MADISON – Redistricting. It’s likely the most litigated issue in recent American history. And it can get complicated, very complicated, as anyone who has been following the news can attest. But it also can be very simple.
While it might be technically legal for a legislative majority to create maps that give them a huge partisan advantage, it isn’t fair. We all know what fair is. Wisconsin is almost equally divided along partisan lines, and the State Legislature should represent that fifty-fifty split. The maps the Republicans have offered will give them 23 of the 33 Senate Seats and 64 of the 99 Assembly seats. They can say whatever they want, but no one in their right mind is going to believe that their maps are fair. Legal? Debatable. Fair? Certainly not.
That is the simple part – Republicans know what is fair and are disregarding it in favor of maintaining a partisan advantage. A partisan advantage they created in 2011 when they enacted the most gerrymandered maps in the nation. Now for the complicated part. There are many ways to get to a fair map, many different approaches, depending on which of the traditional redistricting criteria should be at the top of the list, which can or should be put lower on the list of priorities. My colleagues and I are offering an alternative. We looked at many, but know that whatever we propose will be rejected. So we offer this proposal to demonstrate that it is possible to draft a fair map that follows all the traditional redistricting criteria and results in a more balanced legislature.
Amendment to Senate Bill 621 is being introduced today: LRB-s0263/2