Organizers, La Crosse Democrats rally to push for fair Wisconsin redistricting maps

Under Wisconsin law, the Republican-controlled Legislature draws the boundary lines for both congressional and state districts

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Fair maps.

That was the main message from organizers at a rally in Cameron Park Friday.

Organizers of RepresentUs, a nonpartisan organization, as well as local Democrats and other residents, are in La Crosse calling for gerrymandering to end.

“The maps have been designed in a way that favor one party over another,” RepresentUs-Wisconsin organizer Connor Glassen said. “And that is, in effect, political corruption at work.”

Under Wisconsin law, the majority party in the Legislature draws the boundary lines for both congressional and state districts.

District boundaries are redrawn every decade to meet the latest changes in population.

Those maps will determine voting boundaries.

But critics of the map-making process say current maps drawn by Republican lawmakers in 2011 favored the GOP.

More than a decade later, Republicans are still in control of the legislature, which means they would draw the new maps.

“Our concern is that we’re not really looking at balance anymore,” Democratic State Rep. Steve Doyle said. “What we’re looking at is polarization.”

Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the new GOP-drawn maps, sending the border battle to court.

Justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments this week.

“We’re not in a situation, at least nobody made this argument, that the governor’s maps, or BLOC’s maps, or others…are illegal or unconstitutional,” Justice Brian Hagedorn said during the hearing Wednesday.

Glassen says he wants the voters to decide who gets the seat in each district, instead of those in power.

“We have maps that are essentially already decided for the most part,” Glassen said.

Democratic State Sen. Brad Pfaff said rallies like this one help get the word out.

“It demonstrates the fact that people do care, that people are following this process,” Pfaff said.

But voters likely won’t have a say this time around.

The case will ultimately be decided in the courts.

News 8 Now did reach out to several local Republican lawmakers — including Loren Oldenburg, Patrick Testin and Nancy VanderMeer — for interviews about the rally.

But they were either not available for comment or did not get back to us.

In a statement, La Crosse County Republican Party chairman Bill Feehan said, “We only need to look at the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission to see how bad things could be with another state agency tasked with drawing maps. Everything gets tied up in the courts and a simple thing like removing registrations for voters who have moved can’t be accomplished.”

The majority of state legislatures draw redistricting lines for their respective states.

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