Monday, August 23, 2021

Common Cause Wisconsin Redistricting and Anti Gerrymandering Webinar Attracts Large Statewide Audience

Monday - August 23, 2021

Panelists Explore the 2021-22 Redistricting Process, Litigation and Legislative Solution During 90 Minute Program

More than 300 Wisconsinites registered for Common Cause Wisconsin's first statewide webinar on the current redistricting process and how to end partisan gerrymandering that was conducted last Tuesday evening with panelists and voters participating from every corner of the state. The event originated from Madison where CC/WI Director Jay Heck and CC/WI Voting & Elections Consultant Erin Grunze provided opening comments and introductions of the other panelists.
State Senator Jeff Smith of Eau Claire and State Representative Deb Andraca of Whitefish Bay, the lead legislative sponsors of a redistricting reform measure based on Iowa's 40-year-old non-partisan, effective redistricting process, detailed how their bipartisan measure would ensure that state legislative and congressional districts would be re-drawn by neutral civil servants rather than partisan legislators utilizing strict, non-partisan criteria that keep communities of interest intact and don't rely on past election results to gerrymander new districts. Smith, who served in the Wisconsin Assembly from 2007 to 2011 was elected to the State Senate in 2018 in one of the very few, even remotely competitive legislative districts. Andraca, a former elementary school teacher who defeated a long-time incumbent in 2020 likewise represents one of just a handful of competitive Assembly districts in the state. Both expressed optimism about the ultimate success of their legislation gaining eventual enactment, citing overwhelming public support for this non-partisan redistricting process for Wisconsin.
Elections law expert and attorney for Law Forward, Mel Barnes, laid out the legal environment and the critical role of state and federal courts in the current redistricting process, highlighting the substantial litigation that has occurred already since the release of U.S. Census information just last week. She also projected how the current, contentious redistricting process might emerge once the Legislature, the Governor and the courts have all weighed in.
CC/WI Board Member and former State Representative Penny Bernard Schaber of Appleton spoke about how the critical importance that citizen activism and direct contact and sustained pressure by constituents with their state legislators has resulted in unprecedented public and legislative support for ending partisan gerrymandering and that this activity must continue if reform is to occur.
Excellent questions from audience members helped to further illustrate and explain how redistricting reform has become such a "front and center" critical public policy issue for Wisconsinites and that ending gerrymandering is a top priority for many of the state's voters.
And here are additional actions you can take to end gerrymandering in Wisconsin:
  • Directly contact your legislators in support of the redistricting reform bills and demand a hearing for this important legislation. You can do that in just a few clicks here.
  • Join the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition Legislative Lobby Day on Monday, September 27th at the Capitol in Madison to talk to legislators and encourage them to support AB 395 / SB 389  — the fair maps bills introduced by Sen. Smith and Rep. Andraca. This event will be both in-person and virtual, and the Coalition will host training sessions to make sure everyone feels comfortable to participate. Sign up and get more information here.
We cannot tolerate the drawing of state voting maps out of public sight and without public input to again benefit politicians in power. Thanks for doing your part to keep the light shining on the 2021-22 redistricting process in Wisconsin.

Jay Heck
CC/WI Executive Director

Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703

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