Add a Nonpartisan Redistricting Referendum to the April, 2021 Ballot

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To: Polk County Board & General Government Committee Members

Gerrymandering is a tool used by both political parties to maximize their legislative representation despite the will of the voters. Gerrymandered districts are characterized by irregular shapes that deviate from municipal lines and pack voters of the same political party together, resulting in uncompetitive elections. That is why many states have authorized nonpartisan commissions to draw new district lines every 10 years. However, Wisconsin still leaves this task up to the state legislature, giving the majority party an opportunity to skew results of future elections to their own advantage.

“We’re at a place now in this country where voters are not picking their representatives anymore. Representatives, through the gerrymandering process and redistricting, are picking their voters.”
- Former Republican Wisconsin Congressman Reid Ribble, 2013

There are several problems with the current partisan redistricting process:

  • VOTER DISENFRANCHISEMENT 
  • UNCOMPETITIVE RACES
  • EXTREME PARTISANSHIP 
  • VOTER AND CANDIDATE CONFUSION 
  • UNNECESSARY EXPENSE

Reference: Wisconsin Farmers Union Policy Brief: Nonpartisan Redistricting

Why do We Need to Address Gerrymandering Now?

Wisconsin redraws their legislative and congressional maps every 10 years after the census in order to account for population changes. Wisconsin will be redrawing their maps in 2021 and we have the chance to change how they're drawn!

What can Polk County do to End Gerrymandering?
Polk county residents can show their support for nonpartisan redistricting by voting for an Advisory Referendum in our April 2021 election. But we can't vote for the referendum unless it is on our ballot.

I am one of many Polk county residents who are concerned about gerrymandering in Wisconsin. I am asking you, the Polk County Board and General Government Committee, to put an advisory referendum on the spring ballot asking for a non-partisan procedure to redistrict our legislative and congressional maps.

I trust that as a local government representative, you have respect for democracy and will take this issue seriously and give the people in our county a chance to weigh in on Wisconsin’s district maps.