Wisconsin’s Future Depends on Fair Maps

Sen. Smith, Rep. Andraca Introduce Nonpartisan Redistricting Reform Legislation

MADISON – Today, Sen. Jeff Smith (D – Brunswick) and Rep. Deb Andraca (D –Whitefish Bay) introduced legislation to establish a nonpartisan redistricting process in Wisconsin, joining advocates statewide calling for fair electoral maps.

During the last redistricting process in 2011, the Republican Majority hired private attorneys to draw electoral maps in secret, behind closed doors, without public input. These maps were considered by many to be among the most gerrymandered maps in the nation. Wisconsin’s legislative and congressional districts shouldn’t be drawn by members of the legislature.

The Fair Maps bill creates a fair and transparent process for all future legislative and congressional redistricting plans in Wisconsin. The bill directs the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau to draw redistricting plans and establishes a citizen-led Redistricting Advisory Commission to have an impartial role in developing new electoral maps.

Wisconsin citizens overwhelmingly support a nonpartisan redistricting process. In fact, as of April this year, 55 counties, representing over 83% of Wisconsin residents, have passed resolutions urging legislators to support nonpartisan redistricting reform. There have been 32 counties that have held referenda on nonpartisan redistricting reform and they all passed with an average of 70% of the vote.

Sen. Jeff Smith shared the following statement about the introduction of the Fair Maps bill:

“Citizens expect their elected leaders to listen to them – the Fair Maps bill will make this expectation a reality for Wisconsinites. Gerrymandered maps have silenced voters and put party politics over policies supported by a vast majority of Wisconsinites.

“Nonpartisan redistricting reform is the only way we can ensure the people of Wisconsin have a right to fair representation. I’m calling on my legislative colleagues to do the right thing for their constituents and the future of our state: pass this bill and create a nonpartisan legislative redistricting process.”

Rep. Deb Andraca added the following statement: 

“When we cast our ballot we need to know our vote counts. If politicians have to compete on their ideas, and not engineered maps, it means they must listen to their constituents and vote accordingly. This bill is about creating an enduring process, for this next election and into the future that will ensure our maps are fair and our government is held accountable no matter who is in charge.”