LETTERS: Legislators have a duty to put an end to rigged voting maps

To Ozaukee Press:

Here in Wisconsin, we believe in fair play and that every vote matters. But 10 years ago, Act 43 gerrymandered Wisconsin’s legislative maps. Using sophisticated computer software, map makers drew maps that guaranteed one party rule over our Legislature. Assembly and Senate election results have been rigged. Party bosses rule.             

We the people have lost our political voice. Citizens across this state and across the political divide are outraged. They complain, saying partisan gerrymandering must stop. They say it in meetings with their legislators, letters to the press, county actions and state polls. A recent national poll found 89% of voters across party lines think gerrymandering is a major problem. Why? It’s not fair.

Plaintiffs proved in federal court that Act 43 was the fourth-most extreme partisan gerrymander in the U.S. in decades. Map makers drew map after map, until the Act 43 maps guaranteed their party would rule over the Legislature for a decade. The U.S. Supreme Court said extreme partisan gerrymandering is incompatible with democratic principles.

Map makers moved Wisconsin citizens from district to district like pawns in a game, and tested each move for partisan advantage. When the game was done, map makers had moved nearly 2.4 million voters into new Assembly districts, even though they needed to move only 320,000 to ensure the districts had balanced populations. Similarly, in drawing state Senate maps, they moved five times more voters than required to equalize the populations.  They divided our communities, chopped up our municipalities, and ignored county lines.

Let’s be clear: A decade ago maps were dramatically changed to make sure one party would always win. Now, suddenly, Legislators are saying it’s policy to make as few changes as possible to those same maps. What’s the real policy? Keep rigging the maps.

A bipartisan bill, SB 389, would adopt the tried and true—and fair—Iowa map making model. It should become law to put an end to voting district map rigging in Wisconsin.

Deborah Patel
River Hills
Cheryl Maranto
Glendale
The letter writers are leaders of North Shore Fair Maps.

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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