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When you went to the polls earlier this month, you might have been under the impression that your vote counted in selecting your representatives to the state Assembly.

Sadly, in Wisconsin, you don’t get to pick your representatives anymore. They pick you.

They do it by drawing up the voting maps every 10 years after the U.S. Census, ostensibly to account for changes in populations, but in practice to herd voters into districts or thin them out in order to maximize the political power of their own party.

Democrats have done it in the past and Republicans held sway after the 2010 Census and redrew the maps — in private using sophisticated voter analysis data — to maximize their clout and hold on to control of the state Senate and Assembly.

Boy, were they effective.

In the mini-blue wave that swept the state in this month’s election, Democrats were able to edge Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker out of office and sweep races for the U.S. Senate, attorney general, state treasurer and secretary of state.

The Dems also piled up a strong margin in the total votes for Assembly candidates, amassing 1,306,922 votes for Democratic candidates compared to 1,102,721 for Republican Assembly candidates.

With those numbers, common sense would seem to dictate that the Assembly would then be fairly evenly divided and the old concept of bipartisan cooperation and consensus lawmaking might once again settle over the State Capitol.

No. Thanks to the cracking and packing of voting districts, Republicans — even though they garnered just 45 percent of total statewide votes — will hold on to almost two-thirds control of the Assembly with a margin of 63 to 36.

The impact of your vote on Assembly races was clearly a dull thud. With its gerrymandering of voting districts it was the Republicans who picked their voters and not vice-versa.

The non-competitive Assembly races this year come even as the gerrymandered redistricting maps drawn in 2011 continue to wade their way through the court system after Democrats challenged their constitutionality. After seven years, that challenge made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court this past summer, but was then tossed back to lower courts on a procedural issue. It may still be lingering in the courts when Wisconsin redraws its maps again before the 2022 election.

With the selection of a Democrat governor, Tony Evers, the process next time will be slightly different. Republicans will still get to draw the maps, but if Evers doesn’t agree with them and vetoes the next redistricting plan that could end up in another round of court fights or the federal courts drawing the maps. Clearly, the voting public is getting tired of these hyper-partisan shenanigans — played by both parties — that ultimately disenfranchise voters and run up legal bills.

In the November elections, four Wisconsin counties — Winnebago, Sauk, Eau Claire and Lincoln — overwhelmingly approved referendums supporting a change to nonpartisan redistricting reform with backing of 70 percent of the voters. That echoes previous votes by more than half the county boards in the state. Wisconsin is not alone in the reform effort — Colorado, Missouri, Utah and Michigan all passed citizen-led redistricting reform referendums this month.

Voters — here and elsewhere — need to reclaim their voting rights and stop politicians and political parties from stacking the deck on Election Day.

We want a fresh deck and a new deal, one with fair maps and competitive voting districts.

Voters — here and elsewhere — need to reclaim their voting rights and stop politicians and political parties from stacking the deck on Election Day.

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