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home : opinions : letters to the editor
May 25, 2019

4/20/2019 7:30:00 AM
'Real democracy'

To the Editor:

There are a few simple principles of an authentic democracy. One person, one vote. Every vote is equal. And the people select their representatives, instead of politicians selecting their voters. But here in Wisconsin, politicians can carve the state into districts so they maximize their power and snub the will of people.

So in November 2018, 54 percent of voters voted for Democratic candidates for State Assembly, but Democrats ended up with only 36 of 99 seats. It's called gerrymandering. My goal here is not to have one party have more or less power. I would be writing this if the Democratic politicians were gerrymandering. My aim is to have a real democracy in our state.

On April 2, the citizens of Town of Newbold approved a referendum calling for fair maps with 68 percent of the vote. The same referendum was also passed in La Crosse County with 77 percent approval and in Vernon County with 71 percent approval. Six other counties have already approved such a ballot referendum, and 42 county boards have passed a resolution in support of fair maps.

The support for the end to partisan gerrymandering is widespread in Wisconsin. A recent Marquette Law School poll showed that 72 percent of Wisconsinites want to ban gerrymandering in Wisconsin. And that includes 63 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Independents.

The people want a real democracy and fair elections. But we won't have it until we have non-partisan redistricting. The state of Iowa has had fair maps for many years and it functions smoothly. The politicians of either party don't get to rig the system. And, unlike Wisconsin, politicians don't spend millions of taxpayers money defending an unfair system against legal challenges. I don't want my taxes going to that, do you?

But politicians love power so much, they aren't interested. The only way we will change the system is if the people demand it. That is why towns and counties deserve to have the fair maps referendum put on the ballot next spring. If your town and county supervisors support democracy, they will do that. But we need to demand that of them. Send them an email or call them. Let them know you want a full democracy.

David Barnhill


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