Wisconsin – Gerrymandering, the Pandemic, and the Jan. 6 Select Committee

Newsletter from Grassroots North Shore, an independent Political Action Committee (PAC) registered with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. (https://www.grassrootsnorthshore.com/weekly_emails)

 

Grassroots North Shore
Dear Sonny —

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday break. Starting next week, though, there will be an increasing volume of important stuff to do. And Grassroots North Shore is counting on you to help win the elections that will be coming our way in 2022.

There is no Events List this week. So I’m using the newsletter to cover four important topics: the criminal justice reform work being undertaken by a Grassroots North Shore Issue Team, gerrymandering, the pandemic, and the Jan. 6 Select Committee in the House of Representatives. I hope you’ll find the information helpful.

Action in the Criminal Justice Reform team is about to heat up. And I encourage you to get engaged. Paul Geenen, who is spearheading this group, is arranging for a meeting with Senator Alberta Darling to discuss a bill that has recently been drafted. Here are its main provisions:

  • Establishes a statewide criminal justice data system that closes the gaps in our state’s information silos.
  • Costs $3 million over two years, funding a full time data analyst, and ensuring 4-5 years of continuity.
  • Data would be used to address a number of justice issues in our state, including opioid and meth usage, alternatives to incarceration, violent crime, racial disparities and bail bond practices.
  • It will be housed in DOJ Criminal Justice and Data Council, with the data sharing sub-committee from DOJ, DOC and state courts providing guidance.
  • Includes language that protects Personal Identifiable Information (PII) as an incentive for local agencies to be more comfortable in sharing data.

To prepare for the meeting with Senator Darling, Paul has set up a Zoom for everyone interested in lobbying on this issue. This pre-meeting will be held on January 6 at 12 CST. Please contact Paul directly for a full copy of the bill and for the link to the pre-meeting Zoom.

Gerrymandering Action: Electoral maps can have enormous influence on both national and state election outcomes. Because states must redraw their maps to account for shifts in population revealed by the US Census conducted in 2020, gerrymandering (i.e., rigging electoral district maps to favor one party) is now going on all over the country. Although there has lately been some argument about the proposition, Democrats generally fear that Republicans can and will gerrymander their way to a majority in the House of Representatives. Professor Hasan’s Election Law Blog has a thorough discussion of a column by Eric Levitz that claims the new maps are not as skewed as all that. So why does this question matter? Aside from the fact that Republican redistricting is resulting in significant impacts on minority representation at all levels of government, that is. Hasan concludes with a paragraph making a strong case for the reforms embedded in the two voting rights acts currently stalled in the US Senate by the filibuster. It’s worth taking a small amount of time to write our senators — Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson by email. When there is enough of it, public pressure — can have an effect.

Ditto at the state level. Matt Rothschild of the Wisconsin Democracy Project has the TAKE ACTION initiatives we need. He urges people to write letters to the editors of media outlets (while offering help and training), to contact your state legislators to support Senate Bill 389 and Assembly Bill 395, and to contact the chairs of the Senate and Assembly committees that should hold hearings on the bills to establish a “fair, independent, nonpartisan and transparent way to draw new voting district maps.” You can also find a succinct summary of the three court cases about electoral maps filed in 2021 on the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s website.

Pandemic information: As you are certainly aware, the COVID-19 pandemic is raging in Wisconsin, and will likely be exacerbated by gatherings for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. The spread of disease has seriously disrupted some major sporting events: college bowl games cancelled, the National Hockey League “paused,” and the NFL postponing games. Broadway shows have also gone dark. Several Milwaukee events have also been cancelled. And we’re just at the beginning of the Omicron wave here. According to today’s news, “roughly 2 in 5 recent Wisconsin cases sequenced in a lab have been the fast-spreading omicron variant.” Masks are an important part of your efforts to reduce the spread and protect yourself and others, but not all masks offer adequate filtration and apparently there are lots of counterfeit masks around. To make sure you get bona fide N95 masks, consult Project N95, a site that evaluates sellers of masks so that you can order the genuine articles.

The severity of the Omicron variant is STILL not conclusively measured, but today’s New York Times has a particularly helpful analysis, complete with easily understood graphs, about who was dying from COVID in late fall. “[W]hile for much of the pandemic, older Americans and people of color were more likely to die from the virus, the demographics of those dying from Covid have shifted too, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How the arrival of the highly transmissible Omicron variant will affect these trends remains to be seen, since the current data on deaths is reliable only through late November.” The article notes that “Covid-19 now accounts for a much larger share of all deaths for [middle-aged white people] than it did before vaccines were widely available.” Wisconsin fares reasonably well compared to such hotspots as West Virgina, Kentucky and much of Florida. Still, three weeks ago, Wisconsin NPR reported that “Wisconsin hospital leaders are sounding the alarm as the state endures another COVID-19 surge. The seven-day average of new infections is over 3,500 — the highest it’s been in a year.” The current data shows 1,672 currently hospitalized (up 39 from a week ago) with 405 in a Wisconsin ICU right now.

Investigating the Insurrection: The House Select Committee on the January 6 insurrection was a major news story before the holidays and promises to be so again as it resumes work next week. Some aspects of the events leading up to and on that day have been well covered, especially the rallies on Jan. 5 and 6, but Talking Points Memo has striking new information on a third rally that was planned for 2pm on Jan. 6 in front of the Supreme Court building, right across the street from the Capitol Building. That rally was scuttled once the assault on the Capitol began to unfold. In a second essay in TPM, Josh Kovensky takes a stab at explaining why the planners might have wanted a rally there. The context, he writes, includes a lawsuit Sidney Powell filed in Texas in hopes of prompting Justice Alito, who covers emergency filings there, “to halt Biden’s certification. Had there been more of a delay, Powell suggested, Alito might have had time to intervene.”

And the Jan. 6 Select Committee “has signaled it intends to explore potential criminal wrongdoing by former President Trump, marking a significant escalation for the investigation” as reported in The Hill on Dec. 26. As an article in the Washington Post explains, “Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said in an interview that of particular interest is why it took so long for him to call on his supporters to stand down, an area of inquiry that includes obtaining several versions of a video Trump reportedly recorded before finally releasing a message 187 minutes after he told his supporters to march on the Capitol during the rally that preceded the attack.” Criminal referrals from Congress don’t carry any special weight with the Department of Justice, but “Trump’s actions could amount to criminally obstructing Congress as it sought to certify the election results.”

Finally, just FYI, since most of you will not be able to vote in this race: there seem to be eight current candidates to become the next Mayor of Milwaukee:

State representative Dan Riemer originally declared his candidacy but recently dropped out. And today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Senator Chris Larson is seriously considering a run. The candidates’ websites will undoubtedly have links to their donation pages as well as their Facebook and Twitter accounts. The primary will be held February 15 with the election on April 5, 2022.

May 2022 bring a healthier, happier New Year.

other important links

Milwaukee County Democratic Party


Ozaukee County Democratic Party

Sign Up For Wisconsin Voter Registration

Wisconsin State Map

Many of you have asked about opportunities to volunteer in Wisconsin voter-related efforts for the 2022 midterm elections. Please READ MORE look at the information below from Milwaukee voter registration group, Supermarket Legends. This is the well-established, well-organized group we worked closely with on the DMV voter registration effort. They are involved with various programs that we think offer opportunities to make a real impact. Questions? Please contact Linda Tate and/or Bob Best at: bobbestbike@gmail.com.

Phonebank for Voter Protection

Phonebank/Friendbank for Voter Protection

Join the Wisconsin Dems Phonebank/Friendbanks recruiting poll workers! Protecting voting rights in Wisconsin starts with you. We welcome out-of-state volunteers in all our Phonebank/Friendbanks!  Register HERE

You’ll start by making calls to people to talk about why voting rights matter and to get them involved as a Poll Worker, and then we’ll give you the tools in the fight for voting rights. Right now, our focus is recruiting Poll Workers to nominate for the 2022 elections to ensure that every polling place in the state is open.

Training is offered at every event, and no need to prepare anything in advance–we’ll provide scripts & resources, so all you need is a computer and a phone.

Help Fund Staffer – Wisconsin Northwoods

Wisconsin Progress

Wisconsin Progress alongside the Minocqua Brewing Super PAC want to change the future of Northern Wisconsin. Help us today to fund a new full time staffer to recruit, train, and elect progressives all over Wisconsin’s Northwoods!

Wisconsin Progress envisions a Wisconsin that is a better, more equitable place to live, work, and raise a family.

In pursuit of this goal we recruit, train, elect, and develop progressive candidates for local and state legislative offices. We are the progressive recruitment arm of the Assembly and State Senate, we not only recruit candidates to run for office throughout the state- we win elections.

Help fund a new full time staffer

The battle for Fair Maps in Wisconsin isn’t over.

Fair Maps Wisconsin

The battle for Fair Maps in Wisconsin isn’t over. The People’s Map Commission will present its map to the legislature this fall, where it will no doubt be ignored. The Republicans will pass their own, heavily gerrymandered map — like the one we have been using for the last decade. Governor Evers will veto it. The matter will end up in the courts, where except for the 2011 map, electoral districts have been drawn by the courts in 2001, 1991, 1981, etc. But if Tony Evers loses next year’s race for Governor, the Republican dominated legislature will pass new, again heavily gerrymandered, maps and a Republican Governor will sign them into law. Just like Texas did in 2003.

That’s why we are asking you with some urgency to get involved NOW in the four elections that Wisconsin will hold in 2022: the nonpartisan primary on February 15, the nonpartisan election on April 5, the partisan primary on August 9, and the partisan general election on November 8. Put those dates in your calendar now. Grassroots North Shore will shortly be hosting the following two actions to begin our voter outreach work:

  1. In conjunction with the Progressive Turnout Project, we will be sending postcards to Wisconsinites who were first time voters in 2020. The goal is to make sure Democrats stay engaged and make voting a habit in Wisconsin. Norma Gilson will be the point person on this project and will begin distributing postcards and lists of names and addresses next week. Sign up here if you want to participate.
  2. In conjunction with the League of Women Voters, we will be phoning people on the Wisconsin Election Commission’s list of registered voters who are being removed from the voter rolls after July 15. This is a nonpartisan activity designed to help people renew their registrations if they failed to respond to the postcard the WEC sent them in June and July. Those interested in tackling this challenge should sign up to be notified when the phone bank becomes available some time early in August.

Phone Banking

Phone Banking

Join our calling crews to turn MI & WI BLUE. We make phone banking easy by being with you every step of the way to answer questions/assist with tech issues during the call & we debrief after the shift.

  • Michigan Mondays, 1-3 pm
  • Underwood Tuesdays, 6-8 pm
  • Wisconsin Wednesdays, 6-8 pm
  • Many call lists allow us to phone bank at times convenient for us. Typically the OpenVPN (Open Virtual Phone Bank)  links where we access our phone lists/scripts are open Mon – Friday 9am – 8pm, Saturday 9am – 7pm and Sundays 12 – 7pm
  • Volunteer recruiting Thursdays, 1-3 pm

Sign up here:

https://secure.everyaction.com/p/zElg5VU15EOKvvLQ52tMsg2

Watch this short phone banking testimonial:

 

Join the Michigan and Wisconsin Voter Registration Project Texting Team

Rust Belt Rising

Help us flip Michigan and Wisconsin blue, one text at a time! Sign up to be part of the Texting Team that will send text messages to unregistered likely Democratic voters in MI and WI and get them registered to vote. People receive an application in the mail, a text reminder and a phone call to support them through the process.

Sign Up Here

The Indivisible Chicago Alliance is partnering with rust Belt Rising and Civitech/Register2Vote to find these targeted voters in both states and reach out to them with a mailing, phone calls and texts. Our goal is to send 400,000 texts to potential MI and WI voters — two texts to 100,000 targeted voters in each state. Considering that Trump won MI by 10,704 and WI by 22,278 votes, this project has the potential of having significant impact on the outcome in November.

We will be using a texting platform called Spoke, which many different campaigns and organizations use for peer-to-peer texting. Our first Zoom info session and training will be on August 19 from 6-7:30 pm and August 22 from 10-11:30 am. Once you sign up here, you will get an invitation to sign up for them as well as for textbanking sessions on Zoom.

*** Text banking is easy – you use a web-based texting platform on your laptop or desktop computer to send pre-loaded scripts that have been written for you so you don’t have to guess at what to say.

*** Text banking is private – the texting platform uses phone numbers in the areas we’re texting into, with no connection at all to your own phone number.

***Text banking is fast – you can reach out to hundreds of voters in minutes and have dozens of meaningful conversations an hour.

***Text banking is fun – while you’re texting, the chat software we use lets you get your questions answered by volunteer moderators, get progress reports on the campaign, and talk to other volunteer texters!

*** And most of all, text banking really works! Research showing that it can increase candidate name recognition by up to 20% and boost voter support by as much as 9.5%. That’s the kind of thing that wins elections!

Join us and make a difference! Sign up to text people about completing their voter registration so that they will be ready to vote in November and help us flip MI and WI blue!

By signing up on this form, you are committing to attending a Texting Team training session and to text voters in MI and/or WI at least two hours a week during this program this will run from mid-August through September.

Questions? Please contact Laura Tanner at laura.tanner2.0@gmail.com

Sign up here.

Laura Tanner, Co-Founder and Co-Leader, Indivisible Evanston
Texting Coordinator, Michigan and Wisconsin Voter Registration Project
laura.tanner2.0@gmail.com

Volunteer – Democratic National Convention Host Committee

Volunteers are important to the Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee and the convention.

During the Democratic National Convention, which will be held from July 13 to 16, 2020, and in the weeks leading up to the event, the host committee will welcome thousands of guests and delegates to Milwaukee and the surrounding region. Some of them will be visiting the city for the first time, and our volunteer team will be the first smiles they encounter and a friendly source of information.

Our volunteers will serve as Milwaukee 2020 Host Committee ambassadors, joining a history-making team that welcomes and delivers a positive experience to thousands of visitors from around the country and world, inspiring them to plan return trips to Milwaukee.

Sign up to Volunteer here

Learn more about the volunteer effort here.

Ways You Can Become/Stay Involved

Let the countdown begin! 305 days until Election Day on November 3rd. We all signed up in January, 2017 to resist Trump’s agenda and fight for our democracy. Everything we’ve done has had an impact. It’s been an exhausting journey but let’s not give up now. There is still so much more to do. Below are some of the ways you can stay involved along with links to websites to continue getting information.

  • Chicago Women’s March – https://www.womensmarchchicago.org/
    • Saturday, 1/18/20 in Grant Park, 11am to 1pm
  • Help Flip Wisconsin Blue – https://northshoreindivisible.com/flip-wisconsin/
    • Letter writing campaigns
    • Register voters in Milwaukee
    • Canvass
  • Deputy Voter Registration Training – https://tenthdems.org/events/
    • 1/8/20 – Northbrook Library, 7 to 8:30pm (for Cook County residents)
    • 1/15/20 – Lake County Central Permit Facility (2nd Floor Conference Room), 500 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville, 6pm (for Lake County residents)
    • 1/22/20 – County Building (10th Floor – Assembly Room), 18 N. County Street, Waukegan, 2pm (for Lake County residents)
  • Volunteer to help re-elect:
    • Dick Durbin (D-IL) contact Chicago Office 312.353.4952
    • US Rep. Brad Schneider, Deerfield (D-IL-10) contact Lincolnshire Office 847.383.4870
    • US Rep. Sean Casten, Palatine (D-IL-6) campaign contact Phone 630.534.3018
    • Lauren Underwood, Naperville (D-IL-14) campaign contact Phone West Chicago 630. 549.2190
    • IL State Sen. Julie Morrison (29th Dist) campaign contact Deerfield Phone 847.945.5200
    • IL State Rep. Bob Morgan (58th Dist) campaign contact Highland Park Ph. 847.282.0577

CCAN-HRA still meets regularly and all are welcome to attend. If you would like to be notified of our meetings, please let us know and we will add you to our HRA email list. Most of you have hung in there over the past arduous three years and we are so grateful for your willingness to stay involved. However, we also respect those who no longer wish to stay active. Just let us know and we’ll remove your name from the CCAN email list.

We have the opportunity to flip the White House and YES, even the Senate this November! If we do this together, our activism will have a better chance at succeeding. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get back to work!!

CCAN-HRA

Human Rights Alliance Committee

Joni Reed

847-948-7333 (h)

847-558-5826 (c)

joni.reed@comcast.net

Wisconsin Actions You Can Take Between Now and January 16, 2020

Help us WIN WISCONSIN!  We have several initiatives going on that you may want to consider:
1. Registering voters in Milwaukee.  This commitment is during the week, during business hours. Attached is information (click for PDF) about the program.  Laura Kushner, our Wisconsin Initiative Campaign Manager has been up to Milwaukee herself a few times to register voters, so reach out to her if you have any questions about the process.
2. Letter writing campaigns.  You are welcome to write letters on your own at home. Attached is a ‘how to’ sheet on what to do.  You are also welcome to come and join our monthly letter writing parties at the Vernon Area Library in Lincolnshire.  our next party is January 16 at 7:00 PM. We will be in the Youth Services Room.  Come and join us!
3. There is canvassing going on in Kenosha on Jan. 11.  If you are interested you should contact Nancy Bruski at nancysbruski@gmail.com .  Note that there are more canvassing opportunities coming up later in the winter and spring.  If you are on the email list you will receive emails about them from North Shore Indivisible.