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September 25, 2020

9/10/2020 8:48:00 AM
Deciphering democracy: what are all these yard signs?
This is a series discussing fair democracy practices, and how fair practices can empower citizens.
This article talks about how the Iowa County Fair Maps Team has been showing its dedication in ensuring legislation passes fair voting practices by getting its communities involved.
By driving throughout Iowa County, many may have seen the purple colored signs that read "YES! Fair Maps Referendum" and are displayed in many Iowa County yards.
For readers who are tuning into the series for the first time, a resolution was passed at June's Iowa County Board meeting, granting permission for a county-wide advisory referendum to be placed on the November ballot. The advisory referendum reads: "Should the Wisconsin legislature create a non-partisan procedure for the preparation of legislative and congressional redistricting plans and maps."
To simplify, A voter casting YES on their ballot in November would be showing their support for a fairer way for legislation dividing the state into voting districts. This procedure would then give citizens the power in drawing the maps, and prohibit using political data.
Since 2011, Wisconsin has been referred as one of the most politically gerrymandered states in the U.S. State lawmakers represent the citizens residing in a specific area known as the legislative district.
Gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan or incumbent-protected districts.
An independent, non-partisan body to draw maps, forbidding the use of political and voting data has been offered as a solution. Results from a 2019 Marquette Law School Poll showed that over 70% of Wisconsin voters favor a nonpartisan process for drawing voting districts.
The process has been supported by Fair Maps Resolutions being passed by 54 counties to date, Iowa County being one of them.
Christine Tsubokura of the Iowa County Road Maps team announced that there are several pick up points for the yard signs in Dodgeville, Mineral Point, Ridgeway, Barneveld, Avoca, and Arena areas.
"Gerrymandering has been a practice that both Republican and Democratic leaders have benefitted from," Tsubokura said. "These signs are non-partisan so we want both people of both parties to have them."
The advisory referendum will be on the November ballot. Please stay tuned for another "Deciphering Democracy" story which will run in an upcoming issue of the Dodgeville Chronicle.

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