Matt Rothschild

Proposal Would Ban Gerrymandering

Fair Maps Constitutional Amendment would amend state constitution, require non-partisan redistricting.

By , Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Jan 13th, 2020 10:46 am
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How to Steal an election. Image by Steven Nass (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

How to Steal an election. Image by Steven Nass (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

On Jan. 7, Wisconsin Representative Dianne Hesselbein introduced legislation for a Fair Maps Constitutional Amendment to once and for all ban gerrymandering in our state.

“If the people of Wisconsin pass this constitutional amendment, no political party will unfairly rig district maps in their favor ever again,” said Hesselbein.

Also sponsoring the Assembly bill are Representatives Jodi Emerson and Mark Spreitzer, and taking the lead in the Senate is Sen. Jeff Smith.

All four legislators are Democrats.

“Non-partisan redistricting is vital to our democracy,” said Emerson, adding that it is necessary “so that it could not be repealed after a shift in legislative control.”

The sponsors stress that they are supportive of the bills that are already pending in the legislature to ban gerrymandering, SB 288 and AB 303. In fact, the constitutional amendment proposal is modeled after those bills, but seeks to make the change more permanent via the constitutional amendment route.

Said Sen. Smith: “We need this constitutional guarantee for non-partisan redistricting to be in place for future redistricting efforts and the generations of voters to come.”

The amendment would essentially give Wisconsin the so-called “Iowa Model” for independent, nonpartisan redistricting.

The maps would be drawn by career civil servants at the Legislative Reference Bureau Bureau, who would have to abide by specific criteria for drawing the maps – criteria that would forbid them from using political demographic data to help one party or another.

The official numbers on the proposal for the constitutional amendment is LRB-5162 are LRB-3707.

For any constitutional amendment to pass, the legislation must be approved in two successive sessions of the Legislature, and then ratified by referendum.

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