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Redistricting: Taking It to the Virtual Streets

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Friday, September 24, 2021   

HUDSON, Wis. -- A day-long virtual lobby session will be led Monday by Wisconsin's Fair Maps Coalition, so people can share their concerns with state lawmakers as redistricting takes shape.

They will also push for a bill calling for an independent commission to oversee the process in the future. While it is too late for the current effort, organizers said they hope it conveys the need for fairness before maps are finalized.

Bob Maline, a volunteer at the grassroots group Western Wisconsin for Nonpartisan Voting Districts from Hudson, feels a growing sense among the public to end gerrymandering.

"There's just more awareness of it this year," Maline observed. "Even from people that don't pay a lot of attention to politics, there is a momentum in the air that does give me hope for real balance this year."

Following redistricting a decade ago, Wisconsin Republicans were criticized for producing maps to give their party electoral advantages. They control the process again.

Party leaders have offered an online tool for the public to submit suggestions. They are also being asked to factor in maps from a non-binding, independent commission created by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Maline pointed out it is possible Evers could veto maps approved by Republicans and the matter would be settled by the courts. In the meantime, he noted the lobby day is a way for Wisconsin voters, who want politics removed from the process, to share why they think changes are needed.

"Having a process that's the same every decade, that both parties can support, and remove one more piece of, you know, fuel for the fire, that's what this represents to me," Maline emphasized.

Organizers said they are continuing to book appointments with legislators and their staff members, so they can hear from participants. Maline added lawmakers from both major parties have agreed to join the discussion.


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