Wisconsin Fair Maps activists push for non-partisan redistribution


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Taking control of redistribution from politicians would pave the way for Wisconsin to hold a fair and competitive election for the next decade, supporters say.

Wisconsin Fair Cards activists spent Tuesday pressuring the state legislature to remove the redistribution process from the hands of the Republican-led legislature, which in 2011 made Wisconsin one of the of the most gerrymandered states in the Union, paving the way for Wisconsin to have fair and competitive cards. for the next decade.

Voters in teams of three, depending on the district, were due to meet with their lawmakers almost Monday afternoon to express support for the non-partisan redistribution and fair redrawing of the district’s maps this year.

The non-partisan redistribution received a wave of bipartisan support, with 55 counties passing resolutions supporting fair maps. A Marquette 2019 survey found that 72% of Wisconsinites support a non-partisan commission redrawing state district boundaries.

Sachin Chheda, director and co-founder of the Fair Elections Project, set specific goals for the day’s lobbying effort: First, to push lawmakers to hold a hearing and vote on bills that abdicate the redistribution of the district in favor of the non-partisan legislative reference office (LRB) and a Redistribution Advisory Commission. The bills, which were introduced by Representative Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay) and Senator Jeff Smith (D-Brunswick), are similar to bills introduced in previous legislative sessions. dating back to 2014.

These bills are blocked in committee, while these committees have looked into issues as urgent as integrate cursive writing into school curricula.

Second, given that the Republican-led legislature is unlikely to vote in favor of transferring the redistribution process to LRB, Chheda said she should take back the maps that will be produced by the non-partisan people.

Sachin Chheda, director and co-founder of the Fair Elections Project, speaks out in favor of a non-partisan redistribution during a day of legislative lobbying. (Screenshot via WisEye)

“I don’t want to call it a non-partisan body because some members of the committee identify as Democrats, others as Republicans,” Chheda said. “But they’re really attached to the idea of ​​a non-partisan system for making fair maps.”

Although he is not sure what the maps created by the commission will look like, Chheda said he still endorses them because he “has faith in the process”.

“Because the process is non-partisan,” Chheda said. “Because the process is transparent. “

Fight the common resolve

The group also planned to pressure lawmakers to vote against a joint resolution that would require future maps to deviate as little as possible from current, heavily gerrymandered maps. The bill was introduced by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) after the Wisconsin Supreme Court noted he would hear the redistribution lawsuit brought by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

RELATED: Republican State Lawmakers Introduce Resolution to Retain Gerrymandered Majority

Chheda stressed that under normal circumstances the joint resolution would make sense, but said that “the reason it doesn’t make sense in 2021 in Wisconsin right now, right here in the real world, is that in 2011, Republicans rigged the cards. . ”

Republicans across the state argued that the problem was not the cards, but that Democrats had not had strong legislative candidates or campaigns for legislative seats and were at a severe disadvantage outside of Madison and Milwaukee. Chheda said this argument does not hold true in the data.

“This is all a lie. It’s not true, ”Chheda said. “The data analysis carried out in the [Gil v.] Whitford case said the geographic distribution of Republicans and Democrats is really close to equality. In fact, Republicans may have a slight edge, but it’s about 2%, not 10, 11, or 13% as we’ve seen in the card effectiveness gap over the past decade.

“They messed up our districts as much as they could in order to rig the cards and now they’re saying, ‘No, you shouldn’t be changing the cards a lot. You should only modify the cards as little as possible. [in order to] get an equal population, ”Chheda said. “Well, if you’ve ever faked the cards once, then what you do is cook in this gerrymander forever.”

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