Mel Barnes

Mel Barnes

Mel Barnes is a staff attorney with Law Forward: a nonprofit, nonpartisan law firm focused on protecting democracy and good government in Wisconsin. She is a graduate of UW Law and previously worked for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, where she focused on litigation and state policy. Read more about Mel at and follow her on twitter @theMelBarnes and @lawfwd.

Wisconsin Supreme Court

Wisconsin’s high court shouldn’t let Vos and LeMahieu cut in line

By: and - July 9, 2021

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is once again on the receiving end of an extraordinary request from the leaders of the Wisconsin Legislature. This time, the plea is for the high court to circumvent the normal judicial process and dive headlong into a redistricting-related legal challenge. But the case isn’t about new maps: with the Census […]

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc) on stage

Can Wisconsinites recall Ron Johnson?

By: - March 10, 2021

The idea of recalling Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has been floated in recent months by constituents upset with his behavior since last November’s presidential election. However, can he be recalled is a different question than “should we?” Once fairly forgettable, Wisconsin’s senior U.S. senator has kept himself in the news lately: advancing conspiracy theories about […]

Gov. Tony Evers signs the document delivering Wisconsin's 10 Electoral College votes to Joe Biden (photo by Morry Gash, Associated Press)

The voter fraud you didn’t hear about: Wisconsin’s Electoral College imposters

By: - February 16, 2021

This year, Presidents’ Day feels weightier than usual. We weathered a long presidential campaign, and then an unprecedented post-election crusade by the losing candidate to overturn the will of the people. All of this culminated in a domestic terror attack on the U.S. Capitol at the instigation of a sitting president.  No one is above […]

Signs of two Black marchers read: Bad maps divide our votes and Vote for Voter Protections

Why can’t Wisconsin keep a mask mandate? Gerrymandering

By: - February 4, 2021

It didn’t have to be this way. Our state Legislature could be doing more to help Wisconsinites, but they aren’t. Why? Because too many legislative districts are drawn so that elected representatives don’t have to be responsive to their constituents. State government is fighting itself at every turn. The Legislature not only didn’t convene — […]