Brookfield, WI – The right to vote is essential and sacred to citizens of a democracy. When those rights are tampered with, or denied entirely, the society suffers. In Wisconsin and many other states, Congressional districts are Gerrymandered to swing the majority of voters to one political party or the other. Tom Palzewicz, who is the Democratic Party candidate for the Fifth District, wants to see an end to the practice and have districts redrawn.
“I am for the ‘Fair Maps’ initiative,” said Palzewicz. “You have to remember that Gerrymandering cuts both ways. We have two Congressional districts that at 80% Democrat, so there is no competition within those two districts. We have six the other way. Ron Kind’s Third district is the most in play, but even then, the incumbent has a huge advantage. Gerrymandering isn’t against Republicans or Democrats, it’s against democracy. It’s time to put country before party.”
Partisan Gerrymandering is a sophisticated process. Legislators in the majority will “pack and crack” voters of the opposing party. By “packing” the opposing party voters are put into as few districts as possible. By “cracking” means the rest of the opposing party’s voters are scattered into other districts, thus giving that party no chance of winning. It is used to create partisan districts and protect the interests of the incumbent.
The practice is not new. The first successful gerrymandering effort came in 1812, when the governor of Massachusetts broke up the districts in his state to favor the Democratic-Republican Party, as it was then known. In the 20th Century, the courts determined that extreme cases of gerrymandering are unconstitutional, but the types and standards of gerrymandering are not clearly defined. In 1995, the United States Supreme Court ruled that racial gerrymandering was in violation of constitutional rights, but partisan gerrymandering remains in play. The issue is left to the states.
“Simply stated, gerrymandering takes the power away from the people and hands it over to an exclusive few,” said Palzewicz. “Wisconsin deserves a level playing field.”
Some people look to term limits to solve the issue, but Palzewicz says that is a secondary concern.
“It takes years to learn how to navigate the Congress,” said Palzewicz, “so term limits isn’t the immediate answer. Term limits, for example, would not stop a Congressman/woman from finding a person who votes like them from running in their district. Until we end gerrymandering, term limits is not the answer.
”Palzewicz promises to work to level the playing field in Wisconsin and the nation.