Commentary

Stop the GOP re-rigging of our maps

October 21, 2021 9:38 am
Woman in Fair Maps Now shirt carrying sign reading: Our Vote. Our Voice. Our Choice.

Photo by Becker1999 Paul via Flickr CC BY 2.0

On Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu unveiled the new maps they’ve cooked up to keep themselves in power for another 10 years.

And the new maps look a lot like the old maps from 2011, when the Republicans engaged in one of the worst gerrymanders in modern American history.

As the Journal Sentinel reported, under the new map, “61 of the Assembly’s 99 districts would lean Republican.” The State Senate would also be heavily tilted toward Republicans. And six of our eight Congressional districts would be solidly Republican, even though Wisconsin is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.

One technique that Vos and LeMahieu used again this time was to break up cities, which are heavily Democratic.

“The assembly map splits 53 counties and 48 municipalities, while the senate map splits 42 counties and 28 municipalities,” according to the Legislative Reference Bureau.

The maps would also be very uncompetitive. As the Journal Sentinel noted, 81 of the 99 Assembly seats “have double-digit leans” in favor of one party or another.

The bias of these maps is not surprising, since Vos and LeMahieu passed a joint resolution a few weeks ago saying that one of their primary goals was to “retain as much as possible the core of existing districts.” That is, they wanted to keep the old rigged maps intact as much as possible.

They’ve succeeded in doing so: “The average core retention rate for Assembly districts is 84.16 percent and the average core retention rate for Senate districts is 92.21 percent,” the Legislative Reference Bureau said.

As Mitch Schmidt at the State Journal reported:

“The proposed maps would almost certainly ensure a GOP majority in the Legislature for another decade, said Ruth Greenwood, director of the Election Law Clinic at Harvard Law School. ‘I’d say it’s as extreme as the gerrymander for the last 10 years…It essentially bakes in almost the same level of partisan advantage and so we would expect to see another decade where it wouldn’t matter whether more people voted for Democrats than Republicans, Republicans would still maintain control.’ “

Contact your legislators and tell them to vote against these re-rigged maps. The bills are SB 621 and SB 622 in the State Senate, with companion bills in the Assembly.

And urge Gov. Evers to veto these bills if they arrive on his desk.

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Matt Rothschild
Matt Rothschild

Prior to joining the Democracy Campaign at the start of 2015, Matt worked at The Progressive magazine for 32 years. For most of those, he was the editor and publisher of The Progressive.

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