Here’s the thing about fair maps: We have only one chance in a decade to do it right. The 2020 census and redistricting are just around the corner. We have to act now to make sure there are fair voting maps for fair elections in Wisconsin for the next 10 years.
A majority of citizens, regardless of party, know Wisconsin maps are unfair. They’ve been adjudged so in courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledges it. But the remedy must come from the state itself, says the Supreme Court.
So how has our Wisconsin legislature acted on this issue? Negatively! It will not even debate the bills presented in both the Assembly and the Senate that would set up a nonpartisan districting commission. The bills are locked up in committee, and the leadership won’t let them come out. It’s useless to try, say our Door County representatives, Rep. Joel Kitchens and Sen. André Jacque.
There is mumbling about the “devil in the details,” but we know the details. The bills languishing in committee are based on the Iowa model. Iowa has had a nonpartisan commission for 40 years, and Iowan taxpayers have not had to shell out money to lawyers as Wisconsin taxpayers have (millions of dollars) when inevitably, unfair maps lead to lawsuits.
What will it take for our state legislature to even bring the bills to the floor for debate? How can the citizens be heard? Are we doomed to 10 more years of partisan gridlock caused by gerrymandering, where seats are so safe that the representatives don’t have to listen to all the people?
Our Door County Board could schedule a referendum to give us an opportunity to vote for fair maps. A referendum in favor of fair maps has already been passed in eight other Wisconsin counties, and the movement is growing. We need to show Madison they can’t keep ignoring what most people want: fair elections, the very basis of democracy.