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    Wisconsin Lawyer
    October 12, 2022

    President's Message
    Upholding Democracy: What Lawyers Can Do

    Regardless of party affiliation, lawyers have an obligation to help protect democracy, especially voting and elections.

    Margaret Wrenn Hickey

    It’s election season in the United States, a chaotic and challenging time. Sometimes, especially if one watches only cable news, it is hard to feel optimistic. Are you concerned about recent attacks on our democratic institutions, such as the U.S. Supreme Court, voter rights, and court systems? As attorneys we depend on the integrity of the judicial system, and we have sworn an oath to support and uphold it. This is not a partisan issue but a key to supporting the democratic system in our local communities, state, and nation.

    Margaret Wrenn Hickey Margaret Wrenn Hickey, U.W. 1986, is president of the State Bar of Wisconsin. She is a partner in Becker, Hickey & Poster S.C., Milwaukee, focusing in family and elder law.

    What can you do in these divisive times to support our judicial system and democracy?

    First, consider becoming a poll worker. The job is not that difficult, and the work is imperative. Since the pandemic, there has been a great shortage of poll workers. Lawyers are uniquely suited to understand the rules and oversee this most important nonpartisan function in our democracy – voting. The American Bar Association, in collaboration with state secretaries of state and election directors, has initiatives to encourage law students and lawyers to become poll workers. Go to for more information. The State Bar of Wisconsin has published articles on the need for more poll workers, such as Lawyers as Poll Workers: Assisting in the ‘Lifeblood’ of Our Country (InsideTrack, Sept. 16, 2020); and Voting: A Call for More Lawyer Poll Workers (Wis. Law. Oct. 2020).

    Second, consider being trained and then serving as a nonpartisan poll watcher. I have done this for several elections. The training is provided by entities such as the ACLU and major political parties. The purpose is to make sure that people who go to polling places to vote understand that they have certain rights; to explain what is required to vote, such as proof of identity; and to see that ballots are allowed to be cast, if permitted. The right to vote is integral to our democracy. It is a constitutional right, and a responsibility, of every qualified American.

    Third, vote. It is shocking how few people vote in elections. Even some highly educated citizens, such as attorneys, do not always vote. Learn who is running and what they stand for and then exercise your right and express your opinion through your vote!

    Fourth, get involved. Your opinions matter. The State Bar has a grassroots outreach program that makes it extremely easy for members to express views to elected representatives in Wisconsin and nationally. It is simple to sign up and send email messages, and it is vital that as many people as possible communicate with their representatives. Get more information at State Bar of Wis., Government Relations,

    As attorneys we have an obligation to support democracy and our legal system. You can find the method that works best for you, but I hope that you will join me in supporting the right to vote and a smooth election process, and vote! We can ensure that our democratic and legal systems remain strong if we each do our part.

    Sign Up!

    Stay engaged to help move legislation forward. Learn about the State Bar’s Government Relations program and read the monthly e-newsletter, Rotunda Report.

    State Bar Advocacy Network:

    Rotunda Report:

    » Cite this article: 95 Wis. Law. 4 (October 2022).

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