Fifty Three to Fifty Six: Redistricting in 2010

Friday, February 16, 2007

Redistricting in 2010

Linked here is an informative (and short) piece from the Legislative Reference Bureau by Michael Keane on the redistricting process in Wisconsin and the US. Most notibly are the following:

-- Compactness. It is generally considered desirable for districts to be as compact as possible, that is, centered on an area, rather than made in irregular shapes that bring far-flung interests together in the same district.
This is interesting when looking at Carol Owen's 53rd Assembly District, which reaches North of Oshkosh, West past Omro, and down South to Waupan and East past Fond du Lac to the Far Side of Lake Winnebago. See her district here.


-- The increasingly partisan atmosphere surrounding redistricting— and the charge of "partisan gerrymandering" creating districts that do not produce competitive elections—has resulted in calls for the redistricting task to be taken over by nonpartisan commissions. Two states, California and Ohio, have recently scheduled referenda on the subject.

If Wisconsin implemented nonpartisan commissions for redistricting, it could be for the state and federal seats. While it could be said that Wisconsin is not so bad, removing the responsibility from partisan officials and politicians, an opportunity is provided to engage citizens in civic participation in the government, as well as creating / maintaining districts that make sense and don't attempt to avoid political discourse.


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