The contentious task of redistricting is looming for Wisconsin lawmakers, and one observer of state politics believes it’s well past time for reform. Once the November elections are decided, it will be up to the Wisconsin legislature to draw up new boundaries for its own districts and for the state’s House seats in Washington, in a process which Jay Heck with Common Cause in Wisconsin calls “utterly ridiculous.”
“All of the seats are decided by the legislative leadership behind closed doors, using millions of dollars of taxpayer money to pay lawyers, so that the legislative leaders can come up with drawing seats that are not competitive and utterly safe,” said Heck. Heck said it’s “a disgrace” that only about twenty legislative seats are truly competitive, and the process needs to be reformed “from the outside in.”
“Other states are doing this and Wisconsin really needs to start moving on it now, because otherwise we’ll go to the end of the 2010 elections and begin this redistricting process, and we’ll do it exactly the same way we’ve done it for years,” Heck explained. “And by the way whenever that happens it ends up going to the courts.” Which, Heck said, ends up costing taxpayers millions of dollars. We needn’t look far for a better system: Heck said Iowa does an excellent job with the process.