Letter to the Editor: Let’s Help End Gerrymandering!

After each 10-year census, the legislative district lines are redrawn. Gerrymandering is the act of redrawing those lines in ways that favor one party, thereby undermining representative democracy. Americans of all political persuasions are fed up with gerrymandering. There is a growing nationwide movement to put the redrawing of voting maps into the hands of nonpartisan commissions, and 20 states have now established such commissions.

The vast majority of Wisconsinites support nonpartisan redistricting.  The January 2019 Marquette Law School survey found 72 percent of Wisconsinites would prefer that a nonpartisan commission do the redistricting, but state legislators are not listening. 

Two bills calling for forming a nonpartisan redistricting commission have been languishing in the state Legislature since last June. Rep. Joel Kitchens and Sen. André Jacque tell us they would like to end gerrymandering, but there is nothing they can do because the Republican leadership will not support either bill. 

So they have done nothing, despite the expressed desires of their constituents. That’s not representative democracy at work. Contact Kitchens and Jacque to express your support for the bills and urge them to work on getting a hearing scheduled for the bills.

Frustrated by politicians’ unwillingness to act, Wisconsinites are turning to other methods to make their opposition to gerrymandering known and to push the Legislature to adopt nonpartisan redistricting. Fifty (69 percent) of Wisconsin’s 72 counties’ boards have passed resolutions endorsing nonpartisan redistricting. Door County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously passed such a resolution in 2014 and reaffirmed it last June. 

Eight counties have also had referenda asking voters if they would prefer having such a commission. All passed resoundingly, with 62 to 85 percent voting in favor. In elections later this year, another 18 counties and municipalities will include referenda. 

Voters of Door County, let’s make our voices heard, too! Help end gerrymandering by urging your county supervisor to support a referendum on November’s ballot calling for a nonpartisan redistricting commission. This website provides supervisors’ contact information: Call your supervisor now!

Jack Fiedler

Sister Bay, Wisconsin