MADISON—On Nov. 3, Wisconsin voters in 11 counties, as well as the city of Racine, will have the opportunity to vote on an advisory referendum regarding whether the Legislature should ban gerrymandering and adopt a process of independent, nonpartisan redistricting.
The counties that are holding these referendums are: Adams, Bayfield, Brown, Crawford, Door, Dunn, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Rusk, and Waushara. To date, 17 counties and more than a dozen municipalities have already passed such non-binding referendums, and by overwhelming margins each time.
In addition, 53 of Wisconsin’s 72 county boards have passed resolutions urging the Legislature to pass a law requiring independent, nonpartisan redistricting. These counties represent more than 75% of Wisconsin’s citizens.
“We urge voters in these 11 counties to vote ‘yes’ on these referendums,” said Matt Rothschild, the executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. “We need to let our elected officials know we’re fed up with map-rigging by whichever party is in power. We need fair maps for fair elections.”
“There is a huge groundswell of support for banning gerrymandering in Wisconsin,” says Carlene Bechen, the fair maps organizer for Wisconsin Voices and the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition. “Activists in every corner of the state and of all different political affiliations have been working hard to get this issue on the ballot. They just want a level playing field, and they’re sick and tired of having their voting districts chopped up to favor one party or another.”
“People across Wisconsin are sick of partisan games instead of real solutions, and they want a Legislature that reflects the will of the people, not just Party bosses,” said Sachin Chheda, director of the Fair Elections Project. “Fair district maps mean every voice is heard, not just the extreme right and left.”
“These county referendum questions on non-partisan redistricting reform have proven to be highly effective in mobilizing bipartisan support in the Legislature for ending partisan gerrymandering,” said Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin. “As more counties ask their voters to weigh in on this issue, support in the Legislature will only increase and that is the path to assuring a representative government.”
Every 10 years, after the Census is completed, each state must set new district lines to reflect changes in where people live, and each district needs to have roughly the same number of people in it. The Census Bureau is planning on delivering the data from its 2020 Census to the states next year.