Letter to the editor: Vote yes on Fair Maps referendum

By MARLENE SUND | Sparta

Fair Maps is an advisory referendum asking for a change in the process used for voter redistricting, which is done after each census. This referendum is on the Monroe County April 7 ballot.

In Wisconsin, the majority party after the census has control of redistricting. In the 2011 redistricting, the maps were drawn very secretly, behind locked doors, with no transparency for the public; were very partisan; and were voted on quickly. This is called gerrymandering and is done by both political parties. Since 2011, this has resulted in great costs for us, the Wisconsin taxpayers, because of legal bills to protect the maps. According to the Associated Press, it has cost us more than $3.7 million.

The legislature in Iowa has developed a model that is the gold standard for drawing their districts in a nonpartisan, transparent and fair process. It has been used for 40 years. Their cost is $100,000, and they have had no lawsuits. Wisconsin could develop a similar model.

In 2000 in Wisconsin, the Republicans controlled one part of the legislature and the Democrats the other. With no majority party, the federal court drew the lines in a nonpartisan fashion. During that 10-year span, the power of the voter was evident. With each two-year election there were changes in both the Senate and the Assembly. The voter decided if the Senate had more Republicans or Democrats and the same for the Assembly. So, if the legislators wanted to be reelected, they had to respond to what the voters wanted or be voted out.  This is what democracy looks like.

Politicians who benefit from the power that partisan control yields are not interested in changing that. The legislature writes the rules, and they are the ones who have to change it. Bills have been introduced multiple times to the legislature to make our process more like Iowa. They are not acted on them.

Gerrymandering is no longer some simple map drawing with a pencil. The Atlantic magazine, in a 2017 article, held that “political mapmaking is a multimillion-dollar enterprise, with dozens of big-profile, paid consultants, armies of lawyers, terabytes worth of voting data, advanced software and supercomputers.” Lines to maximize voter distribution for the benefit of a political party can now be drawn as concisely as a surgeon can use a scalpel. This process does not support a healthy democracy.

Before you vote, please know how your candidates for state Senate and Assembly feel about fair maps. Know how Supreme Court candidates feel — when issues get to the court, the justices get the final say. In our district, Rep. Oldenberg supports fair maps.

Frederick Douglass said, “Power yields nothing without demand.” If we want change, we have to make our legislators hear us. There is a strong grassroots movement in Wisconsin and in the nation to bring an end to gerrymandering. Change will demand citizen/voter involvement.

VOTE YES ON THE FAIR MAPS REFERENDUM.

                          

Comments are closed.

  • Letter to the editor: We need to listen to views we don’t agree with

    May 21st, 2020
    by

    Enclosed is a $38 check to cover a year of the Linda Smith subscription that you lost. Since you’ve never claimed to be anything but a liberal, left-leaning is a fair charge.


    Letter to the editor: Trees along Elroy-Sparta State Trail shouldn’t have been cut down

    May 21st, 2020
    by

    Last fall, I watched as almost all trees on one side of the creek in the park in Norwalk were cut down, leaving no shade on the bike trail in that area.


    Letter to the editor: We can’t send out-of-work people into jaws of pandemic

    May 21st, 2020
    by

    Does anyone really need to point out the irony (to put it kindly) of the Wisconsin Supreme Court electronically hearing arguments and issuing a ruling to kill Wisconsin’s stay-at-home order? 


    Letter to the editor: Is Trump afraid of the truth?

    May 21st, 2020
    by

    Is the man in the White House so afraid of truth that he hides any information he can?


    Guest view: Covid-19 isn’t what’s really going to take down this country

    May 5th, 2020
    by

    Wow … I had many thoughts as I put my bulletproof vest on for this post. All I can say is that it’s all true, but I know that the shots will come, but maybe the vest will hold up. LOL


  • Your right to know: Lawsuits test limits of political speech

    May 5th, 2020
    by

    Donald Trump says it’s just not fair.


    Editorial cartoon

    May 5th, 2020
    by

    Letter to the editor: Wake up, Wisconsin voters

    May 5th, 2020
    by

    Stop and think! Since the Republicans took control of our legislature and governorship, think of all the benefits workers have lost.


    Letter to the editor: Backtalk is ‘far left, hate-filled and bitter’

    April 28th, 2020
    by

    I have been subscribing to the County Line for quite a few years, since I have ties to the area with my great-great-grandfather, great-grandfather and grandfather farming and raising their families around Ontario and also still have family living there and in the surrounding area.


    Letter to the editor: Make America sick again

    April 28th, 2020
    by

    Demonstrations against Covid-19 social-distancing orders are composed mostly of younger white people, many wearing red hats that should be emblazoned with the slogan, “Make America Sick Again.”


    Letter to the editor: Why couldn’t the election have been delayed?

    April 15th, 2020
    by

    I have never seen the Wisconsin politicians show such disregard for the public health and welfare of the Wisconsin citizens.


  • Archives