"Let voters choose their legislators"
"Let voters choose their legislators"
I agree with Senators Cullen & Schultz in their campaign for redistricting reform in WI. WE THE PEOPLE need to pay attention to this CRITICAL process in our electoral system for a healthy republic. What do YOU think?
In general, WE THE PEOPLE do NOT pay attention and are not informed about this process REQUIRED by the US Constitution after each census – every 10 years.
In fact, as demonstrated in WI this year, legislators frequently prefer that the process take place behind closed doors with secrecy. NOT a healthy process for a healthy republic!
The process has led to loss of real representation of WE THE PEOPLE through our legislative districts since the district lines have been manipulated by the politicians to favor their own partisan identities. Redistricting is essentially a self-serving party process!
For a solid case study, review the outcome of the redistricting in our State of WI this year. Lines are shifted to make districts MORE Republican or MORE Democratic. Review US House District #1 – MORE Republican and US House District #2 – MORE Democratic.
Iowa has led the way with healthy redistricting reform. Iowa is touted as a model by major groups who study and evaluate the public policy of redistricting in the US.
Consider the League of Women Voters valuable study “Shining a Light: Redistricting Lessons Learned in 2011” by reading an introductory article, “New League report details redistricting less Ones learned.” I think the League provides WE THE PEOPLE with VERY VALUABLE information and perspective to advocate for REFORM of our redistricting processes in our state. This is, remember, a STATE POWER!
Consider too the work of the Council of State Governments with attention to the redistricting process.
A valuable think tank on voting and democracy is “FairVote: The Center for Voting and Democracy.”
I urge you to review their “Model State Redistricting Reform Criteria.” What do YOU think of these criteria?
So, IF you want to read the Cullen & Schultz plan, you can use this link to “Sens. Tim Cullen and Dale Schultz: Redistricting reform overdue” published August 22, 2012 by the Wisconsin State Journal
If you prefer to hear the case for reform as articulated by Senators Cullen and Schultz, you can listen to the podcast of the Joy Cardin show from this morning (Monday, August 27, 2012) which featured Sen. Tim Cullen talking about the reform he and Sen. Schultz are advocating.
You can use this link to get more information and access the link to the podcast, Joy Cardin show – 7:30 am segment, Monday, August 27, 2012 with Sen. Tim Cullen talking about reform of redistricting process in WI. Listen to podcast – use link, “View all of Joy Cardin’s Audio Archives!”
The website description states, “According to Joy Cardin's guest lawmaker, now is the time to pass redistricting reform in Wisconsin. In the second half of this week's State Capitol Report, he describes the problems he sees with letting political parties draw the legislative maps, and why he says an independent redistricting commission is a better approach. Guest: Tim Cullen, Democratic State Senator, Janesville.”
The Senators remind us, “Every 10 years, the party in power in the Wisconsin Legislature gets to redraw the boundaries of legislative and congressional districts to reflect shifts in population.
“And every 10 years, the party in power draws the lines in a way that helps get more of its own party members elected.
“The result is evermore legislative districts that are Republican strongholds or Democratic strongholds. We see fewer and fewer competitive districts, those that could swing either way.”
The outcome they identify is really a SHAME – I AGREE! Do you? “And that's a shame. When districts are dominated by one party, there is less opportunity for meaningful debate on issues important to voters in that area. We believe that elections should be decided based on the candidates' positions on issues, not based on the "D" or "R" following their names.”
We MUST move with all deliberate speed to REFORM our redistricting process in WI if we are going to get a HEALTHIER republic!
What do YOU think? What reform do YOU support?
Here we go…
John Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor of political science at UW-Waukesha and an advocate for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.