DARLINGTON – Another hot topic in Lafayette County has been the nonpartisan redistricting maps and the resolution to conduct a countywide referendum asking citizens if they are in favor of fair district maps or gerrymandering
At the Executive, Rules and Legislative Committee meeting on Sept. 25, the board voted 3-1 to oppose the fair maps referendum.
Supervisor Kriss Marion, the creator of this discussion, felt this was another topic that many constituents had strong feelings about.
“People are interested in fair maps, something other than gerrymandered maps after the census. A referendum is how people can express their wants to the state. We should give our people a chance to weigh in on if they want fair maps or gerrymandered maps,” said Marion.
Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and Rep. Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa) introduced companion bills to adopt the Iowa Model for Wisconsin with Senate Bill 288 and Assembly Bill 303. They are co-sponsored by representatives from our area, Rep. Todd Novak (R-Dodgeville) and Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City).
In Iowa, career civil servants – and not the leaders of the party in power – draw the district maps. The process has worked well in Iowa and last year Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah have adopted a fair maps process.
During public comment, one person spoke up stating, “No matter which party is in power, drawing legislative districts by a single party rigs the political game. It deprives voters of any real choice. This will reclaim democracy. Seventy-two percent of Wisconsinites want fair. We are tired of not being represented at the state capital. I would love to see the board join the other 48 counties in allowing this referendum.”
Executive Committee Chairman Tony Ruesga stated that this has been discussed a lot.
“My opinion is we should approve this and move it onto county board so that all 16 of us can look at it since it is a hot topic. Everyone that has contacted me is in favor of it,” Ruesga said.
Jack Sauer felt the procedure they have now and they and the districts the county has for our representatives in Lafayette County is a problem.
Larry Ludlum said his opinion has not changed.
“I made a motion last time to not allow this resolution. The cost will be over $3,000. Our clerks will be over burdened next year with at least four elections. With the budget we have right now, I don’t think we can add this. I don’t think it is necessary,” Ludlum said.
Ludlum then made a motion to oppose the resolution with Jack Wiegel seconding. The motion passed 3-1 with Ruesga against.