Spring 2020 Voter Guide

Pre-election Checklist

Delay the election

Pushing the election back will give us valuable time to ramp up vote-by-mail. If you’re in Madison, let Mayor Rhodes-Conway know that she should be urging Governor Evers to delay the election by calling the mayor’s office at (608) 266-4611. You can make this suggestion directly to the Governor’s office through an online form. Then take a moment and click the link to sign the petition to postpone the election.

Absentee Voting

Request your absentee ballot today on My Vote WI! Wisconsin allows no-excuse absentee voting, which means you can request an absentee ballot for any reason whatsoever — as long as the request is made before the deadline of 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 2.

Many of our poll workers and election officials are elderly and have resigned their positions rather than risk their lives for an election that should be delayed. We’re facing an unprecedented shortage of election workers, meaning Election Day is going to be fraught with difficulties. By requesting an absentee ballot as soon as possible, you’ll be able to make your vote count while maintaining social distancing as well as protecting vulnerable election officials.

Dane County residents will not need a voter ID to request a ballot for the April election. On March 26, the Dane County Clerk declared all residents to be indefinitely confined due to COVID-19. When requesting your ballot, check off the box that says, “I certify that I am indefinitely confined due to age, illness, infirmity or disability and request ballots be sent to me for every election until I am no longer confined or fail to return a ballot,” and you can bypass the requirement to upload a photo of your voter ID. It is recommended that you only take advantage of this if you lack a voter ID.

For more information on absentee voting, Madison residents can refer to the Madison City Clerk’s website. Wisconsin residents outside of Madison can read more from the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

What’s On The Ballot?

Here is a quick preview of the elections we cover in this guide:

Democratic Presidential Primary

The Democratic Socialists of America, by vote of national membership, endorsed Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. Lets turn out and show that Wisconsin is still a Bernie state!

Wisconsin Supreme Court

Dan Kelly is a Walker-appointed judge who has been ruinous to Wisconsin in too many ways to recount in this guide. We urge you not to vote for him.

Constitutional Amendment Referendum

The ballot includes a proposed constitutional amendment called Marsy’s Law. MADSA has not voted to endorse a position on Marsy’s Law, but the Electoral Politics Working Group believes a NO vote on this referendum would prevent further erosion of due process.

The ballot question reads as follows:

QUESTION 1: “Additional rights of crime victims. Shall section 9m of article I of the constitution, which gives certain rights to crime victims, be amended to give crime victims additional rights, to require that the rights of crime victims be protected with equal force to the protections afforded the accused while leaving the federal constitutional rights of the accused intact, and to allow crime victims to enforce their rights in court?”

The language of this ballot feeds off our desire to stand up for victims. It’s actually a deceptively-worded initiative that is part of a nation-wide effort funded by corporate interests. In states where Marsy’s Law has been enacted, those accused of crimes have been stripped of due process and a proper defense. Police officers and large corporations claimed victim status to receive special rights in criminal proceedings.

If you wish to learn more, read these articles from Tone Madison and the Wisconsin Examiner.

Dane County Board of Supervisors

Madison Area DSA Endorses José Rea and Heidi Wegleitner for County Board

José Rea for Dane County Board of Supervisors District 5

Rea demonstrated commitment to the promise that no person should have to fear eviction or homelessness ever again. Ted Glomski, MADSA co-chair and EPWG member, puts it clearly, “José Rea brings the vision and experience Dane County needs right now.” Their platform states their commitment to “fight like hell” on behalf of the Dane County immigrant community, mobilize against climate change, and support LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion.

Heidi Wegleitner for Dane County Board of Supervisors District 2

Wegleitner has been a steadfast supporter of labor and tenant rights. She has authored legislation to recognize housing as a human right, pursued fare-free transit, and developed a climate action plan, amongst other positions in alignment with MADSA’s platform. Glomski adds, “Wegleitner’s career as an attorney and positions taken while in office — standing for the interests of low income tenants — show her belief in the socialistic value that housing is a human right.” Heidi is an incumbent running for a fifth term.


Don’t support incumbents who voted for the jail!

In 2019, the Dane County Board of Supervisors voted to spend $225 million on a new jail facility. This will be the largest capital investment in county history. Wisconsin incarcerates black people at the highest rate in the nation, one of many reasons why Dane County should be closing jails, not building new ones.

Every seat on the Dane County Board of Supervisors is up for re-election. The following Dane County Board members voted for the jail and are now running for re-election. We urge you NOT to vote for them. Though many are running unopposed, the community needs to send a message that their efforts to incarcerate more people in our community will not be excused!

DistrictSupervisorDistrictSupervisor
3Analiese Eicher22Maureen McCarville
7Matt Veldran25Tim Kiefer
8Carousel Bayrd27Dorothy Krause
10Jeremy Levin29Dave Ripp
12Paul Rusk30Patrick Downing
13Chuck Erickson31Jerry Bollig
15Steven Peters34Patrick Miles
18Michele Ritt35Carl Chenoweth
20Julie Schwellenbach36Melissa Ratcliff
21Andrew Schauer
INCUMBENT SUPERVISORS WHO VOTED IN FAVOR OF THE JAIL EXPANSION PROJECT

Madison Metropolitan School District Board

Three of the seven MMSD School Board seats are up for election. Two are contested. As a quick refresher, while each seat on the MMSD board is “numbered,” they are all at-large representatives for the entire school district. If you are a registered voter in the Madison Metropolitan School District, you can vote in all three of these elections.

Seat 2

Savion Castro is running unopposed for seat 2 in a special election. Castro has been on the school board since his appointment in summer 2019.

Seat 6

Christina Gomez Schmidt and Maia Pearson are running for MMSD board seat 6. Neither candidate replied to MADSA’s request for an interview, and so we can only provide information based on reports from other organizations. On the crucial issue of School Resource Officers — police in schools — Gomez Schmidt has stated that she intends to vote in favor of continuing the existing contract, keeping Madison Police Department officers in schools. Pearson has been equivocal about the issue, stating that she is “unsure of how she’d vote.” Pearson has been endorsed by Ananda Mirilli (herself endorsed by MADSA in 2019) as well as Madison Teachers Inc., the union for MMSD teachers.

Seat 7

Wayne Strong and Nicki Vander Meulen are contesting the election for MMSD board seat 7. Neither candidate replied to MADSA’s request for an interview. Vander Muelen was endorsed by Madison Teachers Inc. and notably voted against the continuation of the School Resource Officers contract. She was a vocal supporter of the cost-of-living salary increase for MMSD teachers in 2019. Wayne Strong, a former lieutenant of the Madison Police Department is a strong proponent of continuing the School Resource Officers program, of which he was once a member. Strong has been endorsed by Ananda Mirilli, who voted against the continuation of the SRO program last year.

Madison City Common Council

Madison Area DSA endorses Max Prestigiacomo for Madison Common Council District 8:

Max Prestigiacomo is a leader in the movement to curtail the climate crisis. As a member of the Common Council, Prestigiacomo will continue to fight for the urgent climate action Madison needs to take. Prestigiacomo also plans to address youth disenfranchisement as a major focus of his campaign.

Prestigiacomo is a supporter of housing reforms that would help bring housing justice for Madison, and an ardent supporter of uplifting marginalized communities.

Stoughton City Council

Madison Area DSA endorses Ben Heili for Stoughton City Council District 4:

Ben Heili has an established track record in office as a climate justice candidate. With a deep understanding of the intersectionality of climate policy, Heili showed the MADSA membership his commitment to the values we hold and proved worthy of our endorsement.

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