National Voter Registration Day: Get Ready to Make Your Voice Heard

white sign with a picture of an American flag and the words "vote here."Today has National Voter Registration Day—a good time to remind everyone register to vote so that all eligible voters can make their voices heard on Election Day (which, by the way, is Tuesday, November 8). While Wisconsin allows same-day voter registration, save yourself the time and the hassle of doing it all on Election Day and register now.

You can register to vote online at MyVote up to 20 days before Election Day (para MiVoto en español, haga clic aquí), by mail up to 20 days before Election Day. This year, that means the deadline for online or mail registration is October 19, 2022.

You can also register in person at your municipal clerk’s office until the Friday before Election Day, and you can register at your polling place on Election Day.

I’ll explain how to register online at MyVote, but first let me explain who is eligible to register to vote in Wisconsin.

Eligibility to Vote
You are eligible to vote in Wisconsin if:
* you are a United States citizen, and
* you are 18 years old by or on Election Day, and
* you have lived for at least 28 consecutive days before Election Day in the election district or ward in which you want to vote, and
* you are not in prison on a felony conviction or on parole, probation, or extended supervision at the time of the election (also called “on paper).

If you are a student at one of Wisconsin’s colleges or universities and are originally from another state, you can still vote in Wisconsin (but you cannot, of course, vote in both your home state and Wisconsin). And if you’re a Wisconsin resident but at a Wisconsin college or university away from your hometown, you can vote where your college or university is.

Getting Ready to Register Online
Once you have determined you are eligible to vote in Wisconsin, you will need to register. If you have moved since the last time you voted, you will want to make sure you update your registration.

You can register online at MyVote if: (1) you are already 18 years old; (2) you have an unexpired Wisconsin driver’s license or Wisconsin state identification card; and (3) your name, address, and date of birth on file at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) match the name, address, and date of birth you are using to register to vote. Let’s talk about each of these in turn.

First, to register online, you need to already be 18 years old. Those who will be 18 years old on or by Election Day can vote, but they will have to register through the hard copy paper process or in person on Election Day. (more…)

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Problem-Solving Courts Can Produce Better Outcomes for Participants, But Do White Defendants Benefit More Than Black?

The emergence of drug-treatment courts and other specialized “problem-solving courts” (PSCs) has been among the most important developments in American criminal justice over the past three decades. Founded in 1989, Miami’s drug-treatment court is often credited as the nation’s first PSC. The court was developed out of a sense of frustration that conventional criminal-justice responses to drug crime failed to address underlying addiction problems, resulting in a seemingly never-ending cycle of arrest, incarceration, return to use, and rearrest for many individuals. Treatment might be offered, or even required, within the conventional system, but the results were often disappointing. However, the drug-treatment court aimed to provide treatment within a different framework. The judge kept close tabs on the defendant’s progress, working with a team of court personnel and treatment providers to ensure adequate support for the defendant’s rehabilitation and appropriate accountability for backsliding.

The drug-treatment court concept spread rapidly. Hundreds of such courts were created by the late 1990’s, and thousands exist today. Moreover, the drug-treatment court model—specialized caseload handled by an interdisciplinary team, provision of social services to address underlying causes of criminal behavior, close judicial supervision, and use of carrots and sticks to keep defendants progressing through treatment—has been adapted to handle a wide range of other offender groups. The PSCs now in operation in many jurisdictions include mental health courts, homelessness courts, DUI courts, prisoner reentry courts, and veterans courts.

(more…)

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School districts that use pandemic funds wisely may see payoff

This appeared as a column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on July 25, 2021.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. It won’t really accomplish anything.

Both opinions are widely held as schools across the country plan for what to do with a huge wave of federal funding intended to boost both students and schools as a result of the pandemic.

“This is an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children,” Keith Posley, superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, said during a Marquette Law School program posted online July 21 on how the money will be used. Posley added, “Our children deserve these funds and even more to make sure they are able to truly get the quality education that they deserve and live that American dream.”

But you need look no farther than the state Capitol in Madison to find opposite views. In late May, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “The amount of federal money that is going to school districts is overwhelming. It’s really kind of obscene in many ways.” The new state budget kept a tight limit on school spending across Wisconsin largely because of Republican opinions of the federal aid. (more…)

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Commitment to working on improving police accountability is strong at Law School conference

There was unanimous concern about the overall issue. There was unanimous willingness to work together. There was open and substantial conversation. But it will take time to see what will actually happen when it comes to progress on how to police communities and how to achieve good  accountability when things related to police go bad.

That summarizes a two-hour conference on policing and accountability hosted by the Marquette Law School and the Marquette Forum, a university-wide set of efforts to address major issues. Participants included major figures involved in controversies over the subject and in the aftermath of several police shootings of black men. The conference was posted on the Law School’s web site on March 10, 2021.

“Ideologically, we want to live in a city where we all feel safe, where we feel heard, where we feel protected,” said Amanda Avalos, a new member of Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission. “And people’s ideas of how we get there are different.” (more…)

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Northwestern Mutual Exec Describes Efforts to Improve Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs

Black people who have the potential to be successful entrepreneurs and business leaders have rarely reached that potential, given the impact of systemic racism, including the fact that few are in positions where they can take part in the networking that leads to so many opportunities.

Abim Kolawole thinks change can occur and steps being taken now will have positive impact. And he is in a major position to help that become so.

Kolawole, a top executive of Northwestern Mutual – he was recently named vice-president of “customer experience integration and promoting journey “ and was previously vice president of digital innovation — said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on Marquette Law School’s website on February 17, 2021, that there is a greater sense of urgency around creating opportunity in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020. (more…)

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