2021 is the year that Wisconsin must fix the “gerrymandered” Wisconsin Assembly and Senate district maps, along with U.S. Congressional districts. States must redraw legislative and congressional districts every 10 years to reflect the results of the U.S. Census.
In 2011 Republicans controlled the state government and drew maps that benefited them. Using computer modeling and sophisticated data algorithms, they “PACK & CRACK” voters of the opposing party. Packing means putting as many of the opposing party’s supporters into as few districts as possible, meaning that party wins big in those districts, but it doesn’t win many districts overall. Cracking means scattering the rest of the opposing party’s supporters into districts where they have no chance of winning.
This means districts were drawn in ways that make nearly all of them safe for one of the major political parties. Additionally low-turnout primaries diminish the influence of moderates and amplify more radical candidates on both sides of the political spectrum. It creates an environment where elected officials aren’t accountable to their constituents.
When more than 80 percent of our state supports medical marijuana, 80 percent support universal background checks, 70 percent support expanding Medicaid, and elected officials ignore those numbers without consequence, something is wrong. Legislators who work in Madison and make the policies that drive our state should not be able to ignore the people who sent them there.
For more information, visit jeffwidems.org/gerrymandering.