Residents of Racine have been packed into a blatant example of gerrymandering in a state widely recognized as having some of the most gerrymandered voting districts in the country. Ignoring state law that mandates legislative maps avoid crossing county and municipal boundaries where practical, Senate Districts 21 and 22 group together the cities of Racine and Kenosha in one district and the counties in another. These maps were created to secure the positions of the politicians who drew them and to serve the special interests of their donors, not to serve the many common, overlapping interests of city and county residents.
The current maps, drawn in 2011 under strict secrecy, allow lawmakers to disregard the will of the people on a number of issues that are supported by a majority of Wisconsin residents both Republican and Democratic. Expanding Medicare, action on climate change, criminal justice reform and, ironically, nonpartisan redistricting itself are all favored by a majority of Wisconsin residents, yet action on these broadly supported goals are obstructed by those too safe in their gerrymandered districts to actually enact the will of the majority.
We now have a once in a decade chance to fix this distortion of democracy which reduces competition and allows elected officials to choose their voters. Adopting a nonpartisan redistricting process, as other states have successfully done, is the best way to repair the broken, winner takes all politics of Wisconsin where compromise and cooperation have withered.