Letter to the Editor: Nonpartisan Commission Would Cure Gerrymandering

We need fair maps. Nothing will change in Wisconsin until we get rid of gerrymandering. 

Only then can we have debate in the legislature on vital issues, such as accepting a billion dollars from the federal government for Medicaid expansion and pandemic rebuilding. No, said the legislature, immediately adjourning a special session called by the governor.

Just like when the governor called the legislature into session to discuss important things like sensible gun legislation, dealing with a deadly pandemic or his priorities for the state budget, the Republican legislature thumbs its nose at him by adjourning immediately.

That bears repeating: The Wisconsin legislature refuses to debate the Wisconsin governor’s priorities – which, by the way, this governor established through a lengthy process of getting input from citizens all around the state. This latest refusal is simply the straw that leads to utter disgust.

Because of gerrymandering, Door County is represented in Madison by two Republicans who literally can’t lose an election unless a lot of Republicans vote against them. I, like many citizens, communicate with them by email, phone and “listening sessions.” 

Sen. André Jacque is “strongly opposed to gerrymandering,” but rather than work to create a nonpartisan districting commission, he cites numerous objections that seemingly can’t be overcome. (Other states manage to do it.)

Rep. Joel Kitchens, one of few Republicans who supported a bill for nonpartisan redistricting in the last session, didn’t bother to include gerrymandering in his recent questionnaire to voters. Though Door County voted strongly (73%) in the November referendum for a nonpartisan process, the issue for him obviously didn’t rise to the level of seeking his constituents’ opinions. Quite a snub to those who have persistently engaged with him on the importance of nonpartisan maps.

Gerrymandering is drawing voting districts to ensure victory for the party in power. A major consequence of gerrymandering is minority rule, where those in power control the method to stay in power.

The cure for gerrymandering is a nonpartisan commission, operating transparently, mapping districts by such commonsense factors as geographical boundaries and population density: fair maps.

Karen Wilson

Juddville, Wisconsin