By MARLENE BALMER SUND | Sparta
Since 2013, the Republican Legislature has refused to hold public hearings on bipartisan bills for drawing nonpartisan maps. Rep. Vos and Sen. Fitzgerald maintain the bills and Gov. Evers’ People’s Map Commission are “unconstitutional.” The Wisconsin Legislative Council and Constitutional experts, such as UW-M political science Professor David Canon, say the bills are fully compliant with the Constitution. UW professor Ken Mayer states the commission is creating a focus for public support and is not “unconstitutional.”
In 2011, the Republican majority’s redistricting was very secretive, with no public input. Drawing those maps and defending them in court has cost the Wisconsin taxpayer $3.5 million-plus. Wisconsin is one of the top two most grossly gerrymandered states in the nation. Both political parties do it, because it favors the politician, not the voter. Rep. Vos says he does not feel Wisconsin has a gerrymandering issue, and intimated he was skeptical he could find enough unbiased people to create the maps. Wisconsin has 5.8 million citizens — interesting philosophy.
Marquette Law School poll found that 70 percent of Wisconsin voters favor fair maps. Fifty-five of Wisconsin’s 72 counties have passed referendums and/or resolutions to have fair maps, passing with a range of 71 percent to 81 percent. Incumbent Republican Rep. Loren Oldenburg and candidates Brad Pfaff, John Baldus and Paul Piotrowski have committed to supporting legislation for fair maps. Ask candidates Sen. Patrick Testin, Rep Nancy Vandermeer and Dan Kapanke if they will commit to support fair map legislation. We will get fair maps only if we have legislators who vote the will of the people. The successful state candidates on the fall ballot are the legislators who will approve our maps.