- Campus Vote Project
“This Election Changes Everything”: Wisconsin Chose Democracy in Historic Supreme Court Race
In her five years in office, Democratic Wisconsin State Assembly leader Greta Neubauer has “seen what it is like to govern in a state that is not a functioning democracy.” The swing state has been dominated for more than a decade by Republicans, thanks to some of the most partisan gerrymanders in the country and a friendly conservative state Supreme Court. “The voices of Wisconsinites,” Neubauer told me, have been “silenced.”
But those voices spoke loudly Tuesday, as voters overwhelmingly elected Milwaukee judge Janet Protasiewicz—a liberal who openly favors protecting abortion and democracy—to the Wisconsin Supreme Court over former justice Dan Kelly, a MAGA conservative who tried to cast doubt in the 2020 election results and had a role in the “fake elector” scheme Donald Trump hoped would help him overturn his loss to Joe Biden. In doing so, Wisconsin voters shifted the court’s majority to its liberals 4-3—and potentially put the state on track to restoring abortion access, ensuring fairer maps, and safeguarding next year’s election from antidemocratic attacks.
It’s a significant win for Democrats and pro-democracy Wisconsinites. But it’s also one that was tempered by a state Senate race that handed Republicans a supermajority—on the back of a Republican who has opened the door to impeaching Protasiewicz. “These attacks on democracy are not going to stop today,” Neubauer told me. But “winning in Wisconsin is essential to demonstrating we’re going to put up a good fight.”