On Monday, January 27, Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order establishing a nonpartisan redistricting commission (known as the People’s Maps Commission) that will be tasked with drawing fair Assembly and State Senate district boundaries after the next census.
I commend the governor for this action. It is vital that the citizens of the United States trust in democracy. To establish trust, citizens need to be able to hold their elected officials accountable to ensure their voices are heard. With the current district lines, often called some of the most gerrymandered in the whole country, one party has locked themselves into a permanent majority, shielding themselves from accountability by ensuring that they will still win no matter which way the political winds sway.
Critics will decry this as a partisan move in itself. That could not be farther from the truth. The commission will be made up of people who are strictly nonpartisan. That means no elected officials, no lobbyists, and no political party officials.
With this commission, the process of drawing district lines will be open, transparent, and fair. The last time Wisconsin redrew its districts, the public had very little input throughout the process and the boundaries were drawn behind closed doors. Across Wisconsin, and across party lines, people reject this manner of redistricting. In fact, a Marquette University poll found that 72% of voters would rather have the maps done by a nonpartisan commission and then sent to the legislature for approval.
I often say that voters should be choosing their politicians, politicians should not be choosing their voters. With a committee that will not take partisan interests into account when drawing district lines, we could finally return to a time when voters can chose their politicians and hold them accountable at the ballot box if they are unresponsive. That is how we restore faith in democracy, and I applaud Governor Evers for taking a stance to finally do something about it.