This letter to the editor was published in the Ozaukee Press, January 4, 2021.
By Louise Mollinger, LWVOZ member
We may be tired of politics right now, but this is no time to tune out. 2021 is an opportunity for Wisconsin to create a nonpartisan transparent method for redrawing voting district maps – or -- it can become another year of partisan gerrymandering and expensive lawsuits. Why 2021? Because the results of the 2020 U.S. Census will be reported to the states within the next few months. For each state, the Census count determines federal funding, number of representatives in the U.S. Congress, and local and state legislative districts. Election map boundaries are redrawn to equalize population within each voting district.
Both political parties in Wisconsin, when in the majority, have used partisan gerrymandering to draw maps that put voters into districts in a way that favors their own political party. Neither party has had the courage to fix this tactic that lets politicians pick their voters! Our state legislators can resolve this. They know that most voters favor nonpartisan redistricting, as shown by 50+ counties and 28 municipalities that have passed resolutions or referendums on this issue. A 2019 Marquette University Law School poll showed 72% of Wisconsinites (including majorities in each party and Independents), favored redistricting done by a nonpartisan commission. However, previous bipartisan bills creating nonpartisan redistricting methods have sat in committee without a public hearing.
Let your state legislators know that we want public hearings on the next legislative bill on nonpartisan redistricting. We want transparency and public hearings after the voting maps are redrawn in 2021. We want voting maps redrawn without regard to partisan voting information or incumbent addresses. We’re done with using taxpayer dollars to buy and defend partisan voting maps from either political party.