On Oct. 31 the Joint Committee on Government Operations held a 9 hour hearing on the latest gerrymandered maps proposed by the Legislature in SB 621. Over 200 people from across Wisconsin came and 100 testified, many waiting hours. NOBODY testified in favor of the maps except Vos and LeMahieu. North Shore Fair Maps testified about our work with The Wisconsin Map Assessment Project (WIMAP). WIMAP was formed by a group of citizens from across the state to monitor public map sites and analyze the quality of maps submitted using widely accepted redistricting criteria, namely proportionality, competitiveness, minority opportunity, compactness, and county splitting. We found that the Legislature’s Assembly map was the worst of any map submitted in 3 of 5 categories, and it fared worse than the People’s Maps Commission map in every category. You can view a summary of WIMAP’s findings at https://piercecountygro.org/wimap/#nov-4. A detailed memo was sent to every legislator by their own constituents and WIMAP prior to the votes. These maps deny Wisconsin voters the freedom to cast a ballot that matters.
Despite overwhelming public opposition, the Senate voted to approve the maps on Monday, Nov. 8. The Assembly is expected to do the same on Thursday, Nov. 11. Governor Evers has promised to veto the bill, and it will go to the courts. But our fight goes on. We need to continue to build public awareness and pressure that the courts can’t ignore. And we need to continue to press for a public hearing and vote on SB389/AB395, co-sponsored by Rep. Deb Andraca and Sen. Jeff Smith, to establish an independent nonpartisan process for drawing voting maps in order to permanently fix this problem. See Sunday’s Journal-Sentinel excellent editorial on this issue. https://milwaukeejournalsentinel-wi-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=3c9637d9a
The battle for Fair Maps in Wisconsin isn’t over. The People’s Map Commission will present its map to the legislature this fall, where it will no doubt be ignored. The Republicans will pass their own, heavily gerrymandered map — like the one we have been using for the last decade. Governor Evers will veto it. The matter will end up in the courts, where except for the 2011 map, electoral districts have been drawn by the courts in 2001, 1991, 1981, etc. But if Tony Evers loses next year’s race for Governor, the Republican dominated legislature will pass new, again heavily gerrymandered, maps and a Republican Governor will sign them into law. Just like Texas did in 2003.
That’s why we are asking you with some urgency to get involved NOW in the four elections that Wisconsin will hold in 2022: the nonpartisan primary on February 15, the nonpartisan election on April 5, the partisan primary on August 9, and the partisan general election on November 8. Put those dates in your calendar now. Grassroots North Shore will shortly be hosting the following two actions to begin our voter outreach work:
- In conjunction with the Progressive Turnout Project, we will be sending postcards to Wisconsinites who were first time voters in 2020. The goal is to make sure Democrats stay engaged and make voting a habit in Wisconsin. Norma Gilson will be the point person on this project and will begin distributing postcards and lists of names and addresses next week. Sign up here if you want to participate.
- In conjunction with the League of Women Voters, we will be phoning people on the Wisconsin Election Commission’s list of registered voters who are being removed from the voter rolls after July 15. This is a nonpartisan activity designed to help people renew their registrations if they failed to respond to the postcard the WEC sent them in June and July. Those interested in tackling this challenge should sign up to be notified when the phone bank becomes available some time early in August.