Wisconsin Voters Know What’s Fair – and What’s Not
Extreme gerrymandering hurts all of us.
Maps drawn for the benefit of one party undermine democracy. Unfair maps mean that some voters’ votes don’t count. They mean that the most extreme candidates in both parties get elected in primaries. They mean that legislators in “safe” districts don’t have to compromise to make progress on our most pressing problems.
Both parties rig maps. In some states, such as Maryland, Democrats rigged the maps in their favor. In Wisconsin, Republicans did.
What Gerrymandering Is
Much has been published and aired recently about gerrymandering because the problem is so much worse. This is because software and data used to draw maps have become very sophisticated. Here are a few of our favorite explanations:
How to Fix Gerrymandering
Regardless how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in the Wisconsin redistricting case, Gill v. Whitford, we believe Wisconsin should adopt a nonpartisan process for drawing legislative maps. Iowa has had such a process since 1980. California and Arizona have also adopted nonpartisan redistricting.
Wisconsin Assembly Bill 44 and Senate Bill 13 propose creating a nonpartisan process for redistricting, but the state’s legislative leaders have not yet permitted hearings on the bills. Click here to take action to support this legislation.
Learn more about on how states draw their legislative districts.
Who is Trying to Fix Gerrymandering
Several Wisconsin organizations have formed The Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition and are working together towards redistricting reform. Check these websites for upcoming events, petitions, and more information:
- The Fair Elections Project, www.fairelectionsproject.org
- The League of Women Voters, (find your local League here)
- Grassroots Northshore, grassrootsnorthshore.com/slay_the_gerrymander
- Common Cause in Wisconsin, www.commoncausewisconsin.org
- Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, www.wisdc.org
- Citizen Action of Wisconsin, www.citizenactionwi.org
- ACLU of Wisconsin, aclu-wi.org
Why We Can’t Rely on the Courts to Solve the Problem
When it rules on Gill v. Whitford, the US Supreme Court may create a standard that limits the creation of districts that are extremely unbalanced. However, the ultimate responsibility for drawing the maps will still be subject to partisan politics if left to the legislature. We need the Wisconsin legislature to delegate its authority to a nonpartisan process that is open and transparent, as other state legislatures have done.