There are dozens of state and local elections in 2023 that will significantly affect whether and how (if at all) LCI goals such as abortion rights will prevail. One example is the Wisconsin Supreme Court elections (primary in February, general election in April) that determined whether the Court– which will rule on issues like abortion rights as well as preside over 2024 election litigation that is certain to be fraught in this very swingy state -- remained very conservative or flipped progressive. The progressive candidate, Janet Protasiewicz, had an established record of supporting the values LCI promotes. Her opposition, Dan Kelly, is a right wing Christian who campaigned on his commitment to bringing his conservative religious values to the Supreme Court. LCI developed postcarding opportunities for our Newsletter subscribers to get Wisconsin voters out for the crucial April election. Our members sent 1000 postcards to registered voters in Wisconsin urging them to vote. Judge Protasiewicz won a smashing victory, beating her opponent by 200,000 votes.
In the coming months – as the country gears up for the 2024 presidential election -- LCI anticipates expanding GOTV opportunities. Our first effort began In April, when LCI teamed with the dynamic Northeast Arizona Native Democrats (NEAZ) to support Native American voters. Arizona is a hotly contested state – the Biden ticket edged Trump/Pence by just over 10,000 votes in 2020 and some of Trump's state-level ticket mates such as Kari Lake still haven't conceded. So turning out Democrats is crucial. That's where NEAZ comes in. In 2020 NEAZ volunteers sent over 18,000 postcards to voters on the Navajo, Hopi and White Mountain Apache Nations – EVERY voter on the Permanent Early Voting List -- explaining to them how to make sure their vote counted. Their work paid off. There was a 300% increase in mail in ballots in 2020 over 2016.
Efforts to support Native Americans voting are needed because Arizona has always been hostile to Native Americans voting - denying them the vote until the late 1940s, requiring English literacy tests until 1970 and, still today, a ban on ballot collection assistance (upheld by SCOTUS in 2020). Voting is particularly arduous for Native Americans living on reservations in Arizona. Registration and voting services are usually available only at the county seat – 220 miles from one Navajo community in Apache County. The Navajo reservation's 27,425 square miles are covered by just 24 post offices and 15 postal service providers. Most residents don't have a mailing address, which severely complicates voter registration, and post offices are far away – 50 miles on average on the Navajo Reservation. Native Americans are defying these odds and are becoming a powerful force in the state. Voters on the Hopi and Navajo reservations in northeastern Arizona alone cast nearly 60,000 ballots in 2020 when Biden's margin was 10,457.
In June, LCI's focus expanded to a special election in Ohio. That's because Ohio MAGA Republicans want to cut off a popular vote challenge to repressive abortion laws before it even happens. Abortion used to be a winning issue for Republicans, but it's now toxic for them thanks to the Supreme Court/Dobbs. A growing majority of Americans support access to abortion, even in red states. Just recently, voters in Wisconsin voted for the pro-choice candidate for the state supreme court overwhelmingly (see above). Pro-choice advocates in Ohio want to tap that energy through a reproductive rights referendum scheduled for this November. MAGA Republicans know they can't win that fight so they're trying an end-run: change the rules. They've scheduled a vote to raise the threshold for winning a referendum from a simple majority to 60% -- in August, the slowest time of the year. We're sending postcards to voters urging them to vote against the August referendum. Suggestion: "postcards to voters urging them to vote NO in the August referendum."Return