2020 Election Recap and Advocacy for the Arts

A reported 72.3% of registered voters in Wisconsin cast a ballot in this election. (Dividing the number of votes cast in Wisconsin — 3,278,963 as of Nov. 5 — by the voting-age population in Wisconsin – 4,536,293 as of 2019, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.)  Nearly 2 million voters cast absentee ballots through the mail or at early-voting locations.  We hope that you were a voter in this important election!

Here’s a breakdown of the 2020 General Election results

Federal Level:

  • The State of Wisconsin has eight seats in the US House of Representatives. All seven incumbents won their races and will serve another two-year term.    Former State Sen. Scott Fitzgerald won the race for the open 5th Congressional District after Rep. James Sensenbrenner retired.

State Level:

Wisconsin State Legislative Races:

Republicans gained two seats in the State Senate and Democrats gained two seats in the State Assembly.

  • The 16 even-numbered districts out of 33 seats in the Wisconsin State Senate were up for election.  There will be eight new Senators when the 2021-22 Legislative Session convenes in January, with a 21-12 Republican majority.  Seven newcomers will be filling vacant seats, while one newcomer defeated a sitting incumbent.  Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Sheboygan) is the new Senate Majority Leader.  Click here for more info (thanks to WASB for the info.)
  • All 99 seats in the Wisconsin State Legislature were up for election. Republicans continue to have the majority with 61 seats; Democrats have 38Click here for more info from WisPolitics.com.
Advocacy for the Arts

  • Cultural Organizations Grants announced:  On November 5, Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Administration announced $15 million for the Cultural Organization Grants, made possible with CARES Act funding as an investment in economic stabilization for Wisconsin arts organizations hard hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemicIf your organization was one of the 385 organizations that received a grant, congratulations!  If  you haven’t done so already, please make sure you send your thanks to Gov. Evers and his administration.   Use Arts Wisconsin’s Legislative Action Center to send a customized message.
  • Here’s a customizable template message from the Performing Arts Alliance as an introduction to your re-elected or newly elected federal officials. 

    Policy leaders in the current Congress are showing renewed energy to make decisions about COVID-19 relief in the remaining weeks of this legislative year. Advocates have one last chance in the coming weeks to advocate collectively to influence the fine print of the next round of sorely needed COVID relief, including:

    A second round of Paycheck Protection Program funding, expanded nonprofit tax credits, pandemic unemployment benefits, 

    and other forms of relief for the arts, public education, states, and communities are all on the table. In addition to deciding the
    scope and eligibility of relief, legislators are also hoping to pass funding bills for the 2021 fiscal year, which could become a
    vehicle by which COVID relief gets passed before the year is out.

    Cultivating and maintaining bipartisan support for issues that affect the arts and their communities remains critical at every level.  For policy leaders returning in January or assuming office for the first time, the first several weeks following the elections are prime time to begin setting their priorities.

    Watch for a similar alert targeted to members of the Wisconsin State Legislature in the near future.  These right-out-of-the-gate conversations are great opportunities for everyone to listen for a better understanding of what is needed in your community.