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Politics Aside, WI Residents Can Submit Redistricting Input

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Going into the current redistricting cycle, Wisconsin was viewed as a state where political tension would underscore new legislative and Congressional maps. A legal fight still is expected, but fair-map groups say the public should take advantage of a key opportunity.

Republicans who control the Legislature are leading efforts to produce new political maps likely to clash with the veto power of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Matt Rothschild, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, said while there is concern the GOP will produce a partisan-driven effort, residents should provide their own input through a platform recently announced by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos - R-Rochester.

"Any time citizens of Wisconsin are given an opportunity to participate in the political process, that's a good thing," said Rothschild. "And I encourage citizens to take the speaker up on his invitation. "

This fall, citizens can submit ideas, including their own suggested boundaries, through the "Draw Your District Wisconsin" website.

Rothschild acknowledged that Vos and GOP leaders could ignore the input. But he said the website speaks to grassroots efforts in recent years calling for fair maps, with policy researchers finding that Wisconsin Republicans produced among the most gerrymandered lines after the 2010 census.

Debra Cronmiller, executive director of the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, said she's hopeful the portal is not just window dressing. She said it will give local residents the power to unify their voices by identifying communities of interest.

"To work with their neighbors, to work with their school districts, to work with their municipality to make sure that these are the lines that are being considered," said Cronmiller.

She also said anyone who submitted maps to the governor's non-binding People's Map Commission can resubmit it through this new portal.

GOP leaders were not expected to consider that panel's drafts. Speaker Vos has expressed confidence the maps from his party will be signed by the governor.

Aside from input, fair-map advocates are renewing their push for state lawmakers to hold hearings on the latest proposal to create an independent commission to oversee the process.

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