Gerrymandering is ruining democracy
- Gerrymandering brings out partisan extremes;
- Gerrymandering devalues the votes of citizens;
- Gerrymandering tears communities apart;
- Gerrymandering gives too much power to too few voters.
Over the past few years, several states — including Florida, Ohio, and Arizona — have seen grassroots movements successfully challenge the way their states had been drawing state and congressional district maps. When put to the voters in those states, overwhelming majorities elected to reform the process to ensure fair districts and fair elections.
It turns out that citizens of all political identities and ideologies believe that voters should choose their representatives and not the other way around.
In Wisconsin, where we don't have recourse to referenda or popular plebiscites, we had to use the courts to challenge the hyper-partisan redistricting the legislature accomplished — in secret — in 2011.
In November 2016, the challenge to the current districts WON and in January the federal court mandated that the districts be redrawn by November 2017. Unfortunately the redistricting will be undertaken by the current legislature and they will certainly do as little as possible to change the districts.
SO: it is UP TO US — the citizens of Wisconsin — TO MAKE SURE THE RESULTING MAPS ARE FAIR. We will need to put public pressure on our legislators, both Democratic and Republican, to UNRIG THE MAP.
What we must do
First and foremost, we must galvanize public pressure. As part of a growing, state-wise coalition, Grassroots North Shore is undertaking a campaign of letter-writing and lobbying legislators to ensure that redistricting mandated by the court order in Whitford v Gill uses an inclusive and transparent process rather than repeating the secretive and hyper-partisan methods used in drawing our legislative districts in 2011.
We will also be urging our legislators to support SB13, legislation introduced by Senator Dave Hansen to reform Wisconsin redistricting laws, and its companion bill AB44. SB13 proposes a model based on Iowa's nonpartisan redistricting processes.
On this page, you will find resources for writing letters to the editor of your local newspapers and other media outlets in addition to links to published articles and editorials about gerrymandering and redistricting.
In the image on the left, the Legislative Reference Bureau has illustrated how much more competitive legislative districts are like to become when the maps are drawn to respect one person, one vote and are not rigged to perpetuate one party's stranglehold on governance.
Resources for coordinated grassroots action to slay the gerrymander and institute nonpartisan redistricting in Wisconsin.
Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor
- List of WI publications
- Tips and Guidelines
Contacting your Assembly Representative and Senator
- By geographic map
- By address lookup: type your address in the form field on the right of the page just above the map.
Recently published editorials and Op-Eds around Wisconsin and Nationally
Links to articles, editorials, and letters to the editor, organized in two sections — Wisconsin media and national media — in reverse chronological order.
Legislation to reform Wisconsin's redistricting process
SB13, sponsored by Senators Hansen, Ringhand, Bewley, Carpenter, Erpenbach, Johnson, C. Larson, Miller, Risser, Shilling, L. Taylor, Vinehout, and Wirch
- "This legislation, introduced for the third consecutive legislative session, is modeled after the Iowa redistricting process which was adopted by and enacted into law in 1980 by a Republican Governor (Robert Ray) and a Republican-controlled Iowa State Senate and House. Why? Because the Governor and the Legislature came to the realization that a non-partisan system, in which a professional state agency should draw the maps (carefully following strict, specific criteria) and not partisan legislators, would have the support and confidence of the citizens of Iowa. In Wisconsin currently, public interest and concern is ignored in favor of narrow, selfish, partisan considerations." Jay Heck, Executive Director of Common Cause Wisconsin, Wisconsin Gazette, Jan 31, 2017
What's wrong with gerrymandering
How a gerrymander works
- What's Wrong with Gerrymandering, Robert Reich video
- When Salamanders Rule, Voters Lose, Pat Slutske blog post, Jul 21, 2015
Grassroots and Issue Advocacy Organizations participating in the Slay the Gerrymander effort
Coming soon (2/8/17)