Majority Now Backs Fair Redistricting
37 counties, two-thirds of state’s population, have passed “Fair Maps” resolution.
Last week the WI Fair Maps Coalition announced that 37 Wisconsin counties have now passed a “Fair Maps Resolution” calling on the legislature to reform the legislative district map-drawing process and put an independent, nonpartisan commission in charge of this.
Those counties represent about two-thirds of the state’s population, the group noted, and more than 70 percent of these counties voted for the Republican candidate for President in 2016. The list of counties passing the resolution span the state: from Douglas and Bayfield counties in the far north to Walworth and Kenosha counties in southeast; from Marinette and Door counties along Lake Michigan, to La Crosse and Vernon counties along the Mississippi River.
Research has shown that Wisconsin is one of the most gerrymandered states in modern history. As currently drawn, the district maps enable Republicans to win a majority of Assembly seats if they get only 45 percent of the statewide vote, as Data Wonk columnist Bruce Thompson has computed.
In the meantime a coalition of about a dozen good government groups, including the League of Women Voters, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and Common Cause, have formed the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition, to advocate passage of a resolution demanding that the state adopt a system like Iowa’s, where maps are drawn not by legislators of either party, but by a non-partisan group. For at least two years, this effort has steadily added more counties that have passed the Fair Maps resolution.
“All across Wisconsin, people are demanding the fair drawing of political districts,” declares Renee Gasch of the Citizen Action Northeast Wisconsin Organizing Cooperative. “They are sick and tired of elected officials rigging the system so they can stay in power.”
A poll by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling done last October found a large majority of voters supported non-partisan redistricting. The poll asked: “Do you think the drawing of legislative and congressional district lines should be decided by the legislature and Governor or by an independent non-partisan commission?” Just 16 percent of respondents favored lines being drawn by the governor and legislators, and 63 percent favored it being done by a a non-partisan commission.
The coalition is backing SB 13/AB 44, the bills currently introduced in the legislature to enact nonpartisan redistricting, which call for the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau to work with a bipartisan Redistricting Advisory Commission to create district maps that avoid gerrymandering that would benefit either party.
“No matter how the U.S. Supreme Court rules, it’s up to our elected officials to honor the wishes of the citizens of Wisconsin, and that means adopting a process of nonpartisan map-drawing like they have in Iowa,” says Beverly Speer, Outreach and Advocacy Director for the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
The coalition is also urging the relevant committee chairs, state Sen. Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) and Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie), to hold a public hearing and vote on the bill before the current legislative session ends this spring.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed her
More about the Gerrymandering of Legislative Districts
- The State of Politics: Will U.S. Supremes Rule on State Districts? - Steven Walters - Feb 19th, 2018
- Back in the News: Majority Now Backs Fair Redistricting - Bruce Murphy - Feb 5th, 2018
- Data Wonk: John Roberts’ Nightmare - Bruce Thompson - Oct 11th, 2017
- The State of Politics: You Be The Judge on Redistricting - Steven Walters - Oct 2nd, 2017
- Op Ed: U.S. Supreme Court Should End Partisan Gerrymandering - Andrea Kaminski - Sep 26th, 2017
- Data Wonk: Judges Consider a Democratic Gerrymander - Bruce Thompson - Aug 30th, 2017
- Op Ed: 24 Counties Have Voted for Fair Maps - Matt Rothschild - Aug 25th, 2017
- Data Wonk: Right Wing Seeks to End Democracy? - Bruce Thompson - Aug 23rd, 2017
- Data Wonk: US Supreme Court Wrong on Redistricting? - Bruce Thompson - May 31st, 2017
- Op Ed: Save Taxes With Nonpartisan Redistricting - Andrea Kaminski and Lindsay Dorff - May 26th, 2017
- Data Wonk: Why GOP Backs Gerrymander - Bruce Thompson - May 24th, 2017
- Data Wonk: State’s Political Map At Issue - Bruce Thompson - May 18th, 2017
- Rep. Peter Barca Statement on Attorney General Appeal of Redistricting Decision - State Rep. Peter Barca - Feb 24th, 2017
- Fair Elections Project calls upon Legislature to focus on fair map drawing process - Wisconsin Fair Elections Project - Feb 24th, 2017
- Campaign Cash: GOP’s Redistricting Lawyers Are Big Donors - Matt Rothschild - Feb 6th, 2017
- Op Ed: Reject Partisanship, Redraw Voting Maps - Andrea Kaminski - Feb 3rd, 2017
- Rep. Peter Barca Statement on Assembly Organization Committee Secret Ballot - State Rep. Peter Barca - Feb 2nd, 2017
- Court Watch: Court’s Redistricting Order A Problem? - Bruce Thompson - Feb 1st, 2017
- Rep. Hesselbein Calls for Open, Transparent, and Public Process for Drawing New Legislative Lines - State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein - Jan 27th, 2017
- Wisconsin Federal Court Permanently Blocks State Redistricting Plan - Wisconsin Fair Elections Project - Jan 27th, 2017
- Data Wonk: 2016 Election Results Prove Gerrymandering - Bruce Thompson - Dec 28th, 2016
- Plaintiffs call for new maps for Wisconsin legislative district - Wisconsin Fair Elections Project - Dec 21st, 2016
- Data Wonk: Measuring Wisconsin’s Gerrymandering - Bruce Thompson - Dec 7th, 2016
- Sen. Taylor statement on federal court ruling against Republican gerrymandering - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Nov 21st, 2016
- Statement on Redistricting Ruling - State Sen. Chris Larson - Nov 21st, 2016
- Federal Court overturns unconstitutional gerrymandering of Wisconsin legislative districts - Wisconsin Fair Elections Project - Nov 21st, 2016
- Rep. Barca Statement on Redistricting Decision - State Rep. Peter Barca - Nov 21st, 2016
- HISTORIC DECISION: Wisconsin Federal Court Strikes Down Partisan Gerrymander and Adopts Groundbreaking Legal Standard - Campaign Legal Center - Nov 21st, 2016
- Murphy’s Law: The Myth of Democratic Gerrymandering - Bruce Murphy - Jan 26th, 2016
- Data Wonk: Can New Approach End Gerrymandering? - Bruce Thompson - Jan 6th, 2016
- Federal Lawsuit to Overturn Unconstitutional Gerrymandering of Wisconsin Legislative Districts Continues - Wisconsin Fair Elections Project - Dec 17th, 2015
- Can Auto Redistricting End Gerrymandering? - Laura Thompson - Dec 10th, 2015
- Assembly candidate Brostoff calls for non-partisan redistricting - State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff - Apr 17th, 2014
- Redistricting reform the antidote to Republican extremism - Press Release - Nov 13th, 2013
- Lazich, August, Fitzgerald and Vos Still Silent on Redistricting Reform Public Hearings As Support & Pressure Builds - Common Cause in Wisconsin - Sep 17th, 2013
- Freshmen legislators push new legislation to correct flawed partisan redistricting process - Press Release - Apr 11th, 2013