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40 percent of state uncompetitive due to gerrymandering

Jay Heck, Common Cause

With the passing of the June 1 deadline for candidate filings for state legislative and congressional seats in Wisconsin, we now have a clearer picture of how just how incredibly uncompetitive Wisconsin’s general elections have become due to gerrymandering.

“Congratulations” to state Senators-elect: Darling, Miller, Stroebel, Wirch, Risser and Craig! You have won already!

Those six, of the 16 State senators running for re-election (or in an open seat) this year, are totally unopposed.

Of Wisconsin’s 99 Assembly seats, more than one-third (34) have incumbents with no opponents in November. There are 17 unopposed Republicans and 17 unopposed Democrats. In an additional six Assembly districts, Republican or Democratic incumbents face only minor party opposition.

That means that in over 40 percent of Wisconsin Assembly elections this fall, there is either none or very little opposition to incumbents — or, in the case of open seats, to the current political party now holding that seat.

Here is the complete listing of candidates for state legislative and congressional districts for both the August primaries and November general election.

This situation is due to the most hyper-partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts in our state history in 2011. Wisconsin also has among the most extreme gerrymandered maps in the nation’s history. Wisconsin voters have far fewer choices than ever before in general elections and the fewest districts on record that can even remotely be considered competitive.
The need for fair voter maps and for an end to partisan gerrymandering has never been more compelling.

GOP state Rep. Dave Martin, who represented Neenah-Menasha from 1961 to 1971, made a compelling case for why Republicans should embrace a non-partisan redistricting process like Iowa has had since 1980. You can read it in this opinion-editorial published June 5 in 10 Gannett-owned Wisconsin daily newspapers.

You can help elevate the need for fair voter maps in Wisconsin by signing (only if you have not yet done so) our petition to the Wisconsin Legislature demanding enactment into law of the Iowa redistricting model for Wisconsin in the next legislative session. Our goal is to get 5,000 signatures by December and we have almost 2,000 now, but we need your help in reaching our goal.
Thank you. Never surrender!

Jay Heck is the executive director of Common Cause. Visit the group’s website at www.commoncusewisconsin.org

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