Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition by Tony Webster CC BY 2.0 A yard sign in Mellen, Wisconsin reads: “This Time Wisconsin Deserves Fair Maps,” paid for by the Fair Elections Project, FairMapsWI.com. The political sign supports redistricting legislation to reform gerrymandering.
On Sept. 23, Speaker Robin Vos and Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu introduced a resolution that makes clear they want to rig the maps again the upcoming redistricting.
In Assembly Joint Resolution 80, they spelled out their criteria for drawing the maps. One of those emphasized their intent to “retain as much as possible the core of existing districts.”
And there’s the rub, because the existing districts are grotesquely rigged. That’s what a group of Democratic plaintiffs charged in the Whitford case, demonstrating that the gerrymander was one of the worst in modern American history.
On November 21, 2016, a panel of federal judges agreed. In a landmark ruling, they said these maps violated the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the Democrats who sued.
“It is clear that the drafters got what they intended to get,” the judges wrote. “There is no question that Act 43 was designed to make it more difficult for Democrats, compared to Republicans, to translate their votes into seats. . . . It secured for Republicans a lasting Assembly majority. It did so by allocating votes among the newly created districts in such a way that, in any likely electoral scenario, the number of Republican seats would not drop below 50%.”
No wonder Vos and LeMahieu are so eager to keep the existing districts!
One technique the Republicans used last time around was to split up municipalities, splintering the Democratic voters into more rural areas. Vos and LeMahieu appear keen on doing that again. They waived at the need to “avoid municipal splits,” but quickly qualified that with the following phrase: “unless unavoidable or necessary to further another principal above.” Of course, one of those is retaining existing districts.
No one should be fooled about what Vos and LeMahieu are up to.
They’re telling us, in black and white, that they intend to rig the maps in their favor again.
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