The time for Fair Maps is now

After the 2010 census, the Republican party that controlled the governorship, the state Senate and the Assembly hired a private law firm, Michael Best and Friedrich, to redraw with precision and in secret the legislative and congressional district maps to favor the party in control at that time. Keith Gaddie, a political science professor at Oklahoma University, was hired to engineer the district maps. Wisconsin taxpayers paid the law firm $431,000 to gerrymander the districts.

A poll done by the Marquette University Law School (NPR, January 16-20, 2019) found: 72% of voters say they prefer redistricting of legislative and congressional districts to be done by a nonpartisan commission.

Overwhelmingly, members of the Wisconsin Counties Association voted to support a nonpartisan commission to redraw the district maps after the 2020 census. Fifty-six of the 66 county representatives voted to support this nonpartisan commission.

At this time, 55 counties have passed a resolution by the county boards and/or a referendum to have the district maps redrawn by a nonpartisan commission using the Iowa Model that has been used for over 35 years in Iowa. The Iowa Model leads to more competitive districts.

In a representative republic, sometimes referred to as a representative democracy, laws are made by representatives chosen by the people and must comply with a constitution that specifically protects the minority from the will of the majority.

For the past 10 years, Wisconsinites have been hurt by the policies of the majority party: having to vote in 2020 during a pandemic with many polling places closed; restrictive voter laws have been passed that make it more difficult for people from all walks of life to vote; tax cuts that benefit the wealthy; refusing to accept the Medicaid money that we have paid for through our taxes.

Most recently, the Senate majority passed a resolution to repeal the mask mandate put in place by Governor Evers. Twenty four organizations in the health care field oppose this resolution.

Here is some of the criteria that must be used in the redistricting process:

  • Districts must be competitive.
  • Districts must be aligned with community interests in mind.
  • Districts must follow municipal and county boundaries as much as possible.
  • No “packing” and “cracking” the districts where like-minded voters are packed into very tight districts while other voters are diluted resulting in “wasted” votes.
  • Voting records must not be used to determine the districts.

It is time Wisconsin voters determine who represent them, not the politicians in gerrymandered districts. It’s about transparency! It’s about lessening partisanship. It’s about Wisconsinites having an equal voice in the election process. My vote should count just as much as another person’s vote. It’s about competition instead of having “safe” seats where the elected officials don’t have to listen to people in their districts.