A state watchdog group says a review of upcoming state legislative races shows just how non-competitive Wisconsin has become because of gerrymandering.
The candidates have filed their papers, and Jay Heck with Common Cause in Wisconsin says a review shows six of 16 state Senators and 34 of the 99 state Representatives up for re-election are running unopposed this fall. “That’s of grave concern, when we have a Legislature that’s supposed to be elected – not anointed and coordinated,” he said.
Prior to the 2011 redistricting, Heck said about 26 percent of Wisconsin’s legislative districts were considered competitive, where the margin of victory in most elections was within 10 points. Since the Republican-drawn maps were implemented though, that figure has fallen to about 10 percent. Heck said that means about 90 percent of the races in the state could be considered “blow outs.”
Common Cause and other election reform groups have long argued for a change in how Wisconsin does its legislative and Congressional redistricting every ten years. Currently, the majority party in each chamber controls the process, which the governor then approves. The 2011 redistricting has been the focus of multiple court battles, with one case that challenges the process Republicans used to draw the current maps awaiting a decision in federal court.
Heck favors having Wisconsin move to a non-partisan system for drawing district lines, which is used in Iowa. Majority Republicans have rejected previous attempts to make that change.