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The U.S. Supreme Court made a bad situation worse when it involved itself in Wisconsin’s redistricting process at the eleventh hour.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court had already issued an anti-democracy ruling when the issue first came to them. The majority of the Court said that the maps should have the “least changes” from the 2011 gerrymandered maps. In doing so, the Court all but guaranteed one-party rule over the state legislature for another ten years. Permanent one-party rule is likely. Mitigating this disaster somewhat, the Court then chose the least change maps submitted by Gov. Evers rather than those proposed by the pro-gerrymandering Wisconsin Legislature.
Greedy for greater power, the Republican political bosses in the state legislature then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. That court, after telling other states it is too late to change maps, has just sent the state legislative maps back to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take another look.
It will take time for the lawyers and justices to sort out the issues. The problem is, we don’t have any time left. New maps take time to implement. Clerks need time to update their systems with the new boundaries. How can candidates run for office in November without knowing which district they live in? How can voters sign nomination papers for candidates with uncertainty over which district they will be voting in? This fiasco has already caused delays in election deadlines—and taxpayers are footing the bill for all of it.
Let’s fix this mess, save some tax revenue and adopt nonpartisan redistricting to keep these political power battles out of the courts in the future. Let’s elect legislators who respect the will of the people. And on the issue of fair maps, the will of the people is abundantly clear: In poll after poll, the vast majority of Wisconsinites favor a transparent, independent, nonpartisan redistricting process.
Partisan gerrymandering should be banned once and for all. In state legislative elections, let’s vote only for candidates who support nonpartisan redistricting. If we want legislators to care about what voters want on other issues, voters must regain control of the legislature from the political bosses through nonpartisan redistricting.
Calvin Dexter, Wausau