Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


Wisconsin needs redistricting reform

My friend Ben has an article in this week's Shepherd about the problem of redistricting in Wisconsin (second article down the page).

Under current Wisconsin law, districts are redrawn by the state legislature every ten years in accordance with the census. However, the process has become politicized to the point where the districts don't accurately reflect the views of the state. There appears to be a problem when we have two Democratic Senators, a Democratic governor, but yet 60% of the state legislative seats are in the hands of Republicans, many of them in safe seats.

The article points out different solutions that are being tried around the country. In Iowa, a state agency is responsible for drawing the districts. In New Jersey, an independent bipartisan commission draws them up. It's time for Wisconsin to start experimenting with new options. The next census is only a few years off.


At 10/02/2005 01:38:00 PM, Blogger said...

It's more complex than that. Part of the problem includes democratic Senators and Assembly Reps who care more about a paycheck than about the policies they say they espouse.

Here's what happens:

Republicans form districts that "pack" democrats into them. In other words, you could have a district that is 60 to 85% democratic. A republican knows there is no chance they'll ever win it but they concede the spot knowing that the democrat who represents the area, if they're looking after their own self interest instead of the people they represent, will vote for the redistricting plan.

In that scenario, Republicans draw districts that give them at least a slight majority in many districts meaning they are more likely to win there than any democrat. The sellout dem gets a seat he or she can claim for life. They can scream about the GOP policies all they want, but they've sold out for a regular paycheck.

The real insight comes when you look at which dems voted for the last GOP redistricting plan.

At 10/02/2005 03:29:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Agreed. I didn't mean to oversimplify the politics surrounding the redistricing. Just look at the Congressional districts in the state. The Democrats got four safe districts and the Republicans did as well. It's another example of why there needs to be more discussion on coming up with a better way of redistricting.


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