in the April 4 election. The result is an astonishing winning margin of nearly 8 points.

What the data show is that we can win this WI Supreme Court seat if we work hard to get like-minded people out to vote. Grassroots North Shore is sending out about 3500 postcards this week and next, to be followed up with phone calls. We have flyers to distribute in walkable places like Glendale, Shorewood, White Fish Bay, Fox Point and Bayside. We're working on putting together a smaller handout to give students on campuses in Milwaukee County. And of course we're canvassing like crazy. Go to our volunteer page to sign up to participate. In the events listings below you'll find oodles of opportunities to volunteer to canvass with the Neighborhood Team nearest you. In essence the whole five weeks to Election Day (April 4) is a Get Out the Vote effort. Please pitch in!

And join us on Sunday, March 12, for a chance to meet and hear from Judge Janet Protasiewicz, Jodi Habush Sinykin, and Deb Andraca. We're celebrating Grassroots North Shore's 19th anniversary! The event will be held at the North Shore Presbyterian Church (4048 N Bartlett, Shorewood) from 4 - 6pm. Since it is an indoor event and COVID doesn't seem to be done with us yet, we recommend that people wear masks and we will have some at the door in case you forget yours. RSVP.

Another way to help is to volunteer with the WisDems Voter Protection Team and become a Poll Observer with the Voter Protection Team in the Spring Election. Poll observers are the eyes and ears for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s Voter Protection Team inside polling locations across the state. You will be the last line of defense against any problems voters might face in trying to cast their ballot, which makes poll observing the single most important thing you can do (other than casting a ballot yourself) to ensure a strong, healthy democracy. Poll observers will be trained by the Voter Protection Team and supported by our staff throughout the process.

Now that we're focused on the April election, don't forget about the referendums for constitutional amendments that will be on everyone's ballots. Grassroots North Shore has not yet taken a position on either of them, although that may change as we learn more about what's at stake. But you should at least read them — they're quite short — and also the actual legislative language. You can find them on our website.

There is a lot going on in international and national news right now. There's the situation in Ukraine and the situation with TFG in Georgia, in New York, and in DC. And then there's the Dominion defamation suit seeking $1.6 billion in damages. With possible punitive damages on top of that. If you haven't been following the twists and turns in the latest Dominion filing — for a summary judgment no less — have a look at the story at CNN online. One of the best bits is Rupert Murdoch's answer to a question about why Carlson kept giving air time to Mike Lindell — you know, the pillow guy: "It is not red or blue. It's green." In short, lying about the election results was a business decision. So shocking, isn't it. This is what CNN's analyst Oliver Darcy concludes: "at its core, Fox News is not a news network. News networks work hard to deliver the truth to their viewers. These documents reveal that Fox News executives and hosts knew the truth and yet they peddled election lies to the audience."

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Hair on fire

Your hair should be on fire right now! Election Day is tomorrow. We have to work our fannies off to get a progressive jurist on the ballot in the April 4 election for the open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Lots and lots of people we've run across don't really seem all that aware of this election and its importance. We won't have another chance to remake the direction of this court until 2026! To finish tomorrow's primary with enough votes to claim a spot on the April 4 ballot, Democrats and Grassroots North Shore are continuing to Get Out The Vote on Election Day. So sign up for a shift either with the Fox Point Team or the Glendale Team. Shifts are 11am, 2pm and 5pm. I don't need to tell you how important it is to get out every last vote. So bring a friend. Knock some doors. And feel good while doing good.

The primary for the Wisconsin Supreme Court seat has received oodles of national coverage, for which we should be thankful. Here are just a few of the recent posts on Daily Kos:

And here are some national news outlets on the WI Supreme Court beat:

If you have not yet voted, tomorrow is your last chance. Check your polling place and see your sample ballot at In a few areas, there are other races on the ballot. Vote in every race. If you need information about candidates on your ballot, you can find some by visiting our election pages. Just follow the link for your community. You will also find information about the referendums and an advisory question that will be on your ballot on April 4. After the primary tomorrow, I will have more to say about those.

Our next big event (on Sunday, March 12 from 4 - 6 pm) will — finally — be held in person at the North Shore Presbyterian Church (4048 N. Bartlett Ave. Shorewood). The event aims to RESCUE LADY JUSTICE. Speakers include our fantastic candidate for state Senate District 8, Jodi Habush Sinykin, and our equally fantastic 23rd Assembly District representative, Deb Andraca. And the icing on the cake? The progressive winner of tomorrow's referendum. So sign up! (We recommend that you wear a mask and will have some on hand if you no longer keep any at home.)

The April 4 election will be here before we know it. And again, Grassroots North Shore will be flooding the mails, heating up the phone lines, and pounding the pavement. We'll be starting the next round of projects next week. So please, please, please sign up for something.

One terrific way to get engaged is to help register eligible high school students with the League of Women Voters. Milwaukee Public School District has asked the League of Women Voters to work with them to conduct voter registration events at each of their 24 high schools during the open enrollment period, February 22 to March 15, for the April election. To cover that many schools, the LWV will need many volunteers! LWVMC members who would like to participate in the high school events should access the training materials. If you sign up on the Google form at the end of the training, your name will be placed on the high school volunteer list. New volunteers will be paired with experienced volunteers. If you have any questions about this please contact [email protected].

There's always an election cycle in Wisconsin, or so it seems. This year, though, we won't have another election after April until February, 2024. So we'll be able to think about other things that are important to us, our state and our nation. Stay tuned.

Because I want to get this version of the newsletter out a day early, so that you have time to sign up for canvassing on the final day, I am including only a few events. If others come to my attention later this week, I'll send an events-only email to you.


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the final push is here

As we turn our attention to the general election on April 4, please save the date for Grassroots North Shore's program "Rescue Lady Justice." It will be held Sunday, March 12 from 4:00pm - 6pm at the North Shore Presbyterian Church (4048 N. Bartlett Ave. in Shorewood). Jodi Habush Sinykin the Democratic candidate for Senate District 8, and Deb Andraca, Representative for the 23rd Assembly District, will be two of our featured speakers. But the main attraction will be the progressive candidate on the ballot for the Supreme Court seat. Who is that? We'll know in a week. It's never too early to SIGN UP! And by the way, if you are one of those people who fret about two MAGA judges winning the primary, I have just the balm for you. Ben Wikler, chair of WisDems, has published a crystal clear piece on just why that outcome is so very unlikely. He's done the math so you don't have to. And he's shown his work in pie charts. Check it out.

Meanwhile, the double-edged sword that is Daniel Bice has brought us the news that a sentence Judge Jennifer Dorow issued last year has been overturned by the Appeals Court because the sentence was too lenient and did not meet the legal requirements for the offense. Former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly declined to comment on the matter but he or his allies have been attacking her for being "soft on crime." Dorow's been hitting back at Judge Grogan — who wrote the unanimous Appeals Court decision — by posting in their entirety the comments of the "conservative" radio, Mark Belling, who is supporting Dorow. Belling attacked Judge Grogan, who (according to Bice) is backing Dan Kelly. Bice writes, "in an article on his website, Belling wrote that Grogan was calling local lawyers to 'mock' Dorow and 'crow' about the appellate court ruling."

While we're looking ahead to the April election, Grassroots North Shore is offering many projects to inform voters about the elections and to get out the vote. So of course we need your help both right now and for the April 4 general election. Here are some of the things you can do by contacting the person who is leading each project or by volunteering on our website:

  • Go to local university and college campuses to talk to students about the importance of the spring elections. Contact Norma Gilson or call 414-588-1241.
  • Phone strong Democratic women in our North Shore communities and Ozaukee County. Contact Nancy Kaplan (443-465-1920).
  • Canvass with our Neighborhood Action Teams: see the Events List for Saturday, February 18, and Sunday, February 19. There will also be canvasses on Monday, February 20, and Election Day. And the whole process will begin again after the primary. So start now and continue into spring!
  • Write postcards to strong Democrats in Ozaukee and Washington Counties ahead of the April 4 election. Contact Norma Gilson or call 414-588-1241.
  • Deliver Grassroots North Shore leaflets to our North Shore neighbors ahead of the April 4 election. Contact Norma Gilson or call 414-588-1241.

You can also volunteer with the Voter Protection Team: Join the Ballot Cure Program! WisDems are thrilled to announce the return of their ballot cure program for the April election! Ballot cure is a process whereby we contact voters whose absentee ballots are at risk of rejection and walk them through their options to make sure their vote will count. It's concrete, gratifying work that has a tangible impact on the lives of voters across Wisconsin and serves as a critical voter education opportunity for future elections. Unlike the fall, trainings will run for just one week, so be sure to sign up here to get involved! The same page will provide you with an opportunity to sign up as a Poll Observer, Voter Protection Phonebanker, and/or Poll Worker.

We're just a week away from the primary. So I hope everyone has already voted by absentee ballot, plans to vote early in-person, or has a plan to vote on Election Day. In Milwaukee early in-person voting began on February 7 and ends on Saturday, February 18, at a number of locations throughout the city. See specific information on the Milwaukee Election Commission site. In Ozaukee County and in the North Shore suburbs, early in person voting ends on Friday, February 17. For information specific to your municipality, see the information on GRNS' website.

If you don't yet know enough about the progressive candidates for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, you can find anything you need online. Here are some ways to get up to speed.

To be as prepared as possible, you should look up a sample of your ballot at Those of you who live in Wisconsin Senate District 8, will find an extra primary on your ballot. Unlike the primary for Supreme Court, municipal elections, and school board elections, this special primary is a PARTISAN one. And it's confusing. There are three candidates vying to be the Republican nominee but only one Democrat. Because Wisconsin has an open primary system for partisan elections, you can choose to vote in any party's primary. There's a spot to fill in your choice. But you can vote in only one. If you choose to vote in the Democratic primary, cast your ballot for Jodi Habush Sinykin. You can find information about her on our elections website. The links to her online information are available on the page for each community that is within Senate District 8.

Those of you who live in Milwaukee will see contested primary races for city council in Districts 1, 5, and 9. The League of Women Voters Milwaukee County has posted candidates' responses to their questionnaire. So be an informed voter and don't skip these "down ballot" races.

The Milwaukee Public School Board has recently passed a resolution to develop a specific plan and timeline to increase voter registration and actual voting by eligible high school students! It's about time. So there will be several voter registration opportunities at select DMVs and at city high schools. I'll have more information for you next week since online registration does not begin again until after the primary. It will run from February 22 until March 15.

I'm a little apologetic about using the newsletter so exclusively for information about voting. But only a little. So let me end with some analysis of important national news. As you probably know, Jack Smith, the Department of Justice Special Counsel in charge of the investigations into the Jan. 6 events and the Mar-a-lago documents scandal, has subpoenaed former Vice President Pence. Today's news is that Pence plans to challenge the subpoena, not on the grounds of executive privilege, but on the grounds that being compelled to testify would violate the "speech or debate" clause of the US Constitution. A truly novel claim. Read about it in this piece by Laura Clawson at Daily Kos.

The multitude of efforts by TFG to overturn the 2020 election can get to be pretty confusing. But Talking Point Memo's Josh Kovensky has put together a cogent explanation in his article How The Fake Electors Scheme Explains Everything About Trump’s Attempt To Steal The 2020 Election. He has persuaded me that everything, including the Insurrection, hinged on getting fraudulent electors to displace the certified ones on January 6. It's really worth reading.

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We have lots of work to do

Today marks just two weeks until the critical spring primary. So what's on the ballot? Many people will have only the Supreme Court race to consider. That was the case for my husband and me. People in parts of Ozaukee County and Washington County, however, will also see a PARTISAN primary for the candidates vying for the nomination for the 8th Senate District. You'll have to choose whether to vote in the GOP primary, where there are several candidates, or in the Democrat's primary, where only Jodi Habush Sinykin is running.

Municipal clerks began mailing out absentee ballots on January 31. So the window to request one with a realistic chance that it will be delivered to you and then make it back to your municipal clerk by election day is quickly closing. Remember: you cannot use a drop box to return your ballot. You must put it in the mail yourself or you must personally return it to your municipal clerk. If you have not yet requested an absentee ballot and would like to do so, today is the day to go to You can also see a sample ballot for your location, get contact information for your municipal clerk, look up information about early in-person voting, and find out where your polling place will be. Grassroots North Shore also offers information about early in-person voting.

If you have not yet met the progressive candidates for the Supreme Court seat or learned about their views, there are several ways you can do so.

  1. Watch the video of A Supreme Opportunity, available on our YouTube channel in 3-5 days. You'll learn a bit about the way the current WI Supreme Court has ruled in crucial election law cases and hear from both of the progressive candidates — Judge Janet Janet Protasiewicz (pronounced pro-tuh-SAY-witz) and Judge Everett Mitchell.
  2. Visit our Elections page devoted to the Supreme Court race. That page includes links to our questionnaire for each candidate as well as links to their websites and other social media.
  3. Assuming that either Judge Protasiewicz or Judge Mitchell will be on the April 4 ballot, you will have a chance to meet him or her on March 12 at the Grassroots North Shore's RESCUE LADY JUSTICE event. Here's the page to RSVP. You will also get a chance to meet Jodi Habush Sinykin who will flip the 8th Senate District and block a Republican legislative supermajority, and Deb Andraca, the State Representative for the 23rd Assembly District, who showed us how that district-flipping thing works!

Now the pitch: we need more volunteers NOW, ahead of the primary. So go to our volunteer page to sign up for handing out flyers, canvassing, phoning, and more. Right now we're in need of people to go to local university and college campuses to talk to students about the importance of this primary election. In addition to signing up through our website, email Norma Gilson or call 414-588-1241. Norma will provide you with talking points and flyers. It takes about 1.5 hours of your time, weekdays from 11:15-12:30. We also need people to phone strong Democratic women in our North Shore communities and Ozaukee County. Contact Nancy Kaplan (443-465-1920), who is organizing the phoning. You'll receive a set of instructions, phone and voicemail scripts, and a call list of about 45 names. Phone from home on your own time over the next two weeks to try to drive turnout.

You can be a better-informed voter by visiting our page on the elections where we list races and provide information about candidates, organized by county and community. The page also has information about the two proposed amendments to the Wisconsin constitution as well as an advisory referendum that will appear on the April ballot. For the primary, we have information about the contested races for Alderpersons in Districts 1, 5, and 9 of Milwaukee with links to candidates' social media pages. There is a primary in each of these races. More candidate information will be available as we get closer to the April 4 election.

Now for the news. Tonight, President Biden will deliver this year's State of the Union address. There are many ways to watch it so be sure you do. And tomorrow he will be in the Madison area to tout his economic successes and plan for the future. I could not find any details about this event, making it impossible for people in the Milwaukee area to attend. It's the first time the president has visited Wisconsin since he spoke in Milwaukee on Labor Day last fall.

In case you haven't heard, legal jeopardy for The Former Guy continues to increase. Zach Schonfeld recently published this piece in The Hill: "Prospects rise for NY charges against Trump in Stormy Daniels case." In it, he notes that

"New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s latest moves suggest prosecutors are nearing a decision about charging former President Trump in connection with a $130,000 hush payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. The Manhattan district attorney’s office this week escalated the fight by empaneling another grand jury in the case and presenting witnesses."

We've heard something similar about the investigation in Georgia, where a couple of weeks ago DA Fani Willis said that charging decisions were "imminent." All I hear, though, is crickets. Of course there's plenty of other litigation targeting him. The US Department of Justice is working on some things, the Attorney General of New York has brought a civil suit (which is scheduled to go to trial in the fall), and a judge has ruled that the E. Jean Carroll rape and defamation cases against the philanderer-in-chief can go forward. At least one of these cases will go to trial in April. I can't wait!

The events list is suddenly a lot longer than it has been in a while. There are lots and lots of opportunities to volunteer there. So sign up for something.

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Dear {{recipient.first_name_or_friend}} — 

With just three weeks until the primary (February 21), here's what you need to do:

  2. Check your registration, polling place, sample ballot, and request an absentee ballot at
  3. Find information about the candidates who are on the February 21 ballot at our Elections page.
  4. Find early voting times and places for your community on our early in-person voting page.
  5. Ask five friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to vote in this super low turnout election.

On my ballot for the primary, there is only one race: to determine which two candidates will be on the April 4 ballot for Supreme Court Justice. This phenomenon is likely to be the case in many municipalities across the state. In the seven north shore communities and in Ozaukee County there are hardly any contested races in the primary. But this primary is on EVERY BALLOT IN THE STATE. Don't you dare miss it.

The candidates are not shown as affiliated with any political party because this election is supposedly nonpartisan. But we all know that is not the case. There are two progressive judges running: Judge Janet Protasiewicz (pronounced pro-tuh-SAY-witz) and Judge Everett Mitchell. Visit our page devoted to this office for links to the candidates' responses to our questionnaire, their websites and other online information. And vote for ONE of them!

There are a lot of other resources you might want to consult. In his column Murphy's Law in Urban Milwaukee, Bruce Murphy details The Radical Views of Kelly and Dorow, the two "conservatives" running in this primary. The piece delves into Regent University's law school where Kelly and Dorow both got their law degrees, exploring the school's principles and its standing among law schools in the US. He also notes that Kelly — a Scott Walker appointee on the Wisconsin Supreme Court but who lost his election for a full 10-year term in 2020 — "wrote a book, in 2014, with strikingly unorthodox views on the law, declaring that that 'all authority' comes not from the U.S. Constitution but from God." As for Dorow, Murphy cites her letter applying to Walker for a vacant seat on a Wisconsin Circuit Court: "her application for the judgeship condemned the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision by the U.S. Supreme Court as the 'worst Wisconsin or U.S. Supreme Court decision.' The 6-3 ruling cited the Due Process clause of the 14th amendment to strike down the sodomy law in Texas." He goes on to say that "press accounts of her debate performance [on january 9, 2023] raised questions about her knowledge of the issues. 'Dorow spent most of the time during her answers referencing a plastic binder of notes in front of her,' PBS Wisconsin reported. 'On most questions, Dorow read from a prepared script and did not answer fully,' the Journal Sentinel observed."

The Wisconsin Examiner, in a piece by Henry Redman, exposes the views the two "conservatives" espoused at a December 6, 2022, event held by the Republican Women of Waukesha County for “celebrating conservatives in law.” It provides insights into more than judicial "philosophy" and is well worth the few minutes it takes to read.

John Nichols, associate editor of the Capital Times, published a piece in early January setting the background for this race and rightly demonstrating that Justice Roggensack, whose resignation creates this judicial opening, led a Court that has been highly partisan: "In recent years, Roggensack has been part of a conservative majority than has turned the Supreme Court into a national embarrassment. With her fellow conservative judicial activist colleagues, Roggensack undermined public health measures during the coronavirus pandemic, eroded nonpartisan oversight of elections and embraced gerrymandering of legislative districts to favor the conservative majority's Republican allies." And he points out that "since 2018, conservatives have lost two places on the high court bench with the easy elections of a pair of mainstream progressive jurists. Justice Rebecca Dallet won in 2018 by a 56-44 margin, and Justice Jill Karofsky won by a 55-45 margin in 2020." He concludes "For progressives, the question is which contender would be the strongest in an April general election against a conservative. If voters bet right, and if Roggensack’s seat is taken by a progressive, the court will be able to revisit the issues it got wrong during Roggensack’s tenure."

Spencer Black, a regular columnist for The Capitol Times, has a January 24 piece, From elections to drinking water — court election could seal Wisconsin's fate, discussed the race and, like Nichols, urged voters to "support the strongest candidate." Only he does make a choice. Black has a deep knowledge of politics in this state. As he's been talking to "politically knowledgeable folks around the state," he finds that, despite the fact that Judge Everett Mitchell's "rulings on key issues as a justice would likely be very similar to those of Judge Protasiewicz," those he consulted shared the "unanimous opinion is that Protasiewicz is far and away the strongest progressive candidate." Grassroots North Shore does not endorse a candidate when there is more than one progressive running in a single race, as there is in this one. So you should read Black's piece with an open mind.

PBS Wisconsin has a good summary of the January 9, 2023, debate with the four candidates. And you can watch interviews with Dan Kelly and Judge Everett Mitchell online. And as you talk about this election, be sure to follow the advice of Wisconsin Conservation Voices' Messaging Guidance for 2023 Supreme Court Race. The advice is sound political messaging regardless of the topic — for example, in the current election "center our shared values of freedom in your messaging. Offer specific examples of court cases that relate to people’s real-life concerns, be clear that power lies in the hands of the people, and that this will have impacts on our state for decades." And "use hopeful, unifying words that are clear and easy to understand." As examples, the document lists "For All; Freedom, fair, accessible, unbiased; voting maps that represent our communities."

Finally, a small diversion into national news. Apparently George Santos has recused himself from his House committee assignments. See the coverage on the Washington Post site or on Daily Kos. He-who-shall-not-be-named may be facing criminal charges at long last. The potential charges stem from his hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, according to NBC News. And CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) declares Fani Willis is going to indict Trump soon. Here’s what that looks like." Fani Willis, of course, is the Fulton County District Attorney who recently wrapped up a special purpose grand jury investigation of potential criminality in TFG's effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. At the January 24 hearing about the matter, she argued that the report the grand jury submitted should not be made public until charging decisions are made, decisions she said were "imminent."

Now the nag: yes it is cold outside but the work still needs to get done. In the Events list below, you will find that canvassing season has begun. Turn out to canvass! Help ensure that we get at least one progressive for Supreme Court Justice on the ballot in the April 4 election. The Glendale Team, the Fox Point Team, the Brown Deer folks and others will be hosting these events throughout this election season. Bundle up and join in.


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alarms are ringing

The elections this year — both the primary and the general — are matters of some urgency. In fact, we should be hearing alarm bells! Two really vital matters will be on the primary ballot: a slate of four candidates for Supreme Court justice and, for those living in Wisconsin Senate District 8, a special election to fill the vacancy created when Alberta Darling retired from her seat. And assuming at least one of the Supreme Court candidates who share our views wins enough votes to appear on the April 4 ballot, we need to pull out all the stops to get that person elected. If we manage to elect Jodi Habush Sinykin to the state Senate, we will prevent the GOP from having a supermajority with the ability to impeach and convict any state officer they choose. And if we can elect a progressive to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, we can change the direction of the state!

As I mentioned in last week's newsletter, Grassroots North Shore is presenting A Supreme Opportunity, an online program featuring renowned election law expert Nicholas Stephanopoulos — you can read about his work here — and the two progressive candidates on the primary ballot for the Wisconsin Supreme Court nomination. This is your opportunity to hear from these great candidates — Judge Everett Mitchell and Judge Janet Protasiewicz (pronounced “pro-tuh-SAY-witz”). Both graduated from highly reputable law schools (unlike their MAGA opponents) and both have considerable judicial experience. Judge Protasiewicz received her law degree from Marquette University and presides over a branch of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Judge Mitchell presides over the Juvenile Division in Branch Four in Dane County. He received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School. He has also earned a degree form the Princeton Theological Seminary.

Please sign up to attend this webinar and to donate online or by check (Grassroots North Shore, PO Box 170684, Milwaukee, WI 53217-8056 — Please write "fundraiser" on the memo line). We're suggesting donations of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, and $1000 but a donation of any amount will be gratefully received. The funds we raise will allow us to continue or work through the 2024 elections (all FOUR of them). As you know Grassroots North Shore is an all-volunteer organization. But even though we don't pay any staff, we do have expenses: for our website, for our communications, and especially for our work on elections (postcards and postage, phone lists, flyers, and posters all cost money to print). [Please note that contributions to Grassroots North Shore are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes.]

The Supreme Court seat primary will be on the ballot everywhere in the state. It is, as Politico deemed it, "The most important election nobody's ever heard of." As the Politico article points out, "Voters must first navigate an unusual primary before choosing the new justice. There are four judges running for the position, which is technically nonpartisan, with two on either side of the ideological divide." In other words four candidates are running in the February 21 primary for the two available slots on the April 4 ballot. The first and second place finishers in the primary will go on to the April 4 election. So it is certainly possible that we could face — not a choice between a judge who shares our values and a judge who does not — but a "choice" between two judges who definitely do not share our values. An article in the Isthmus explains how this horrendous outcome could happen.

As the Politico article points out, "Control of the Wisconsin state Supreme Court is on the ballot this spring, and the contest could decide the fate of abortion rights, redistricting and more in the critical swing state." A loss would cement conservative control, and the fate of our freedoms and futures, for many years to come. Alarm bells are truly ringing. So we must do our darndest to get people to vote in both elections for this seat this year.

Republicans are hoping to stimulate greater turnout than these off-year, nonpartisan elections usually generate. In addition to the dark money pouring in, the egregiously gerrymandered legislature plans to put four referendums to amend the state constitution on the April ballot. These measures have already been passed by two different sessions of the legislature. So the referendums on the April 4 ballot will determine whether the constitution will be amended. The League of Women Voters of Dane County held a terrific forum on these proposed amendments and has also posted a great resource explaining what each proposed amendment would actually do. You can read the Resource Guide here. Let's make sure that the Republican attempt to juice its base turnout for the April election backfires and revs up turnout on our side instead!

I'll cover the specifics of these issues in a future newsletter. But right now, the important thing is making a plan to vote, both in the February 21 primary (so that we don't end up with a choice between two unacceptable judges for our Supreme Court) and in the April 4 election. There are three ways to vote in Wisconsin elections: with an absentee ballot, during early in-person absentee voting, and on election day.

  1. Request absentee ballots online at
    • An absentee ballot will be mailed to the address you specify during the request process about 21 days ahead of the election. So if you are going somewhere warm and sunny for the February primary and/or the April general election, be sure you request that your ballot be sent to where you're going to be.
    • Be sure to leave plenty of time for the US Postal Service to get your completed ballot back to your municipal clerk before 8pm on election day! (You cannot use a drop box to return a ballot in these elections!) We recommend mailing it back to your municipality by February 14 if possible.
    • Also be sure you have an eligible Wisconsin elector witness your ballot envelope. He or she or they do not have to be registered to vote but does have to be eligible to vote in Wisconsin. Also, the witness does have to fill out a complete address (no abbreviations): street number, unit number (if applicable), municipality, state and zip code.
  2. Vote early in-person at your municipal clerk's office on weekdays from February 7 to February 17 for the primary and March 21 to March 31 for the general election.
    • Our website has early voting details for almost every municipality in the North Shore suburbs of Milwaukee and in Ozaukee County. The information includes a phone number for the clerk's office. You should plan to check the policies around in-person early voting with that office before you go.
    • You can register to vote online or by mail until February 1. After that you can register when you vote early in-person or at the polls on election day.
  3. Vote on election day: February 21 for the primary and April 4 for the general election. Check your polling place and review a sample ballot for your area at


In addition to making your own plan to vote, you can help register voters with Supermarket Legends at two DMV locations. You will be working in a warm inside office environs at the N. Teutonia Avenue or 74th and Mill Road DMV locations. Sign up for a 2 hour shift whenever you are free and any time six days a week. All training and materials are provided. Contact James Balk.

And now for some news. In case you missed it, last Sunday was the annual Women's March. Although there were marches in dozens of cities, this year the main event for the National Women's March took place in Madison to focus national attention on the upcoming Supreme Court race here. More than 1000 people marched to the state capitol and into the rotunda. See the coverage in the New York Times and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Cheryl Maranto, co-chair of Grassroots North Shore, organized a delegation of our supporters and produced signs for them to carry during the program. We're proud to have been represented at the event and to show our support for women's rights.

In insurrection news, "Bigo" Barnett was convicted on all eight counts, four felonies and four misdemeanors in all. He's the guy made famous in a photo of him with his feet on a desk in then Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. The jury took only two hours to reach these verdicts, so open-and-shut was the case against him. His lawyer wants to appeal on the grounds that the jury members weren't really his peers — apparently because they didn't come from Arkansas. He will be sentenced in May. You can read more details in a post on Daily Kos.

In even more important insurrection news, four more Oath Keepers were convicted of seditious conspiracy, among other charges, bringing the total to six convicted on this most serious charge. A number of Proud Boys are currently on trial for seditious conspiracy also. But so far at least, none of the Very Important People who instigated and financed the insurrection have been held accountable or even indicted.

Finally, in the Dominion defamation suit against Fox News, NPR reports that "Fox News' defense in defamation suit invokes debunked election-fraud claims." The defense of Fox News seems to depend on something the lawyers call "'omitted context' for the seemingly incendiary remarks by such hosts as Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo, as well as their featured guests, including Trump and his former campaign attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell." The context is relevant because, they argue, the debunked statements were newsworthy and therefore "an appropriate journalistic response to stark claims about the functioning of American democracy." In short, the argument goes, the organization can repeat and amplify any ridiculous, and dangerous, nonsense it likes as long as it's also being spouted by so-called Respectable and Important People who the organization can contend are newsworthy. Let's hope this kind of argument does not hold up in court.

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It's an emergency!

The spring elections — a primary on February 21 and a general election on April 4 — will be upon us before you know it. And despite the fact that nonpartisan elections are little noticed with low, low turnout, this year's so-called nonpartisan contests will define the state of democracy in Wisconsin for the foreseeable future. I kid you not!

First and foremost, there is an election for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Two progressive candidates will be on the primary ballot — Judge Janet Protasiewic and Judge Everett Mitchell — along with two "conservative" (by which we mean MAGA) candidates. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary will advance to the April 4 election. And that means if we fail to turn out, we could find ourselves with no progressive candidate to vote for. Both Judge Mitchell and Judge Protasiewic support voting rights, fair election maps, and a woman's right to make decisions about her own body. Neither of the "conservative candidates" do. Please read the candidates' responses to our Grassroots North Shore questionnaire, visit the links to the candidates' online information, and plan to attend our Supreme Opportunity Annual Fundraiser on February 5 from 7:00 — 8:30 (on Zoom). Judge Mitchell and Judge Protasiewic will introduce themselves to you at that event. (More about the program anon.)

Just as important is the special election in state Senate District 8. Until the day Alberta Darling resigned her state Senate seat, the Republicans held a supermajority in that body. And that meant they could impeach and remove any state officer they pleased without a single vote from any Democrat. It works like this: a majority vote in the Assembly impeaches a civil officer of the state. The Senate then holds a trial. If 2/3 of the senators present vote to convict, the impeached officer is removed from office. Fortunately the legislature was not in session in November and December, 2022. And because they are currently down a seat, they won't be able to act on such grave matters as impeachments until a new State Senator is seated after the special election. If Senate District 8 is once again represented by a Republican, Robin Vos has already declared their intentions. And that's just part of the reason this special election is so, well, special.

Jodi Habush Sinykin, a Wisconsin native and environmental lawyer, is running for the 8th WI Senate District, which includes Bayside, part of Brown Deer, Fox Point, River Hills, Whitefish Bay, Thiensville, Mequon, Cedarburg, Grafton, then westward to Germantown, Richfield, some of Menomonee Falls and Sussex. You can and should read about her life and passions on her website and keep up with her activities on her Facebook page and Twitter account. Endorsed by the UAW and by Daily Kos, among many other organizations, she will be a tremendous asset to her constituents and to the future of our state. If you live in Senate District 8, you MUST vote for her in the special election primary on February 21 AND IN THE GENERAL ELECTION ON APRIL 4.

If you don't live in SD8, you can still volunteer with the campaign and you can donate funds through her Act Blue page. Bonnie and Leon Joseph will be hosting a fundraiser for Habush Sinykin on Sunday, January 22, from 2:00 — 4:00pm, at their home (see the address on the donation page). Or you can go and donate any amount at the door. No doubt there will be oodles of dark money sloshing around this campaign — which is why every dollar you can give can help elect her. The recent special election of a Democrat for a Virginia state Senate seat in a Republican-leaning district should give us hope. But remember: hope is not a plan. It will take real work to get this job done. And that means YOU.

On that note, let me pitch making phone calls to strong Democratic women ahead of the primary and the general election. We were very successful with our phone campaign for the 2022 elections, reaching over 6200 women. The results — a BIG shift from Republican to Democratic votes in Ozaukee County — speak volumes about what grassroots activities can help produce. Governor Evers even WON Port Washington and Thiensville! I'm organizing the phone effort now and would really appreciate hearing from you at [email protected]. We will begin calling and leaving voicemail messages around January 30. Once you contact me to let me know that you will volunteer, I will send you a list of people and phone numbers to call, some brief instructions, a script you can use, and another, shorter, script you may be able to use to send text messages or leave short voicemails.


Sunday, January 22

National Women's March in Madison, 11:30am – 1:30pm
Wisconsin State Capitol

The National Women’s March has chosen Madison as its primary site in order to highlight the critical role that the Wisconsin Supreme Court (SCOWI) race (primary Feb. 21, election April 4) will play in advancing reproductive health care after SCOTUS overturned Roe. Gov. Evers’ challenge to the oppressive and misogynistic 1849 abortion ban is currently in the courts and will inevitably end up before SCOWI. Flipping this seat will flip the balance of the Court from conservative to progressive, enabling both fair relitigation of our outrageously partisan gerrymandered voting maps and striking down the abortion ban under our state constitution.

We will have leaflets available for distribution to attendees. Cheryl Maranto – 414 429-1583, [email protected] – will coordinate leaflet distribution and act as a clearing house for carpooling. Since the March is THIS SUNDAY, please contact her ASAP if you plan to attend.

Sunday, February 5

A Supreme Opportunity, 7:00 – 8:30pm

The annual GRNS fundraiser will showcase the two Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates we support in the February 21st primary, and will feature Professor Nick Stephanopoulos, the Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and frequently contributes to Election Law Blog, as our primary speaker. Please join us online to hear from Professor Stephanopoulos and from our two great WI Supreme Court candidates, Judge Everett Mitchell and Judge Janet Protasiewicz. RSVP here. Even if you can't attend, consider donating to support the work we do.

If you need yet another reason to get engaged in the spring elections, you should know that voter suppression is alive and working in Wisconsin. Don't just take my word for it. An Urban Milwaukee exposé documented that Bob Spindell, the chair of the 4th Congressional District Republican Party and a fraudulent elector from 2020, emailed his supporters bragging that “we can be especially proud of the City of Milwaukee (80.2% Dem Vote) casting 37,000 less votes than cast in the 2018 election with the major reduction happening in the overwhelming Black and Hispanic areas.” The Spindell email goes on to gloat that “…this great and important decrease in Democrat votes in the City” was due to a “well thought out multi-faceted plan.”

Finally, the League of Women Voters Wisconsin is holding voter registration drives at the DMV on Mill Road (7301 W. Mill Rd., Milwaukee). They're looking for volunteers for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from January 11-February 1 and February 22-March 15, 11:00am-1:30pm. Sign up to help fight voter suppression by making sure all eligible voters are registered!

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As we start the new year ...

year of our political dreams!

Let's begin with a little look ahead. We will have two regular elections, for nonpartisan offices including an extremely important seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, on February 21 (a primary) and April 4 (general). Grassroots North Shore will soon put up the names of progressive candidates together with links to their online information. Our Elections page currently displays which offices are going to be on ballots in our area. Check it out.

You can find out more about the two progressive candidates — Everett Mitchell and Janet Protasiewicz plus three "conservatives" — at a forum sponsored by Citizen Action on Wednesday, January 11, at 7:00pm in a Zoom webinar. Sign up here.

We also have two special elections to fill vacant seats. One is in Mequon on Tuesday, January 10, to fill a seat for Alderman District 8. Nancy Urbani is a candidate. The second special election will fill the vacant Wisconsin State Senate District 8, formerly filled by Alberta Darling. Jodi Habush Sinykin is the only progressive in the race. You can visit her Twitter account and donate to her effort. If you live in Assembly Districts 22, 23, or 24, she will be on you ballot, both on February 21 and April 4. Even if you're not, she needs your help, and she needs your financial support.

We highly recommend that you sign up for absentee ballots for all elections in 2023. The weather is unpredictable in February and even in April. Some of you have plans to abscond to a sunny spot for the winter. And some may have shorter vacations planned that include one or the other election days. But voting in these 2023 elections is critical if we hope to have a Wisconsin Supreme Court that can review the radically gerrymandered voting maps and can rule on whether the 1849 law banning abortion is still legal. Voting absentee is absolutely secure. You can track when your ballot has been sent to you and when it is received at the clerk's office with (To return your absentee ballot, you can either drop it in the mail or take it to your municipal clerk's office. Drop boxes are not available for voting!)

Grassroots North Shore will hold our annual fundraiser on Sunday, February 5, 7:00 — 8:30pm with Nicholas Stephanopoulos, professor of law at Harvard University whose research and numerous public appearances focus on election and constitutional law, and with presentations by Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates Janet Protasiewicz and Everett Mitchell. Our Fundraiser is the kick-off of our Spring days of action. We will be doing our best to elect a new WI Supreme Court Justice AND a Democrat for the State Senate in District 8 (and thwart the GOP supermajority). Sign up here.

I apologize for the early and short newsletter this week. I've been traveling to visit family and friends in Baltimore and Ocean City, Maryland. But I'll be back at my desk by mid-week and beginning to recruit volunteers for the various tasks we'll be undertaking for the February primary. Meanwhile, I've been enjoying the crazy clown show going on this week in the US House of Representatives. Perhaps you have been too. The serious crazy, though, comes next. Hang on.

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Heading toward justice

Yesterday was historic as the House Select Committee wound down its work and issued four criminal referrals recommending that the Department of Justice charge the ex-president for inciting an insurrection, obstructing an official proceeding, conspiring to make false statements (this is about the fake electors scheme), and conspiring to defraud the United States. All the national news outlets, of course, covered the story but many — like the New York Times and the Washington Post — are behind paywalls. So here are a few free discussions of the executive summary (which you can download here): Daily Kos, Axios, CNN, and MSNBC.

Stories about the January 6 Select Committee have, however, been eclipsed already by a flood of news coming out of Congress and the White House. If you only read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, however, you'll be pretty much in the dark. I can find no account of the Select Committee's meeting yesterday. There is, however, a startling and welcome article about how voting patterns in the suburbs have shifted a lot over the last four election cycles. As a subhead in the piece by Daniel Bice shows, "There have been huge voting shifts away from Republican Party in the Milwaukee suburbs." Apparently that shift is apparent in the suburbs around Madison too. In the Ozaukee city of Mequon, for example, this last election saw a "22-point swing (from plus 22.3 Republican to plus 0.8 Republican)." It may still be red-ish, but just barely. Even places like Elm Grove, while still in the GOP win column, are shifting significantly: "a 21-point swing (from plus 25.9 Republican to plus 4.8 Republican)."

The shifts Bice notes are encouraging but we cannot afford to overlook supposedly nonpartisan issues. For example, I could not find much coverage of two Wisconsin constitutional amendments that may be passed in time to be placed on the ballot for the April 4 election. Both have to do with elections and both were passed once (first consideration) in the 2021 legislative session. They need to be passed again (second consideration), in the 2023 legislative session after which they are to be ratified by the registered voters in the state.

The first one prohibits "the use of a donation or grant of private resources for purposes of election administration." It is aimed squarely at the so-called "Zuck bucks" that provided funds to some election administrations throughout the state and the nation in 2020. Get an explanation of Mark Zuckerburg's grants to election administration here. You can read the full text of the proposed amendment here.

The second proposed amendment is more concerning because it seeks to further tighten the restrictions on who can vote in the state. Here's the Legislative Reference Bureau's analysis of what it would do:

Currently, the constitution provides that every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in Wisconsin is a qualified elector of that district. A qualified elector is an individual who is eligible to vote in Wisconsin, subject to requirements established by law, such as voter registration.

This constitutional amendment, proposed to the 2021 legislature on first consideration, provides that only a person who is a qualified elector may vote in an election for national, state, or local office or at a statewide or local referendum.

The actual language of the amendment, available here, changes the wording to read "only a United States citizen age 18 or older" and strikes the language "every United States citizen age 18 or older." The revision may seem trivial to non-grammarians but its intent is to be more restrictive and perhaps to pave the way to require proof of US citizenship in order to register to vote. Or to prevent any Wisconsin municipality from allowing non-citizens to vote in, say, school board elections, as some areas around the country have recently done.

Both amendments have to pass the new legislature (called second consideration) and then be ratified by the people. The actual language that will be on the ballot will be "simplified" and probably written so as to obfuscate the actual meaning of the amendments. We'll discuss this issue in greater detail if it appears that these amendments will be on our ballots on April 4.

A basic elections page is now available at Grassroots North Shore so you can see what offices will be on the ballot in various municipalities. Some information is still missing, though. In Milwaukee County, there will be an election for Appeals Court District 1. Sara Geenen is running against incumbent William Brash. If you live in the county, you can sign her nomination papers. We won't be able to fill in candidate names and online resources until we know who has qualified for the ballot in each race, probably not until the end of the first week in January 2023.

There appear to be no events listed for the next week or so on the Milwaukee County Democratic website. The organization is discarding its current web presence and moving to a new one on a new platform. I will link to it when it is ready. Stand for Peace, however will be operating as usual on Saturday, December 24, from noon to 1:00pm, at Silver Spring and Port Washington and on Saturday, December 31, from noon to 1:00pm, at King and North Streets. Visit the upcoming calendar for future locations. And the Democratic Party of Ozaukee County is holding its monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 21, at 7:00pm, both online and in person. The calendar on their website directs interested parties to their Facebook page for information. The office is located at 1930 Wisconsin Ave , Grafton, 53024.

other important links

Become a Member of Grassroots North Shore

Milwaukee County Democratic Party

Support Grassroots North Shore


Ozaukee County Democratic Party

Visit Grassroots North Shore on Facebook and Like Us!

like Grassroots North Shore


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elections in our future, again!

Well that hybernation stuff didn't last long! The race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court is heating up fast. Two "conservatives" — Dan Kelly (who was appointed to the Court by Scott Walker and then defeated in a 2020 election by Justice Jill Karofsky) and Jennifer Dorow (who was the presiding judge in the trial of Darrell Brooks, the man who killed six people at the Waukesha Christmas parade a year ago). And there are two progressives running: Everett Mitchel (who presides over the Juvenile Division in Branch 4 of the Dane County Circuit Court) and Janet Protasiewicz (who has been on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court bench for 25 years).

Just in case you're wondering why electing a progressive Supreme Court Justice is so important, let me point you to a report the non-profit law firm Law Forward published recently. Called Undermining Democracy, it looks at three trends in the Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions in its 2021 term: direct attacks on democracy, consolidating power at the legislature, and results-oriented judging. The report exemplifies each theme with specific cases and shows how these cases interact with each other to undermine democracy in our state. It's not light or quick reading, but it is well worth your time. And it lays out quite clearly the imperative to vote in the primary on February 21 and the general election on April 4.

The first order of business is to make sure candidates acquire enough signatures to get on the ballot for the February 21 primary. Download the nomination papers for Everett Mitchell OR for Janet Protasiewicz, BUT NOT BOTH. Each comes with a set of instructions: follow them carefully! (You might also consider making a donation through their websites, linked above: remember that "early money is like yeast.")

In preparation for endorsing one candidate, Citizen Action is holding a forum for Janet Prostasiewicz and Everett Mitchell on Wednesday, January 11, at 7pm on Zoom. You can sign up now and a link will be sent to you ahead of the event.

There will also be a special election — on Tuesday, April 4 — for a new Wisconsin Senator in Senate District 8. Alberta Darling, who has represented SD8 since 1992, resigned right after Thanksgiving, providing only a week of notice. Jodi Habush Sinykin, a lawyer living in Whitefish Bay, announced her candidacy a few days ago. If you live in Whitefish Bay, Brown Deer, River Hills, Bayside, parts of Ozaukee County, Washington County, or a sliver of Waukesha County, she will be on your ballot on April 4. (Something like FIVE Republicans have announced a run for this office, so there will be a Republican primary on February 21. But unless another Democrat announces, there will not be a Democratic primary for this office.)

You should download and circulate her nomination papers (if you live in the district). To check which Senate District last year's redistricting placed you in, you can go to or to the lookup page for the Wisconsin legislature. However, anyone and everyone can donate to the campaign! Here's the ActBlue page.

Nomination papers both for the Wisconsin Supreme Court and for Senate District 8 are due in Madison on January 3, but need to be signed and returned to the candidate much sooner than that. In fact, ASAP. So please don't procrastinate!

Support our Election Activities


We try not to ask for money frequently, but with these critical elections just around the corner, we need to get going. We will be sending out postcards, following up with phoning, printing and distributing flyers, and canvassing for the spring elections. Some people contribute by volunteering to write postcards, make phone calls, and/or canvass. If you're not someone who can volunteer directly, please consider a donation.

Right now, postcard stamps cost $.44 but the price will go up in January! To make our dollars go farther, we need to purchase stamps and postcards now.

Please help by underwriting our election activities: reaching voters and motivating them to turn out!

It's a bit too early right now, but plan ahead to get absentee ballots when the request becomes available after New Year's Day at You never know what the weather is going to be like in February, or in April, for that matter. And if you're planning a trip this winter, you'll need to vote by mail from wherever you are. Be sure to figure out where the ballot should be sent — to your permanent home in Wisconsin or to the warm and sunny place you plan to be! And give yourself plenty of time to return your ballots by mail.

In a repeat from last week's newsletter, you still have opportunities to get trained to assist the UWM's Mapping Racism and Resistance Project to identify and document discriminatory covenants — once-legal clauses embedded in property deeds that barred people who were not white from buying or occupying land — in various communities. The project seeks to answer key questions: "How common were these restrictions? What areas of our community were reserved for white people only? How much land was restricted in this way? When were they put into place? What did they say? What are the legacies of these practices today?" Volunteer training will take place on the following Wednesdays:

  • December 14, 12 - 1pm
  • December 21, 7 - 8pm
  • January 4, 7 - 8pm
  • January 18, 7 - 8pm

As will undoubtedly be the case until the new year, the Events list is pretty small. But here's an opportunity to support Governor Evers's inauguration. There will be a Kids Gala on December 31, from 10am - 12pm, and Evers's staff is looking for 10-15 volunteers to take a variety of roles. If you're interested and want more details (including where the event will be held!), email Chastity Duffey.


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