MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THIS OUT: A critical look at the Wisconsin Supreme Court race between Daniel Kelly and Jill Karofsky

If you are looking for an excellent analysis of the critical Wisconsin Supreme Court battle being waged right now by incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by former Republican Governor Scott Walker, and challenger Jill Karofsky, who is a Dane County Circuit Court judge, this article from the Wisconsin Examiner, is an excellent read.

The thrust of the article is that the election will decide the direction of the court for years to come. Accordingly, if you are concerned about the fairness of our court system, you need to understand where both candidates sit on key issues.

Thanks to Ken Knight for alerting us to the article, which you can view and read here.

When you’re done with the article, please share it with everyone you know who has not yet voted, and urge them to share with their friends, neighbors, family, and acquaintances.

Sen. Baldwin was co-sponsor of the For the People Act; bill now languishing on Mitch McConnell’s desk

Here is what Sen, Tammy Baldwin had to say after receiving a letter from a constituent asking if she supported the For the People Act:

“The American people need to trust that their government is working for them, not the powerful special interests in Washington.  Hardworking American families are struggling to get ahead and can’t afford to have special interests in a cozy relationship with the government.  The time is now to take bold legislative action that reforms our political system, increases transparency and restores faith in our democracy.

“That is why I am a proud cosponsor of S. 949, the For the People Act – a sweeping package of reforms that would fix our broken political system and make government work for the people.  This landmark legislation would restore the promise of American democracy by making it easier to vote, ending the dominance of big money in politics and ensuring that public officials work for the public interest. 

“The right for every citizen’s voice to be heard through the ballot box is the cornerstone of our democracy.  S. 949 improves access to voting through expansion of voter registration and early voting methods while fighting back against the assault on voting rights like voter roll purges and discriminatory ID laws.  This bill would also end partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters and making Americans feel like their voices do not count.

“We must also reform the way we finance our campaigns and end the rule of big money in our elections.  The For the People Act will shine a light on dark money by requiring political organizations to disclose their donors, levels the playing field for small donors and strengthens regulation and oversight by Congress and the Federal Elections Commission.  This allows everyday Americans to exercise their due influence in a post-Citizens United world.

“In addition, this legislation helps to ensure that government officials are working on behalf of the common good, not powerful special interests.  S. 949 includes my Executive Branch Conflict of Interest Act, which slows the revolving door between corporations, Wall Street and Washington. It also prohibits “government service golden parachute” bonus payouts, strengthens ethics requirements, and combats conflicts of interest. 

“On March 8, 2019, the House passed its version of the For the People Act, H.R. 1, and the bill now awaits action in the Senate.  Please be assured of my support for this legislation that helps to restore our democracy and put power back in the hands of the American people where it belongs.

“Once again, thank you for contacting my office.  It is important for me to hear from the people of Wisconsin on the issues, thoughts and concerns that matter most to you. If I can be of further assistance, please visit my website at for information on how to contact my office.”


Health Care and the Environment finish as the top issues of concern


The final results are in and as expected, Health Care and the Environment, the early leaders in the Green Lake County Dems & Friends poll of attendees at the just concluded Green Lake County Fair, were the final two top issues of concern.

The poll, admittedly unscientific and definitely unofficial, but lots of fun, closed Sunday at the end of the 4-day fair run.

So, who participated in our poll? Well, young and old, male and female, Democrat and Republican (including 6th District Congressman Glen Grothman, a Republican and a good sport), and a group of young 4-Hers who, while too young to vote in real elections, cared enough about the issues to register their votes with us.

As indicated, Health Care, with 168 votes, was the top issue of concern, with the Environment close behind at 160. The Environment, as the table below shows, was the leader after the first day, but Health Care rallied and led the rest of the way.

Education finished third with 129 votes.

Agriculture was third with 65 votes, followed closely by Voting Rights with 60.

Everyone who voted was encouraged to make two choices with the provided smiley faces; most did.



[table id=3 /]

Health Care gets most votes Saturday during our top issues poll at fair

While the rain Saturday night ended the polling prematurely, attendees at the Green Lake County Fair still demonstrated a lot of interest in Green Lake County Dems & Friends’ unscientific, completely unofficial poll to learn what issues were of the most concern to voters heading into the 2020 election year.

Health Care, the No. 2 issue after the first two days of voting–the Environment was No. 1–is the new leader with a three-day total of 145 votes. The Environment is now No. 2 with 136 votes.

Helping Health Care take over the top spot was a relatively large margin on Saturday. Health Care had 52 votes Saturday before the rain came, while the environment had 33 votes Saturday.

The No. 3 top issue after three days? Education with 111 votes.

Check out the table below for the day-by-day totals, plus the grand totals for the first three days of the four-day event.



[table id=2 /]



Health care is Friday leader in Green Lake County Dems’ poll of fairgoers

Fairgoers participating in the Green Lake County Dems & Friends poll on Friday said that Health Care was their top issue or concern. Second was the Environment.

This is a reversal of Thursday’s results, where the Environment was the first day leader with 44 votes

Health Care earned 63 votes Friday, the largest one-day total so far.  A close second on Friday, was the Environment with 59 votes.

This means that after two days, the Environment is still the overall leader with 103 votes. Health Care’s two-day total is 93.

See the table below for more information on the vote totals. Our poll, which is new this year, is an admittedly unscientific and unofficial undertaking. So, what. We and the fairgoers participating in the poll are having fun, while also gaining some insights into the opinions of those attending the fair.


[table id=1 /]

The environment and health care are the early top issues of concern after day one of the Green Lake County Fair poll

The early results are in and attendees at the Green Lake County Fair have spoken. 

Their top issues of concern heading into the 2020 elections are (drum roll please) the Environment and Health Care. 

Next up: Voting rights and education. 

Although it was expected to be one of the leaders, the Environment, with 44 votes, had a 14-point lead over Health Care’s 30 after the first day of the fair in this unscientific, unofficial, but extremely fun poll.

Although the big lead for the Environment and Health Care was a bit of a surprise (some observers felt it would be closer), these vote totals are only for day one of the four-day annual event. 

Today’s results could end up making the race closer. Today could also see voting rights (and its allied issues, such as redistricting) and education close the gap.

Trailing the leaders, after the first day, was Agriculture with 12, Infrastructure with 8 and Other with 5.

In total, 140 votes were cast on Thursday, the fair’s opening day.

Voting (such as it is) continues today, Saturday, and Sunday. Look for the final results Sunday night.



Brian Hagedorn. Lisa Neubauer’s opponent in April 2 election for State Supreme Court, appearing at Ripon College on Monday, March 11.

The following is a slightly edited version of an announcement posted by Jaye Alderson, March 6, 2019, in Political PublicationsSpecial Event on the Ripon College website.

Brian Hagedorn, who is running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, will speak at Ripon College, on Monday, March 11.

His talk will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Kresge Little Theatre, East Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Ripon College Republicans is [sic] hosting Hagedorn’s talk.

Hagedorn is running for the State Supreme Court in the election on April 2. His opponent is Judge Lisa Neubauer.

Hagedorn is a judge of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, serving in the court’s Waukesha-based District II since Aug. 1, 2015.

Hagedorn served as chief legal counsel to Gov. Scott Walker for almost five years, where he managed litigation in partnership with the attorney general, served as the top ethics officer for the administration, advised on legal policy issues, oversaw judicial and district attorney appointments, and provided legal analysis on proposed legislation.Walker appointed him to the bench in 2015 and won election to a new six-year term in April 2017. He was appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to serve on the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, which oversees enforcement of the judicial code of ethics.
He also has served as an assistant attorney general at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, a law clerk for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, and as an attorney in private practice for a Milwaukee law firm.

LWV says it can’t support using constitutional amendment to overturn Citizen United

While there is a consensus that Citizens United created an unacceptable corruption of the political process by allowing corporations to have an oversized voice in our elections, there is no consensus on how to negate the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that says corporations have the same free speech rights as people. One often talked about mechanism for overturning the court’s decision is to pass a constitutional amendment. But that would require a constitutional convention. That process presents its own set of issues.

One organization struggling with the “do we or don’t we” issue is the League of Women Voters. Here is a recent statement on their position from Cindy Diemer, president of the LWV of the Ripon Area:

Some of you have been looking for guidance concerning Citizens United and WI United to Amend as a bill recently introduced from [Wisconsin] Rep. Subeck and Sen. Hansen would create an advisory referendum to appear on the November 2020 ballot calling for a constitutional amendment to limit election spending.
LWVUS does not currently support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

The last paragraph is where it prohibits support for an amendment.

The League has received requests to support a constitutional amendment without fully specifying the content of the amendment. The League has long evaluated its advocacy work based on our positions, on the opportunity to best make a difference, and on the availability of necessary resources. The League has not yet found a proposed constitutional amendment that we can support within our positions. Because Money in Elections is a priority for the League, we will be continually re-evaluating the opportunity for legislation in this area.

LWVWI and local Leagues can not support this action for a ballot referendum.  However, we continue to advocate in other ways for better campaign financing, greater transparency and stronger rules regarding money in politics.
We also understand that many members do work on this issue outside of their League work and individuals can certainly continue to do so.
If you’re interested in further reading, this pdf document from LWVUS at this link has more on the topic:


The missing “right.” A constitutional right to vote

Looking for a history of voting rights in the United States? Check out this article from “Democracy–A Journal of Ideas.” We think you’ll be surprised. For instance, did you know that there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that guarantees your right to vote. Surprised? We were.

The authors of this article suggest that maybe it is time that it is added to the Constitution. Read what they say.

Here is another article on this subject.

Rep Ballweg joins Republicans in passing a bill that limits power of newly elected Governor and Attorney General and reduces early voting

The vote in the Wisconsin State Assembly  was approved by a 56-27 vote on Dec. 5, 2018 in what the media refers to as a lame-duck session called specifically to accomplish the items spelled out below:


  • Prohibits the Attorney General from appointing a solicitor general and additional 3 deputy solicitor generals in order to eliminate the Office of the Solicitor General which represents the state in certain cases on appeal in the state and federal courts (Sec. 2).

  • Amends current law to require a party that alleges a statute ordinance is unconstitutional to serve their findings to the Speaker of the Assembly, the President of the Senate, and the Senate Majority Leader in place of the State Attorney General (Sec. 3).

  • Authorizes the Assembly, Senate or Joint Committee on Legislative Organization to intervene and participate in any action where another party is challenging the constitutionality of a proposed statute (Sec. 3).

  • Amends current law to authorize the Joint Committee on Finance power to compromise or discontinue an action the Department of Justice is prosecuting in place of the Attorney General at the request of the Governor (Sec. 4).

  • Specifies that an individual nominated by the Governor or another state officer or agency may not hold the office or position or be nominated again for the same office or perform any duties of the office or position during the legislative session unless the individuals confirmation is confirmed by the Senate (Sec. 6).

  • Requires the Department of Administration submit any proposed changes to security at the capital regarding firearm restrictions to the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization for approval (Sec. 7).

  • Increases the size of the Group Insurance Board by 4 members and requires the new members be appointed by the speaker of the Assembly, the Assembly minority leader, the Senate majority leader, and the senate minority leader (Sec. 11).

  • Specifies that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation consists of 12 voting members as follows, including, but not limited to (Sec. 14):

    • 4 members appointed by the Governor;

    • 3 members appointed by the Senate majority leader and 3 members appointed by the speaker of the Assembly; and

    • 1 member appointed by the Senate minority leader and 1 member appointed by the speaker of the assembly.

  • Authorizes an unexpired identification card card issued by an accredited university or college in this state may be used as identification for voting purposes if it contains and the following information and requirements, including, but not limited to (Sec. 27):

    • Contains both a photograph and signature of the individual;

    • Expires no later than 2 years after the date of issuance;

    • The individual establishes that he or she is enrolled as a student at the university or college on election day.

      Information provided by Vote Smart.

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