Monday, August 19, 2013

Choosing Who Chooses

Senator Mary Lazich insists there is no need for redistricting reform. This is noteworthy because she chairs the committee that is sitting on legislation to overhaul the redistricting process in Wisconsin that closely mirrors the system in place in Iowa.

Lazich dismisses Iowa's nonpartisan approach to redistricting as "nonsense" and cites one study that speculates “taking redistricting out of the hands of a unified legislature and giving it to a bipartisan or judicial commission could result in less competitive elections.”

She overlooks the fact that of Iowa's four U.S. House districts, two rank among the 20 most competitive of the country's 435 congressional districts. None of Wisconsin's eight House districts ranked among the 50 most competitive. In 2012, none of Wisconsin's congressional elections were competitive. All were won by double-digit margins.

The senator also overlooks the fact that in Wisconsin's 2012 elections one party collectively won the most votes for U.S. House, state Senate and state Assembly, but the other party won the most seats in all three legislative bodies.

The way redistricting is handled currently in Wisconsin badly weakens voters, thwarts the public's will, and virtually cements in place those already holding office. It's good for the politicians and bad for the voting public.

It's no surprise Senator Lazich is fond of the way it works now. But if your idea of democracy involves having citizens in the driver's seat, partisan redistricting done by elected officials is pure poison.

A simple choice has to be made. We either can have voters choosing representatives, or representatives choosing voters. If you are OK with the latter, then Senator Lazich is showing the way. If you prefer the former, then we need the reform embodied in Senate Bill 163 and Assembly Bill 185 in the worst way.


Anonymous said...

Nice post. However, since it seems these days elected officials don't think or act for themselves very often (never?) then it's really not the representatives choosing the voters, it's the Think Tanks and Ad men doing the choosing. Oh yeah, and Mike Tate, let's not forget Mike Tate. He's fashionable no matter what the occasion...the Little Black Dress of blog commentary in WI.

clyde said...

In a democratic republic the people are sovereign. The people - not the political parties - are sovereign. The people - not corporations - are sovereign. However, the United States of America does not have government that is of, by, and for the people. We have government that is by and for the corporations and the super-rich. The USA is not a true democratic republic. And the protections of the people's inherent rights and sovereignty that are written into the founding document - our Constitution - have been increasingly violated and voided. The result is that both the inherent rights and sovereignty of the people, and the legitimate responsibilities of the people's government, have been usurped by amassed corporate power, with the collusion and full cooperation of the leadership of both permitted political parties, the judiciary, and the corporate mass media.
We, the people, are truly "on our own" and at their mercy, if we continue blindly down this road.