Groups in Wisconsin and five other states in the Great Lakes region are working through the Midwest Democracy Network to improve the process of redrawing legislative and congressional districts that is done every 10 years following each census. How redistricting is done determines who gets to represent the public in our government. In a democracy, voters are supposed to choose their representatives, not the other way around. Through partisan gerrymandering assisted by increasingly sophisticated computer mapping technology, elected officials have been able to handpick their voters and enhance their job security.
Districts with a lopsided political makeup – either mostly Democratic or predominantly Republican – make elections less competitive and voters less powerful and less able to infuse new blood and fresh ideas into the political system. They also contribute to hyper-partisan, polarized politics that make compromise nearly impossible on controversial issues. One-sided districts tend to produce candidates who appeal to just one side. Squeezed out are candidates who appeal to independents or voters of both parties. The result is a legislature of fierce partisans, with fewer members willing to reach across the political divide to get the public’s business done.
Campaign goals and priorities
- Empower citizens to be more engaged in the redistricting process in Wisconsin than ever before
- Equip citizens with the skills and tools needed to critique the maps drawn by elected officials and offer alternatives to what the politicians come up with.
- Raise awareness of the need for reform of the redistricting process and build support for needed changes.
For more information about legislative redistricting in Wisconsin contact Dane Varese from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign – redistricting(at)wisdc.org or 608-255-4260 — or Jorna Taylor with Wisconsin Voices — at jorna(at)wisconsinvoices.org or 414-226-4289.