A new poll finds that 72 percent of Wisconsin voters – including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents – want a nonpartisan commission to draw the state’s legislative and congressional districts. Only 18 percent of respondents to the poll, which was commissioned by Marquette University, prefer the legislature and governor to oversee the process.
Wisconsin has one of the most heavily gerrymandered political maps in the country — one that has allowed the Republican party to maintain a disproportionate advantage in the state legislature, even though the statewide vote has split roughly down the middle.
Analyses by the Brennan Center and others show how lawmakers can manipulate the redistricting process for partisan gain and to marginalize communities of color. Independent redistricting commissions could help make the mapping process fairer and more transparent. In order to be effective, the commission must be designed to promote independence and incentivize discussion and compromise.
Overall, Americans are strongly in favor of efforts to reform how states conduct redistricting. In 2018, voters in five states — Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah — put limits on extreme partisan gerrymandering. These measures were popular with both Democratic and Republican voters, a Brennan Center analysis showed.
We need to reform the redistricting process — because every voice should be heard, and every vote should count equally. Voters in Wisconsin and across the country are ready for it.