End of the Year Democracy Check List for a Tumultuous Year in Wisconsin
12.20.2021 / By Jay Heck
After a very hard-fought, close but fair election in 2020, the struggle to protect and preserve our democracy here in Wisconsin and nationally has never been more challenging — all through this year. But consider all we have done, together, to keep Wisconsin from spiraling ever downward into the abyss of injustice, tyranny, and the complete end to free and fair elections and the silencing of our voices and, instead, have accomplished to protect the Badger State!
Together, we have:
- Sounded the alarm and pushed back hard against the more than 25 anti-voter bills that sought to suppress voting rights and penalize election officials instead of trying to improve election administration procedures. You flooded the Wisconsin Legislature with 3,682 letters opposing these measures and over a thousand letters to Gov. Tony Evers to thank him for vetoing them. We stopped all of them.
- Kept shining the light on the secretive 2021 redistricting process and called out partisan gerrymandering efforts by Republicans. You inundated the Legislature with 1,554 letters against their unfair voting maps.
- Increased and strengthened public support for redistricting reform legislation based on Iowa’s 40-year-old and highly successful non-partisan redistricting process. You blanketed the Wisconsin Legislature with more than 5,566 letters in support for the redistricting reform and expanded the number of Wisconsin counties that have now passed voter referendums or county board resolutions in support of non-partisan redistricting for the state to 56.
- Written hundreds of letters to the editors and citizen opinion editorials to your local media in support of expanded voting rights and redistricting reform and against attempts to make voting more difficult for senior citizens, people with disabilities, college, and university students and for people of color in African-American, Latinx, Asian-American and Native American communities.
- Testified with CC/WI at public hearings in the Capitol and elsewhere, both in person and virtually for fair voting maps and against voter suppression in unprecedented numbers. Hundreds of you testified or registered against the gerrymandered Republican state legislative and congressional maps in October and not a single citizen supported the unfair, rigged maps drawn in secret by G.O.P. legislative leaders with no public input.
- Participated in the single largest state virtual “town hall meeting” last August on redistricting reform and ending partisan gerrymandering, organized by CC/WI that featured the two legislative sponsors of the bipartisan “Iowa Model” redistricting reform legislation, State Sen. Jeff Smith of Eau Claire and State Rep. Deb Andraca of Whitefish Bay. More than 300 of you registered and attended and hundreds more saw the event later, on YouTube.
- Continually called out and pushed back against the “Big Lie” about the 2020 election results and against the conspiracy theories and fake “investigations” being pushed by Trump lackeys like Michael Gableman, State Rep. Janel Brandtjen and others who have slandered and lied about the good and courageous work of Wisconsin election clerks and officials and have continued to try to undermine public confidence in free and fair elections. They are failing in their repeated attempts to erode public confidence in our state’s very well-run and highly regarded election process.
Thank you for all the actions you took, conversations you had, and time you have invested into supporting democracy in Wisconsin in 2021. Your advocacy and your voice is what keeps this state and this nation from drowning in despair and worse. It literally keeps us afloat! Since our founding in 1970, the motto of Common Cause has been: “Hold Power Accountable.” That’s what you did during the past year. And it has made a tremendous difference for all of us.
Here are a few more things you can do before the end of 2021! Keep this email handy through the end of the year and do what you can to strengthen democracy:
Be vote ready for the 2022 elections! They will be more critical than any mid-term election in memory! Check your voter status and make any updates to your voter registration if you have moved or changed your name since you last voted. All this can be done quickly at MyVote.wi.gov. The Spring Primary Election is February 15th, 2022. That’s less than two months away. Vote!
Our friends at All Voting is Local developed a Factsgiving informational webinar to help you correct misinformation and speak the truth about the scam investigations into the 2020 election during the holiday season. Watch the recorded webinar.
Tell Vos to end this charade immediately and stop wasting our taxpayer dollars on attacking Wisconsin election officials, undermining public trust and confidence in our elections and in trying to make it more difficult for Wisconsinites to vote. This fishing expedition has no limits and no defined scope and is an open-ended raid on the Wisconsin treasury. The Common Cause letter writing tool makes it easy to send your message.
If you’re looking for a way to make an important and meaningful impact in 2022, consider becoming a poll worker. It’s one of the most important roles you can play to help ensure a free and fair election. Being a poll worker means you will be helping people to vote safely and ensuring that as many people as possible can cast their ballot.
Writing a letter to the editor in your local newspaper will reach many other voters in your community. You can utilize this very simple-to-use Common Cause Letter to the Editor tool! This current letter is “ready” for you to write about the Gableman sham election review. Try it out now. It’s easy and fun. Let us know if your letter is published. Make your voice heard and make a difference using this important community resource.
Clerks have had an extremely trying and difficult past couple of elections! In 2021 they should have been able to do some forward thinking about elections and plan for 2022. Instead, they have been wrongly and aggressively targeted by those trying to undermine these dedicated and professional public servants and the job they did so very well administering elections in 2020. Show your clerk some love and send a thank you note. Find their mailing address on MyVote at the link.
It is so simple and very easy to use the tool Common Cause developed to write to both your State Senator and your State Representative and demand a public hearing and then a vote on the redistricting reform legislation, Senate Bill 389 and Assembly Bill 395 in the weeks ahead, before the 2022 election season kicks into high gear and the 2021-22 legislative session ends in March. Take less than a minute and do it now, even if you have before. Repeating your demand for reform is effective and necessary! You will feel better for having done so, trust me!
Here are some opportunities to support federal legislation to protect voting rights, end partisan gerrymandering and other pro-democracy measures. Many of them are remote. Visit often as the opportunities will continue to update.
☐ Be sure to get rest and find some calm at the end of the year
Take some much needed and well-deserved time for yourself and away from all things political! Everyone needs to “recharge” their democracy “batteries” and take some down time. You will be better for having done so and revived to keep going when you need to during 2022!
☐ Share this email list with others
Pass along this list and encourage your family and friends to be engaged in democracy. The only way to preserve and protect democracy is to enlarge the number of participants who engage in this ongoing struggle.
☐ Consider making a year-end contribution to Common Cause in Wisconsin
You help us to be proactive, outspoken, and effective. Mail your check or credit card payment to Common Cause in Wisconsin, P.O. Box 2597, Madison, WI 53701-2597. Or call 608-256-2686 with your credit card information.
We very much look forward to working right beside you in the year ahead. We appreciate your activism and your concern and care about our state and our nation more than we can express. Thank you so, so much and best wishes for you and yours to be healthy and happy during this Holiday season and in the new year!
On Wisconsin. Forward!
All best to you,
Jay Heck and Erin Grunze