Slay the Gerrymander

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The Legislative Reference Bureau illustrated the predicted outcomes of a nonpartisan gerrymandering process.

Gerrymandering is ruining democracy

  • Gerrymandering brings out partisan extremes;
  • Gerrymandering devalues the votes of citizens;
  • Gerrymandering tears communities apart;
  • Gerrymandering gives too much power to too few voters.

Over the past few years, several states — including Florida, Ohio, and Arizona — have seen grassroots movements successfully challenge the way their states had been draw state district and congressional district maps. When put to the voters in those states, overwhelming majorities elected to reform the process to ensure fair districts and fair elections.

Gerrymandering has become a debilitating political ailment all across the US. But in Wisconsin, its effects have been devastating. Because so many Assembly and State Senate districts have been constructed so that the candidate from one of the two major parties is all but guaranteed an electoral victory, the political parties don't even bother to run candidates in those districts. In the 2016 election, almost half of all Assembly districts did not offer a candidate from one of the two major parties.
In Florida, it took a referendum to change the system for drawing new district lines. When the ballot initiative came up for a vote, 62.6% of voters approved! It turns out that what galls voters most is a system that enables incumbents to stack the deck to keep themselves in office.

What we need to do

Wisconsin law does not provide a referendum process so voters cannot simply enact a nonpartisan process in our state. That's why the DPMC is collaborating with groups like Grassroots North Shore and other issue advocacy and grassroots groups around the state to apply public pressure so that the legislature will do two things:
  1. Use an inclusive and transparent process rather than repeating the secretive and hyper-partisan methods used in drawing our legislative districts in 2011 as they draw new maps in response to the court order from Whitford v Gill.

  2. Enact SB13, legislation introduced by Senator Dave Hansen to reform Wisconsin redistricting laws. SB13 proposes a model based on Iowa's nonpartisan redistricting processes.

The public campaign will include organized efforts to increase public awareness of the issue (press conferences, letters to the editors and other media exposure) and direct contact with legislators through phone calls, letters, petitions, visits to their local and their Madison offices, and attendance at town hall meetings.

On this page, you will find resources for writing letters to the editor of your local newspapers and other media outlets in addition to links to published articles and editorials about gerrymandering and redistricting.

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Resources for coordinated grassroots action to slay the gerrymander and institute nonpartisan redistricting in Wisconsin.

Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor

Contacting your Assembly Representative and Senator

Recently published editorials and Op-Eds around Wisconsin

Coming soon (2/8/17)

Legislation to reform Wisconsin's redistricting process

  • SB13, sponsored by Senators Hansen, Ringhand, Bewley, Carpenter, Erpenbach, Johnson, C. Larson, Miller, Risser, Shilling, L. Taylor, Vinehout, and Wirch
    • "This legislation, introduced for the third consecutive legislative session, is modeled after the Iowa redistricting process which was adopted by and enacted into law in 1980 by a Republican Governor (Robert Ray) and a Republican-controlled Iowa State Senate and House. Why? Because the Governor and the Legislature came to the realization that a non-partisan system, in which a professional state agency should draw the maps (carefully following strict, specific criteria) and not partisan legislators, would have the support and confidence of the citizens of Iowa. In Wisconsin currently, public interest and concern is ignored in favor of narrow, selfish, partisan considerations." Jay Heck, Executive Director of Common Cause Wisconsin, Wisconsin Gazette, Jan 31, 2017

What's wrong with gerrymandering

Articles discussing gerrymandering and how it effects our democracy.

How a gerrymander works

Grassroots and Issue Advocacy Organizations participating in the Slay the Gerrymander effort

Coming soon (2/8/17)

 

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