Letter to the Editor: Vote for Fair Maps on Election Day

Thanks to the Door County Board of Supervisors, we can cast a nonpartisan vote on Nov. 3! Our ballot will include a referendum for a nonpartisan procedure for the preparation of legislative and congressional district plans and maps that will be in effect for the next 10 years.

Backstory: The districts where we vote for local, state and national candidates are revised every 10 years according to population data from the new national census. Gerrymandering is when a political party in power draws the lines so it wins a majority of seats without a majority of the votes. 

The way to end gerrymandering is a nonpartisan commission that operates not in secret – as in Wisconsin after the last census – but openly, to fairly divide the population into geographical districts without distorting them by including or excluding pockets of voters by party affiliation. 

Several states have such commissions, including Iowa. Iowa taxpayers paid less than $200,000 in 2011 for their maps. Wisconsin’s 2011 maps cost taxpayers $3.5 million, mainly for lawsuits challenging their partisan nature. Wisconsin’s lawsuits and those of two other states reached the U.S. Supreme Court last year.

The Supreme Court acknowledged the severity of gerrymandering, but it shifted it back to the states to solve. Wisconsin citizens want this done! Marquette University polling found that more than 72 percent of Wisconsinites favor nonpartisan map drawing.   

Even with this overwhelming support, the Wisconsin Legislature’s leadership refused to allow proposed legislation to reach the floor for discussion, though several Republicans had signed on to the bills. 

The people of Wisconsin really do want fair maps. Voters in 17 counties have passed nonbinding referenda for a nonpartisan commission, and 50 of Wisconsin’s 72 county boards, including Door County’s, have passed resolutions in support of nonpartisan electoral maps. 

And in November 2020, eight more counties, including Door, will have a fair-maps referendum on the ballot. How much more will it take to persuade the Republican leadership to respond? 

Vote YES for nonpartisanship!

Karen Wilson

Egg Harbor, Wisconsin