Democrats in the state Assembly want to put redistricting reform before the voters. Representative Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) is taking the lead on the plan to put the idea before voters in a statewide, non-binding referendum. Wachs said Tuesday that they’ll work to convince Republicans who control the Assembly that this is a good idea.
“We will call them, we will speak to them on the floor, we will meet with them in their offices,” he said. “Who the politicians are – the people get to decide that. That’s who needs to control this effort.”
A similar plan was advanced by former Representative Spencer Black several years ago when Democrats had control of the legislature, but leadership did nothing to support it and Black’s proposal failed to advance.
“We weren’t here (at the time),” said Wachs, referring to 14 Assembly Democrats who were elected for the first time in 2012. Redistricting happens every ten years and is currently awarded to the party that controls the legislature – a process that can be manipulated to partisan advantage. “I think it’s time for manipulations to come to an end,” said Wachs
Newspaper editorial boards and political watchdog groups have been calling for non-partisan redistricting reform, but that’s fallen on deaf ears with Republican leaders in the legislature.
“If they are not willing to take up this issue, and find some sort of compromise, than it is time for us to take it to the voters,” said Representative Mandy Wright (D-Wausau).