MADISON – Today, Democratic members of the Wisconsin State Assembly and State Senate again called for legislative action on non-partisan redistricting reform in Wisconsin. Representative Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa) and Senator Dave Hansen co-authored AB 303 / SB 288 which would direct the Legislative Reference Bureau to draw redistricting plans based upon standards specified in the bill and establishes a Redistricting Advisory Commission. This is similar to the “Iowa Model” in which the duty of drawing both legislative and congressional district lines falls to the state’s Legislative Services Agency. Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) released the following statement regarding this legislation:
“Competitive elections bring accountability to elected officials. Under the gerrymandered maps in Wisconsin, Republicans have insulated themselves from any political consequences for their legislative actions. You only have to look back at the lame duck session in December to understand how these maps allow legislative Republicans to act in ways that directly undermine our democracy,” Rep. Hintz stated. “The extreme policies created by the Republican majority for the last eight years can be directly tied to maps that have encouraged legislators to be led by ideology rather than the best interests of their constituents.”
This legislation comes after the Supreme Court ruled in Rucho v. Common Cause that partisan redistricting is a political question — not reviewable by federal courts — and that these courts cannot judge if gerrymandering violates the Constitution. It is now up to state legislatures to determine legislative maps. In other words, Wisconsin’s one, clear course of action to eliminate the political influence of extreme gerrymandering is to create a non-partisan redistricting process.
“In 2018, a massive Democratic election cycle where five Democrats swept statewide races, Governor Evers simultaneously won only 36 Assembly seats. Under the previous maps in 2010, a similar Republican statewide sweep left Democrats with 39 seats. This is by design, not coincidence. Republicans created maps solely to maximize their political outcomes. Rigging the election outcomes allows Republicans to ignore popular policies like Medicaid expansion, which is supported by 70% of Wisconsinites. Assembly Democrats, along with good government advocates, have been pushing for a nonpartisan redistricting solution for years. We will continue to do so until we have fair maps and fair representation in Wisconsin,” Rep. Hintz concluded.
According to a January 2019 poll from Marquette University Law School, 72 percent of Wisconsinites support a nonpartisan commission leading the map-making process. Only 18 percent said the Legislature and governor should be in charge. 46 of Wisconsin’s 72 county boards