• wisconsin voting

Politicians have always been reluctant to give up their power to draw their own district lines. And we know how that power was abused in 2011, which has resulted in a legislature with rigged district lines that is more concerned about pushing the agenda of special interest groups rather than doing what’s best for the voters in Wisconsin.

But there is hope. First, there is the lawsuit that has made its way all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Gill v Whitford. That case could decide that our current maps are unconstitutional, and force the legislature to redraw the maps that were so egregiously drawn to favor one party in 2011.

While winning this case would be a game changer, the legislature would still be the ones in charge of drawing their own district lines – a blatant conflict of interest. In order to solve the issue of partisan gerrymandering, we must push the legislature to form an independent, transparent commission to draw our district lines.

That’s where you come in. There is a bill languishing in the legislature that would change all that. It is Assembly Bill 44 and Senate Bill 13 (they are identical but with different numbers in each house). The respective committee chairs in the Assembly, Kathy Bernier, and the Senate, Devin Lemahieu, have ignored these bills and refused to even hold one public hearing.

We find that irresponsible at best and reprehensible at worst. All we ask is that the state legislature hold a proper hearing this year and hear what the citizens of Wisconsin think about nonpartisan redistricting reform. You can help make that happen.

Call your legislators.

You can expect that you will be asked if you live in the district of the legislator you are calling. The suggested response should be that this legislation affects us all and as chairperson of this important committee they represent everyone in our state on this matter.

We have heard Rep. Bernier and Sen. Lemahieu utter the excuse that they won’t do anything until they know what the SCOTUS decision is. To this, you should respond that the court case is related to the current maps only while the legislation is about how we draw future maps.

The two situations are related but separate. And if they truly care about the case before SCOTUS then they should want to have a proper independent and transparent system in place to draw new maps. Thus, you can make your demand again and make it even stronger.

Thanks for taking action!