Letter to the Editor: Voting Rights and Gerrymandering

Reducing the use of mail-in voting, preventing the distribution of bottled water to voters in line to vote, reducing the number of ballot drop-off boxes, complicating the voter-registration process and other voter-suppression measures should be a big concern to all voters. But amid such efforts to suppress the people’s ability to cast their legal votes, it’s easy to overlook the subtle, yet powerful role that gerrymandering plays in suppressing the value of our votes.

In a voting district designed to favor one political party over another (gerrymandered), it does not actually matter how easy it is to register or vote. In a gerrymandered district, the election is over before it starts. Actual votes are valueless. Short lines, more drop boxes, longer voting hours, mail-in voting – none of that matters if your vote doesn’t count.

Wisconsin is one of the worst examples of political, partisan redistricting in the nation. In Door County, we are “represented” by two legislators in Madison: André Jacque and Joel Kitchens. If they are deeply concerned about the integrity of our elections, if they genuinely want to preserve and improve the democratic process in Wisconsin, they would be committed to ending partisan redistricting now.

However, they do not appear to honestly want nonpartisan redistricting.

Being able to cast a vote that counts is as important – if not more so – than being able to cast a valueless vote. We must end partisan gerrymandering; it is as important as being able to offer a voter a bottle of water or not limiting mail-in voting. 

Kitchens and Jacque need to take a public stand on the right to cast a valuable vote. Call them, email them, let them know that you not only want to be able to vote, but that you want your vote to count. It is time to put an end to partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin. Kitchens and Jacque can help if they really believe in and want to protect democracy.

Voters should pick their elected representatives, not the other way around.

Mike Brodd

Sister Bay, Wisconsin