Every ten years, there’s a battle in the Legislature over how district lines across the state will be drawn and one candidate for governor says it needs to end.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says it’s a process that always ends up in court, and results in districts that never see competitive elections. He says the system sets up partisan battles to protect incumbents.
The Democratic candidate for governor is proposing a new method for drawing Congressional and legislative district lines. Barrett wants to allow redistricting plans to be submitted to the Government Accountability Board, which would make a final recommendation to lawmakers.
The GAB would be charged with keeping those proposals open to the public, determining whether the new district lines would create competitive races in as many new districts as possible, and checking to ensure they follow the federal Voting Rights Act.
If the Legislature can’t reach a consensus on the plan offered by the GAB, Barrett’s plan would leave the final decision up to the retired judges that make up the board.
The state begins the process of redistricting early next year.
Barrett offered his proposal after dropping off his nominating papers Monday at the GAB offices in Madison. Barrett says he collected over 16,000 signatures, although only the 2,000 are needed to appear on the ballot.