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October 22, 2020

10/16/2020 9:51:00 AM
Let the voters choose

Dear Editor,
Redistricting Reform, Anti-Gerrymandering, Fair Maps: many different names but one shared meaning: let the voters choose their elected officials rather than the other way around.
The way Wisconsin's voting districts were drawn back in 2011 was unpatriotic. Here's why: the lines were drawn using precise voter data analytics to "crack and pack" chosen voters into specific districts to ensure GOP control of the legislature for years to follow. This was done in secret by GOP legislative aides, a consultant, and attorneys at a law office in the shadow of the state Capitol. As planned, that act of gerrymandering rigged the state Legislature for the GOP. It ensures GOP incumbents never lose. Heck, they don't even have to campaign or appear for debates in the rare occurrence they have an opponent. GOP incumbents in the state Assembly vote in lockstep with the party, as instructed by Speaker Vos. The current Assembly representative for my district, Todd Novak, doesn't need to listen to his constituents; he merely has to follow the orders from the speaker in order to remain in his seat. This doesn't sound like representative government to me. I am truly not represented by either my state Representative or state Senator. And neither are you. We are represented in the Wisconsin State Legislature by Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald. Gerrymandering caused this and this is why we need redistricting reform.
This is not a partisan issue. Most citizens prefer fair elections based on fair maps. In January of 2019, a Marquette University Law School poll found that 72% of Wisconsinites support ending partisan gerrymandering and adopting a nonpartisan redistricting process following the example of the state of Iowa. The poll also reveals the fact that 63 %o f all Republicans support fair maps. Ending gerrymandering is a nonpartisan issue supported by the majority of Wisconsinites.
Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) is a co-sponsor of Assembly Bill 303, the good-government bill to end gerrymandering in Wisconsin. The bill died when the Legislature cancelled their session when the pandemic hit way back in spring - and never rescheduled their 2019-2020 calendar. In ordinary times, the body rarely meets in even-numbered years to free them up to campaign, but this campaign year is undeniably extraordinary and the citizens in our state are looking for leadership as a pandemic is raging and new COVID-19 cases break daily records in Wisconsin. Other state legislatures have met to pass bills related to pandemic relief, as well as criminal justice reform; and our legislature can call a session at any time to deal with critical issues immediately. Our governor can, too, and Gov. Evers did. He called a special session for police reform following George Floyd's death, but the GOP-controlled Legislature gaveled in and immediately went into recess to avoid the session altogether. Fair maps may seem a tame issue in comparison to the murder of Floyd by a policeman, but if you want to end this type of behavior - this dereliction of duty - then please vote YES on the referendum on the Iowa County ballot this fall. We need to send a message to our elected officials that we demand fair elections.
As we near the election, please visit the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition website (fairmapswi.com) to see which candidates have signed the Fair Maps pledge to show their support for legislation to create a nonpartisan independent process to draw legislative district maps. Last time I checked, Todd Novak had not signed the pledge. Why doesn't Todd sign the pledge? He co-sponsored AB 303. Todd, be a patriot, sign the pledge. Better yet, do your job and pass AB 303 into law.
Claudia Looze
Highland, Wisconsin





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