By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Letter to the editor: Time to reform redistricting process
Placeholder Image
From George Vernon


To the editor:

Congratulations and a sincere thank-you to Monroe's Republican Assembly Rep. Todd Novak for a rare act of statesmanship coming out of Madison. What, you say, Mr. Novak is not your Assembly representative? Maybe not, because Monroe, like many other Wisconsin communities, has been sliced up into separate Assembly districts in order to promote the partisan agenda of the Republican Party. Democrats have done the same in states where they are the majority - for example, Illinois.

Politicians elected from partisan districts have no incentive to reach give-and-take compromises with "the enemy" lest they lose the support of their own party's bosses. So either nothing gets done (Illinois gridlock) or everything that gets done is supported unanimously by one party and opposed unanimously by the other.

This is a poor way to serve the public interest. As the Green Bay Press Gazette said in a recent editorial: "We can think of no quicker way to discourage people from voting than to rig the outcome by drawing up congressional and legislative boundaries that overwhelmingly favor one party. It totally trashes the principle of one person, one vote - which is the very basis for redistricting every 10 years." It's ironic that the U.S. spends so much time and billions of dollars to promote democracy everywhere else in the world, yet won't lift a finger to make democracy work better at home.

Wisconsin's legislative districts are due to be redrawn after the 2020 census. Nobody knows which party will control the legislature in 2020. If reform of the system is ever going to happen, the time to do it is now. Wisconsin Democrats (naturally the party currently in the minority) have introduced bills to revise post-2020 redistricting in a system like Iowa's in which an independent commission draws geographically compact districts that are not tailored to ensure the re-election of incumbent pols. But that brings us back to Rep. Novak, the one brave Republican soul on record supporting this cause. Several other Republicans are said to be considering joining in. If they do so, they will earn the praise of the editorial boards of the major newspapers in the state, the League of Women Voters and many other non-partisan and bi-partisan groups. I'm no Republican, but Rep. Novak deserves our support and our votes for taking up this cause.

Sen. Marklein, where are you?