The 2020 census is about to take place, and possible redistricting will follow. We all understand that parties in power want to stay in power, and, unfortunately, one way to do so is to manipulate the boundaries of electoral districts to one’s advantage. At present, gerrymandering in Maryland benefits Democrats, while in Wisconsin it benefits Republicans.

A SCOTUS ruling last June 2019 leaves the debate of how to draw congressional districts to the states, which might lead to drawn-out litigation. One way to avoid this is to simply take the initial mapmaking away from state legislators. There are examples of states using nonpartisan redistricting processes, the most famous example being the Iowa Model, where an independent legislative agency creates the initial maps.

Two thirds of Wisconsin county governments (including Rock County in 2014) have passed resolutions calling on state government to adopt a nonpartisan redistricting process. Furthermore, a recent Marquette poll shows that 72% of Wisconsinites prefer that redistricting be done by a nonpartisan commission.

In the Wisconsin legislature, there are currently two bills in committee, AB 303 and SB 288, both of which would have the Legislative Reference Bureau, whose members are nonpartisan, draw up redistricting plans based upon standards specified in the bills. If you believe that voters in gerrymandered districts should have their voices truly matter at all, contact your state senator and representative to help get these bills on the floor for a public hearing and serious consideration by the state legislature.

Mark Fuller