For Release: Monday - January 9, 2017
In November, a federal three-judge panel declared Wisconsin's 2011 Republican redistricting process (gerrymander) unconstitutional essentially because of the hyper-partisan, secretive manner in which it effectively disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin voters.
The Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) could rule on the case this year, but in the meantime, two former Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leaders have argued that the federal court should redraw the state legislative boundaries now, rather than wait for the SCOTUS decision. We agree. The Court should heed the wise words of Dale Schultz, a Republican from Richland Center and Democrat Tim Cullen of Janesville, who also serves on the CC/WI State Governing Board. Read their excellent op-ed on the matter.
Even if SCOTUS takes the case and a federal court is ordered to redraw the state legislative district boundaries for 2018, the temporary correction will only be in place through the 2020 election. Then the decennial Census will occur (as it does every ten years), and legislative and congressional districts will be redrawn again in 2021 to reflect the changes in population.
The overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites do not want to see partisan politicians – with their self-centered, partisan selfish interests – controlling the redistricting process in 2021 as they did in 2011. Both former Senators Schultz and Cullen, Common Cause in Wisconsin and the entire reform community and virtually every pro-redistricting reform legislator is united behind a proposal that will shortly be introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature by State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). The proposal is modeled after the highly-respected, effective non-partisan redistricting process that has been the law in our neighboring state of Iowa since 1980.
Senator Hansen's press release on the legislation is here and the legislative proposal itself can be examined here.
It is very important that you act now, or within the next several days and demand that both your State Senator and your State Representative co-sponsor and strongly support the "Iowa Model" redistricting reform legislation being introduced very soon by Hansen. Tell them to call Sen. Hansen's office (608-266-5670) and add their name as a co-sponsor of the legislation immediately. Again, contact both your State Senator and your State Representative. If you are not sure who your State Senator and/or your State Representative is go here.
Here is another way you can help advance ending partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin during the new state legislative session. If you have not done so already, please sign our Petition in support of the Iowa Model legislation, which we will present to the Legislature when the legislation has been formally introduced in both the State Senate and Assembly and we begin pressing for a public hearing. If you have already signed the petition, please get members of your family, friends and like-minded citizens to sign it as well. We currently have more than 2,200 signatures and would like to boost that total up considerably, if possible!
We can make this much-needed reform happen in Wisconsin if citizens press and force their legislators and the legislative leadership to make it happen. This requires all of us to do our part and make our voices heard!
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