|8/3/2021 3:22:00 PM|
Fair Maps in 2021 will restore Wisconsin Democracy
When most Wisconsin voters elect legislators from a political party, shouldn't that party lead the Senate or Assembly?
In states like ours where legislators draw their own political boundaries after each census, majority parties naturally try to skew maps in their favor. By 2011 computer modeling was precise enough to consider even individual city blocks and addresses. Wisconsin's then-majority party privately hired a legal team and surgically designed maps behind closed doors, pinpointing Wisconsin voters in unprecedented detail. They imposed those maps on us voters, dividing our communities for a decade and stagnating progress in health care, transportation, schools, safety, clean water and other natural resources. Vacuum packing their opposition voters into 30 tailored districts has leaned most other districts toward the mapmakers.
For example, the party which 46 percent of Wisconsin voters chose in 2018 for the State Assembly took 64 percent of the chamber. The "minority" received 190,000 more votes statewide but occupied only 36 of the 99 Assembly seats.
That imbalance is no fluke. In 2012 the party which won 46 percent of our presidential vote got 60 percent of Assembly seats. In 2014 their statewide candidate for governor won with 52 percent while they took a disproportional 63 percent of the Assembly. In 2016 the presidential candidate squeaked to a win with 50.4 percent but they took 64 percent of the Assembly.
These non-competitive political races belittle your vote. This goes for both major parties. Neither side's representatives need to answer to their constituents.
There is a better way: In Iowa, a bipartisanly appointed, nonpartisan staff has updated legislative boundaries after each national census since 1980. It works; thus far Iowa's Supreme Court has not had to intervene. Races are competitive. Voters' changing minds matter.
As the Iowa County Board determined in its April 2019 resolution, now is the time to remind our Legislature loudly and firmly: in a democracy, we citizens govern. We demand - this time - fair maps.
Mt. Horeb, WI
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