The League of Women Voters of Ozaukee County co-sponsored “People Powered Election Maps: A Forum for Wisconsin Voters” at Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon, on Tuesday, October 1st from 6:15 – 7:45 p.m. Seventy-eight persons attended the forum and had a chance to ask questions following the presentation. The forum was also co-sponsored by Concordia University Wisconsin and Bridge the Divide of Cedarburg. The presenters were Mr. Dale Schultz, co-director of the Fair Elections Project – Wisconsin and Mr. Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause – Wisconsin. Mr. Schultz is a Republican and a former Wisconsin State Assemblyman and Senator. Mr. Heck filled in for an originally scheduled presenter, Mr. Tim Cullen of the Fair Elections Project – Wisconsin. Mr. Cullen is a Democrat and a former Wisconsin State Senator.
The League of Women Voters – U.S. has long held a position on the topics of redistricting and apportionment in governmental legislative bodies.
The topic is especially timely because every 10 years, the U.S. census updates the national population count for the purpose of apportioning the number of state seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and also apportioning federal funds to states, counties, and communities. The results of the 2020 census for Wisconsin will prompt review and redrawing of election maps (redistricting), as in every other state.
This forum was an educational opportunity for Wisconsin voters to learn about the process for redrawing state election maps every 10 years. The presenters acknowledged that both political parties have engaged in partisan gerrymandering when redrawing election maps. The current redistricting process can be especially partisan because of the use of election analytics and precision computer models to draw the maps. The often-cited non-partisan Iowa model for redistricting was discussed as an alternative to the current process in Wisconsin. Forum attendees were encouraged to engage in the political process by speaking up, meeting with legislative representatives, thanking legislators who support their views, and paying attention to related elections such as the 2020 State Supreme Court judge race.
Senate Bill 288 and Assembly Bill 303 were introduced in Wisconsin in 2019 with bipartisan support to address the issue of partisan gerrymandering. Voters were encouraged to express support for these bills at the local and state levels.