As you likely know by now, the redistricting process in Wisconsin and nationwide must occur every ten years to reflect shifts in population and we are fast approaching that significant and critical event. Updated census figures will be processed and sent to the states by September 30th and the actual redrawing of state legislative and congressional districts will then take place — likely before the end of 2021. Whether that process mirrors the very partisan, secretive, unfair redistricting process that occurred in Wisconsin a decade ago — in 2011 — or if redistricting will be much more fair, nonpartisan, transparent and reflects the interests of citizens rather than politicians is the question yet to be answered.
But next week, the nonpartisan redistricting process and the fight for fair voting maps will take a big step forward.
On Monday, May 17th, redistricting reform legislation — that CC/WI first helped devise and advance in 2011 — that would transform Wisconsin’s system to a nonpartisan process modeled after our neighboring state of Iowa, will be formally introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature at an outdoor, socially distanced rally at the State Capitol Building at Noon. On hand and speaking at the event will be the lead legislative sponsors of the reform measure — State Senator Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) and State Representative Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay). Join with CCWI and our friends in the Fair Maps Coalition at the rally, which will begin at 12 Noon on the State Street side of the State Capitol Building in Madison — rain or shine!
Click image for more event information
After the May 17th event and the introduction of the legislation and the assignment of bill numbers in each legislative chamber, CC/WI will initiate a massive statewide call to action — calling on our thousands of members and activists to contact their state legislators to co-sponsor and support the redistricting reform legislation and demand a public hearing and consideration of the measures in the legislative committee to which it has been assigned — a simple matter of civil respect that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and former State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald have denied the citizens of Wisconsin for the last ten years. We will see if new State Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu parrots the arrogance of Vos and Fitzgerald.
One thing that is dramatically different this year than during the 2011 redistricting process is that there will be “alternative” fair voting maps devised and put forward by you, the citizens of Wisconsin, as alternatives to the partisan, secretive maps that Republican legislative leaders are currently devising. In 2011 there was no alternative to the gerrymandered maps. This year, the Peoples Maps Commission is encouraging citizens to engage in the drawing of voter maps starting from the local level so that communities of interest in towns, cities, rural areas and counties in Wisconsin can be reflected in the new voting maps. In 2011 all of this was completely ignored. The Peoples Maps Commission has pledged to draw state legislative districts using non-partisan criteria to counter the expected partisan maps that Vos and Le Mahieu are expected to direct.
There are many opportunities for you to get involved in these map-drawing activities with information and training sessions now underway. Check out these two:
- Learn how to draw maps for your community through workshops on Wednesdays in May. Find out more and register here. Your map work could then be submitted to the Peoples Maps Commission.
- Attend an online, interactive workshop: Redistricting Community College on May 22.
Thanks for your active participation in protecting democracy in Wisconsin!