Dear editor,

Perhaps you have seen these purple yard signs throughout the Wausau area and in Marathon County.

A poll done by the Marquette University Law School (NPR), Jan. 16-20, 2019, found “seventy-two percent of voters say they prefer redistricting of legislative and congressional districts to be done by a nonpartisan commission, while 18 percent prefer redistricting be done by the legislature and governor. Majorities in each partisan group favor a nonpartisan commission for redistricting, with 63 percent of Republicans including leaners, 83 percent of Democrats including leaners, and 76 percent of independents favoring a nonpartisan commission.”

After the 2010 census, Republicans in Wisconsin controlled the governorship, the state Senate and the Assembly. The voting districts for the state Senate, the Assembly and the Congressional districts were redrawn with precision and in secret by a private law firm to favor the party in control—the Republicans. This is called partisan gerrymandering. This has been done by both parties in the past.

Gerrymandering involves:

Packing: Concentrating the opposing party’s voters into as few districts as possible.

Cracking: Diluting the power of the opposing party’s supporters across many election districts.  

This is done to reduce the voting power of the opposing party. This negates our form of a representative republic. The gerrymandered district decides who wins rather than the voters.

This has proven true in the 29th Senate district, the 85th, the 86th and 69th Assembly districts. Republican voters have been packed into these districts. This means a vote by a Democrat is meaningless in influencing who will represent that person.

The 7th Congressional District spans the entire portion of northern Wisconsin and central Wisconsin. The district includes 20 counties, in whole or in part, and covers 18,786.53 square miles. Three Democratic leaning municipalities, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, and Chippewa Falls were gerrymandered out of the 7th CD. Democratic leaning Portage and eastern Wood counties were removed and replaced by Republican leaning Vilas and St. Croix counties. Once again, this assures that the Republican candidate will win which has proven to be true since the 2012 election.

The Marathon County Board will meet July 23 and July 28 to address the issue of fair maps. The purpose of the meetings is to pass a resolution to approve a referendum for a nonpartisan commission, using the Iowa Model, to draw the district and congressional maps.  

It is time for all 38 members on the Marathon County Board to vote yes. It is time for the voters to decide the issue of fair representation done by a nonpartisan commission to draw fair maps.

Please contact your supervisor to vote yes on the resolution.

Thank you.

Joyce Luedke of Rothschild

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.