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4 Wisconsin Counties Now On Record Opposing Gerrymandering

Jefferson County Becomes Latest To Pass Resolution Calling For State Lawmakers To Draw Legislative Districts Without Favoring Democrats Or Republicans

A map of Wisconsin’s current state Assembly districts. Gilman Halsted/WPR

Four Wisconsin counties are now on record opposing gerrymandering.

Tuesday night, Jefferson County became the latest to pass a resolution calling for state lawmakers to draw legislative districts without trying to favor Democrats or Republicans.

Jefferson County Board Chairman Jim Schroeder joined the majority, which passed the resolution on a voice vote by a lopsided margin.

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“I voted yes,” Schroeder said, “because I believe that the people want a nonpartisan redistricting process. Indeed, I believe that the people want their public servants to behave as public servants, and not as Republicans or Democrats.”

Jefferson County joins Wood, Lincoln and Dunn counties in calling for the nonpartisan districts. In November, a federal court ruled Wisconsin’s Republican-drawn legislative map was unconstitutional.

All four of the counties supported Donald Trump by double-digit margins in the 2016 presidential election.

Hans Breitenmoser, a Democrat, introduced the gerrymander resolution in Lincoln County. His fellow board members passed it by an 18-to-4 vote March 21.

“Lincoln County isn’t necessarily a hotbed of liberalism,” Breitenmoser laughed.

He said his Republican colleagues understand gerrymandering could also hurt them.

“If you go from state to state to state, you see places where the Democrats have the upper hand, not because they’re legitimately getting more votes, but because of gerrymandering,” Breitenmoser said. “In Maryland and some other places, the maps would make Wisconsin politicians blush. So, Republicans get that.”

But Schroeder isn’t sure the Republican led state Legislature will heed the advice of the county boards.

“One can hope,” Schroeder said. “We don’t do this as an empty exercise. Even if we believe that the Legislature is not amenable to hearing that message, we’re going to send it anyway.”

Breitenmoser said he expects other Wisconsin counties to take up similar resolutions in the near future.

The state is appealing the federal court ruling.