Dear fellow Wisconsin Democrats,

This is really happening. This is the world we’re in now.

Breathe.

And take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your community.

Over the last two weeks, the world has changed, and so has the way we operate. Our statewide Administrative Committee—the DPW‘s governing body—met and passed a set of emergency measures to keep our members safe while ensuring that the party can continue to function. Among the changes:

  • I have now been authorized by the Admin Committee to determine whether to switch our planned state party convention this June to an all-virtual convention. We will be canceling Congressional District conventions—all of which were planned for times when we can no longer gather safely. Unfortunately, this means moving our normally scheduled state platform process from this year to next year.
  • DPW offices around the state are closing, our staff is providing support to all county parties and CD party units to switch to virtual meetings using Zoom videoconferencing and phone calls.

Meanwhile, we have a statewide election in 18 days. The April 7 election day—for Supreme Court, for mayoral offices in multiple cities, for county executives, and for school board referenda—is written into law, and Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald have repeatedly told reporters that they don’t intend to consider changes. So we are suing to make it easier for any Wisconsinite to request an absentee ballot—and pouring our whole organizing effort, now via phone calls, texts, and online outreach, into urging Wisconsinites to vote by mail. More on all of this below.

This period will not be easy. We will protect each other. We will make sacrifices. And we will keep working to ensure that our democracy lives on as well.

We are all in this together. 

FIGHT ON THE ISSUES

AND FIGHT TO WIN

Protecting Your Right to VOTE

In response to the growing threat COVID-19 poses, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and the Democratic National Committee filed a request in federal court this week to expand access to voting.

We filed this lawsuit because we believe that elections should be free, fair and safe for everyone. Nobody should have to risk their health and safety to exercise their right to vote. And that means making sure everyone has equal access to voting by mail — by far the safest form of voting at our disposal.

That’s why we’ve asked the courts to immediately strike down four measures which, in light of the crisis caused by Coronavirus, severely burden Wisconsinites’ ability to vote. The changes we seek are:

  • Extend the electronic and by-mail registration to April 3;

  • Suspend the requirement that copies of photo identification accompany absentee ballot requests and copies of proof of residency documents accompany voter registration requests, for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak; and

  • Extend the current deadline requiring absentee mail-in ballots to be received by  8:00 p.m. on Election Day to being postmarked by Election Day and received by municipal clerks’ offices within 10 days of the election.

By implementing these measures, the state can ensure that Wisconsinites’ right to vote is not infringed upon during this extraordinary and unprecedented time.

Shockingly, Republicans have already filed in court to block our lawsuit. They are apparently willing to put the most vulnerable Wisconsinites at further risk in order to undermine voting rights.

The deadlines to register to vote and vote by absentee ballot (as they currently stand) are listed below. Make sure to follow these deadlines unless you hear otherwise:

  • April 2 at 5:00 p.m.: Deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail. As the law stands now, you’ll need to provide a copy of the ID you use to vote along with your request.

  • April 3 at 5:00 p.m.: Deadline to register in-person at your clerk’s office

  • April 7: Election day! You can register in-person at the polls

Ron Johnson’s Failed Leadership

In times of crisis, we often look to our elected officials for leadership and compassion. But in recent days and weeks, Sen. Ron Johnson has made it clear that he’s not interested in helping Wisconsin overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, it seems he would rather play down the risk Coronavirus poses and obstruct those who are actually trying to support American families.

This week Ron Johnson was one of just eight senators to vote against a bipartisan relief package that makes testing for COVID-19 free, expands unemployment insurance and provides paid sick leave to many American workers.

He also downplayed the risk of the disease when he said that its death rate would be “maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population (and) I think probably far less.” For reference, 3.4 percent of the American population is more than 11 million people.

Ron Johnson has shown a complete lack of compassion for working families. But here in Wisconsin, we’re lucky to have actual leaders like Gov. Tony Evers, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Sen. Tammy Baldwin who are filling the void that he is leaving. Perhaps he could learn from their example.

Include and Respect

Taking Care of Yourself During CO-VID19

If you’re feeling scared for your loved ones or if you’re overwhelmed by the news about COVID-19, it’s important to know that you are not alone.

If you need support during this time of crisis, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Disaster Distress Line supported by Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services by calling 1-800-985-5990 or texting TalkWithUs to 66746.

Empower

Following the guidance of our state and local health officials as well as the Centers for Disease Control, we made the decision last week to replace our traditional canvassing operation with a digital organizing program ahead of the April 7 Spring election.

However, it’s crucial to our success that we bring the same level of intensity and energy to digital organizing that we brought to traditional canvassing.

In order to be successful in this effort, we’ll need everyone’s help. That’s why we’re asking you to check out the Spring Election Toolkit and see how you can spread the word about early voting and absentee voting methods to your networks and online communities. In the face of this crisis, this work is now more important than ever!