Brief

Dems seek public hearing on Fair Maps bills

By: - August 9, 2021 4:02 pm
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.

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.

The Democratic co-authors of the bills to ban gerrymandering in Wisconsin have requested a public hearing on them.

Sen. Jeff Smith and Rep. Deb Andraca introduced their bills ( Senate Bill 389  and  Assembly Bill 395) back on May 17.

On August 5, they sent a letter to the chair of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Sen. Duey Stroebel, and the chair of the Assembly Committee on State Affairs, Rob Swearingen, to give those bills a hearing.

In their letter, Smith and Andraca stressed the urgency of this issue.

“Gerrymandering is one of the gravest threats to fair elections and our government,” the letter said, which was also signed by Sen. Kelda Roys and Reps. Tip McGuire, Tod Ohnstad, Sondy Pope, and Christine Sinicki. The letter asked for an “open and honest public discussion about the merits of these bills” in a public hearing, as well as a vote on the bills.

The letter said that passing the bills would “ensure fair maps and avoid costly litigation for the state taxpayers.”

The bills, by the way, have three Republican co-sponsors: Representatives Todd Novak, Travis Tranel and Joel Kitchens.

In a separate statement, Smith said:

“Wisconsinites have waited long enough for fair maps. For more than a decade, the Republican Majority has ignored the will of the people and hasn’t faced any consequences because of their gerrymandered maps. The people deserve a voice – this starts by holding a public hearing on the Fair Maps bill.”

And Andraca added:

“A public hearing on the Fair Maps bill would demonstrate a commitment to true election integrity. If politicians have to compete on their ideas and not their maps, it means they must listen to their constituents and vote accordingly. Nonpartisan redistricting processes like this have restored power to the voters in several other states, and Wisconsinites also deserve a transparent and fair process.”

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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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