Contact: Mary McCarthy
MILWAUKEE—A public poll released today indicates Wisconsin citizens believe by almost a two to one margin that state legislative district maps were drawn unfairly, and four times as many Wisconsinites want an independent commission to draw district lines as want the legislature to do it. The poll, released by Public Policy Polling, surveyed more than 1,000 registered voters in mid-October, and follows oral argument in Gill v Whitford at the U.S. Supreme Court. The trial court in Whitford previously held that the state’s district lines are unconstitutional and should be redrawn.
The full poll can be found here: http://bit.ly/2zRmt9P.
A bill to take map-drawing out of the hands of the legislature has already been introduced by Sen. Dave Hansen of Green Bay and Rep. Don Vruwink of Milton (AB44/SB13), but has languished in committee and hasn’t even received the courtesy of a hearing, let alone a vote.
“We know that the district lines are unfair and unconstitutional, and we have been saying for years that our fellow Wisconsin citizens want an independent commission to draw the lines,” said Sachin Chheda, director of the Fair Elections Project, which organized and launched the Whitford suit. “This poll confirms that the people of Wisconsin clearly understand that the legislature doesn’t reflect the people’s will and can’t be trusted to ensure our democracy works. It’s time for a hearing on the Hansen/Vruwink bill to take map-drawing out of the hands of the legislature.”
“We have been traveling around the state talking to growing audiences, and it’s clear that the people know our democracy is broken and corrupt,” said former Sen. Dale Schultz (R- Richland Center), co-chair of the nonpartisan Fair Elections Project.
“It’s time to have a hearing on the bill to make redistricting an independent, neutral process,” said former Sen. Tim Cullen (D-Janesville), co-chair of the Fair Elections Project. Both Cullen and Schultz are former Majority Leaders of the State Senate when their parties were in power.
The Fair Elections Project supports the creation of fair maps that ensure the will of the people is reflected in the legislature. Both parties should have a symmetrical chance to gain majorities in the legislature if they gain the support of the majority of the people, and the maps should be drawn by an independent panel to ensure no map-rigging takes place.
“The map-drawers in Wisconsin have already been exposed as corrupt, and the maps they drew have been declared unconstitutional in part or in whole on two separate occasions,” said Chheda. “The time has come for this map-rigging to end and democracy to be restored in our state.”
More information about the lawsuit and campaign can be found at the Fair Elections Project website at fairelectionsproject.org, at Facebook.com/wifairelections, and on Twitter at @WIFairElections and @FairElections.