80 state legislative candidates and two statewide candidates are on the 2018 ballot next month favoring the end of partisan drawing of voting boundaries.
Majority Republicans in 2011 were tasked with redrawing the boundaries, as required every 10 years. This has resulted in a pending challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court over what is termed 'gerrymandering'.
Common Cause of Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck says the resulting voting boundaries have changed the process...
"...There was one party in control of all three branches of government, the legislative and the governorship. They've created a situation where there are very few competitive legislative seats and zero competitive Congressional seats. As a consequence, elections are decided not in November for many of these state Congressional and legislative seats, but really in the primaries instead...."
Heck says most supporters of change are looking at what has been called the "Iowa model". He says mainly Democrats favor the change, but he says there is some support from Republicans as well. He says the hope is to get a new non-partisan system in place by the next re-draw in 2021...here, describing the Iowa system...
"...Instead, in Iowa, it's done by a non-partisan service bureau, the counterpart in Wisconsin is the Legislative Reference Bureau. They draw the lines according to a strict set of criteria, but not partisan criteria. They do things like try to keep communities together, counties together, squares and rectangles are good..."
Heck says under the current system, legislative leaders can largely dictate what the voting boundaries need to look like to keep a majority.