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Plaintiff in a redistricting lawsuit to speak in Genoa
Vernon Cty DP

GENOA - A plaintiff in Wisconsin’s lawsuit challenging the state’s 2011 redistricting plan will speak at a Community Supper in Genoa Wednesday, July 19.

“I’ve always voted, and with the last redistricting suddenly I felt I have no voice,” said plaintiff Emily Bunting of Viola. “It’s one of a lot of upsetting things happening in Wisconsin that are affecting my community.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case in October, following a lower court’s 2-1 opinion that the state’s 2011 Assembly redistricting plan was a partisan Gerrymander, which guarantees a Republican majority in the state Assembly “in any likely electoral scenario.”  

“We are really excited that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear the case,” Bunting said. “The lawyers are working at getting seats for many of us (plaintiffs) who want to be there.” 

Packing and cracking are Gerrymandering methods used to skew elections to one party or another, she said, noting that she lives in a strip down the edge of western Richland County that got ‘cracked’ into Grant County, skewing the vote to favor Republican candidates. Packing voters of one party into homogenous areas limits the scope of their votes; cracking disperses the vote thinly and widely so they don’t count, she said. “When we were cracked, our voting influence was dispersed.”

Betty Kruck, Vernon County Democratic Party Issues Committee chair, will present information on the state’s 2011 redistricting.

“Done in secret by the Republican-controlled Legislature, it annexed and isolated Democrats into fewer and illogically contorted districts, resulting in state elections skewed toward Republicans….,” the committee’s report says. 

Redistricting reform bills, calling for a fair and open process based on a non-partisan model used in Iowa since 1981, were introduced in the state legislature this January, according to the report.  “If enacted, Wisconsin’s future state legislative and congressional district boundaries would be drawn by a nonpartisan legislative state agency without any regard to partisan political considerations.”

The Community Supper, held by the Vernon County Democratic Party, will be at 5:30 p.m. in Genoa Village Park. The park is located between Highway 35 and Water Street, with entrance on Water Street, one block east of Highway 35. If coming west on Highway 56, cross Main Street, which becomes Water Street. The supper is free and open to the public. Burgers, brats, lemonade, salads and desserts will be provided. Those attending may bring a dish to pass if they wish.