To the editor,

One of the fundamental principles of a functioning democracy is that voters get to decide who represents them. The GOP controlled Wisconsin legislature has flipped that on its head, so that now partisan politicians pick and choose their voters for maximum advantage.

States must redraw legislative and congressional districts every 10 years to reflect results of the U.S. Census. In 2011 Republicans controlled state government and drew maps that benefit them. Also that year, Republican state lawmakers took the unusual step of signing a legal agreement in which they promised to not comment publicly about redistricting discussions while new GOP-friendly maps were being drafted.

As a result of this redistricting practice (also called gerrymandering), in 2018 Democrats won 53% of all the Assembly votes cast statewide while coming away with only 36% of the seats. Another way to look at it is that Republicans enjoy a built-in 64-35 advantage in the partisan makeup of the 99 Assembly districts. In a hypothetical 50-50 election, in which there are equal numbers of Democratic and Republican voters in Wisconsin, no one crosses party lines, and independents split down the middle, that translates into a massive 29-seat GOP advantage in the Assembly. That’s very close to the 27-seat margin that Republicans won in 2018.

Senator Dave Hansen and Rep. Robyn Vining have proposed bills to ban gerrymandering in Wisconsin and give us nonpartisan, independent redistricting. There is a growing movement across party lines to support these bills.

This time Wisconsin deserves Fair Maps!

Steve Tesmer and Jill Kessenich

Fort Atkinson

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