As Joan McCarter wrote recently, the 2024 election starts now in Wisconsin. Two races on the ballot there this year (state Supreme Court and state Senate) can determine the future of democracy and abortion rights nationwide.
“It’s a confluence of things, not all of them planned, that have made this race as important as any election in the state,” Barry Burden, a political science professor and election expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told the 19th. “All of the most controversial, difficult things seem to end up [at the state Supreme Court],” Burden added.
The primary is on Feb. 21, and the general election is on April 4. But many Wisconsin voters don't know they need to go vote: We must ensure a healthy Democratic voter turnout in order to win these very under-the-radar, but surprisingly crucial elections.
Click to sign up for a volunteer Get Out the Vote phone banking shift with Wisconsin Democrats, no matter where you live.
With the Wisconsin Democratic Party, you can make calls from the comfort of your home, on your own computer, from wherever you live. The auto-dialer makes it fast and efficient. Making phone calls to strangers can always be nerve-wracking (even for a grizzled veteran like me), but what I do when I phone bank is clutch my Hope rock and put a big smile on my face. And just remember: You are helping these voters make a plan to vote.
So why are these elections so important, and why should you spend your time making calls—even if you don't live in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin Supreme Court, with its 4-3 conservative majority, has already worked to suppress the vote, ban ballot drop boxes, and will soon determine if the state rockets back to 1849 and bans abortion. One of the seats held by a conservative is up for election this year, and if we win then we will flip the court to a 4-3 progressive majority.
But that's not all. Due to outrageous gerrymandering, Wisconsin Republicans have grabbed a supermajority in the state Senate. That means they could impeach and remove any official in the state, including Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. But because of an open seat, we can erase that supermajority by electing Democrat Jodi Habush Sinykin in an upcoming special election.
Both races have implications for 2024. Wisconsin Republicans wanted to decertify the 2020 presidential election results, so these are not the people we want controlling the legislature in 2024 with a supermajority. Further, the state Supreme Court's conservative majority went along with GOP plans on gerrymandering, and now, likely also on abortion rights.
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We all remember that Hillary Clinton lost Wisconsin in 2016, in part because she never campaigned there. Joe Biden won Wisconsin, but only by 21,000 votes—which made it the tipping-point state for the 2020 presidential election.
It's a state that just reelected a Democratic governor, but also reelected an extremist right-wing GOP senator. These upcoming elections can go either way, and we ignore Wisconsin this year at our peril.
Click here to sign up for a volunteer Get Out the Vote phone-banking shift with Wisconsin Democrats for this key election.
Do you live in—or near—Wisconsin? The Wisconsin Democrats need volunteers to do some in-person canvassing. Click here to sign up for many such opportunities.
Can't volunteer? Chip in $5 today to help flip the Wisconsin Supreme Court and stop the Republican super-majority in the state legislature.