Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

City Voters Will Get Gerrymandering Referendum

Common Council adds question on nonpartisan legislative districts to the April ballot.

By - Oct 16th, 2019 10:36 am
Assembly Districts

Assembly Districts

City voters will get to make their voice heard on non-partisan redistricting in April.

Under a proposal introduced by Alderman Cavalier Johnson, Milwaukee voters will have an additional question on an already packed Presidential primary ballot.

Under the terms of the resolution, the question will read: “Should the City of Milwaukee request that the Wisconsin Legislature pass legislation creating a non-partisan procedure for drawing legislative district maps that will result in fair political representation for all Wisconsin voters?”

The Common Council unanimously passed the resolution at its Tuesday morning meeting after holding the measure a cycle so Johnson could confer with Neil Albrecht, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Election Commission.

Johnson said Tuesday that no issues were found and that the commission could afford the cost of the referendum. Albrecht did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

The non-binding question comes in response to a Republican-led redistricting process in 2011 that resulted in a Supreme Court challenge. The federal court on a 5-4 ruling determined it could not hear cases involving a state partisan process. Republicans won 60 of the 99 Wisconsin State Assembly seats as a result of the new maps, though the total votes cast for Democrats exceeded those for Republicans.

As of the spring 2019 election, 42 county boards have voted to ban gerrymandering and eight counties have passed referendums in opposition to the process. The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors voted 16-2 to request non-partisan redistricting in 2017.

Wisconsin districts are scheduled to be redrawn following the 2020 US Census.

Milwaukee voters heading to the polls on April 7th will find a host of races on their ballot, including a Presidential partisan primary, and races for state Supreme Court justice, six Milwaukee County Circuit Court seats, Milwaukee County Executive, county and city comptroller, county supervisor, Common Council, Mayor, City Treasurer and City Attorney. Many of those races are expected to be contested.

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Related Legislation: File 190826

Categories: City Hall, Politics

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