Article IV, Section 4 of the Wisconsin Constitution requires state legislative districts to be "bounded by county, precinct, town or ward lines, to consist of contiguous territory and be in as compact form as practicable."
A contiguous district is one where all parts of the district are connected to each other. In other words, a district where you can travel from any point in the district without crossing the district boundary.
The map for the 78th Assembly District in Madison proposed under the Republican redistricting plan that is set to sail through both houses of the Legislature this week is one example of line drawing that clearly does not meet that constitutional standard.
There are numerous islands floating inside the 78th district that are in fact attached to the 47th, 79th and 80th districts.
It certainly is possible to draw new districts that don't take constitutional requirements like contiguity with a grain of salt. The Democracy Campaign demonstrated that it could be done in the alternative redistricting plan we put forward.
Our plan also does not unnecessarily divide communities like Sheboygan, Marshfield and Beloit into different senate districts the way the GOP plan does. Nor does it divide little towns like Clintonville into two different assembly districts. Or DeForest into three. Or West Allis into four.
It is possible to account for population changes in Wisconsin that have occurred over the last decade without splitting up communities and without playing fast and loose with constitutional obligations . . . if you are not setting out to create distinctly Republican and Democratic districts.