Redistricting the aim for Fair Elections Project

Published: Jun. 22, 2017 at 8:25 PM CDT
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The debate over redistricting in Wisconsin will be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court later this fall, but one group is hoping for legislative changes ahead of an eventual ruling.

The Fair Elections Project is making the push to ask legislators in Madison to construct maps more in tune with non-partisan viewpoints.

“We can change our behavior in our politics in a way that can be fair to all Wisconsin citizens, Sachin Chheda, the director of the Fair Elections Project, said to WEAU 13 News on Thursday. “We're asking community citizens to tell their legislators, tell the media, write an op-ed, and have your voice be heard.

"The legislature can change the way that it draws the maps. It can make a decision to draw fair maps right now. It can decide to do those things in an open and transparent process - which is the opposite of what they did in 2011, when they used a secret and corrupt process to rig the map."

The push for redistricting at the state level stems from the plan in 2011 to redraw Wisconsin’s 99 assembly and 33 senate districts. Even before the plan was approved, however, opponents of those new districts filed lawsuits, claiming the changes were made in a partisan nature.

But while the group aims to remove partisan views in redistricting, Mike Conlin, the chair of the Eau Claire County Republican Party, said partisanship is unavoidable when it comes to drawing district maps.

"I'm not so certain that this is always a bad thing. I really don't. I mean sometimes it is - granted. But I'm not so sure, in general,” Conlin said to WEAU 13 News on Thursday. “If they don't govern well, they are going to be booted out of office. There is much more likely chance of them being booted out of office right now then if they did then it by random chance."