Imagine every time the Packers scored a touchdown, they only got four points instead of six. You’d probably say that’s not fair. But that’s how your votes for the legislators in Wisconsin are tallied.
Statewide elections are always close in Wisconsin. Biden won in 2020 by less than 1% of the total votes cast. But in the legislature, it was a landslide.
Republicans took about two-thirds of the seats in both the Assembly and the Senate, leaving the Democrats with only one-third. How can this be?
Imagine a football version of the 2020 election. Say each team managed to score six touchdowns and were tied at 36 each. A final field goal gave the game to Biden, 39 to 36.
Because of gerrymandering, the Assembly and Senate elections aren’t so close. In their game, Republicans effectively get six points for each touchdown and Democrats only get four. In 2020 and in 2018, in spite of nearly equal votes from each party statewide, Dems lost in the legislature, 36 to 24. In our fantasy game, they won only one-third of the seats.
Wisconsinites actually like to play fair. This year, 80% of voters across the state wanted to eliminate gerrymandering with fair maps. But the conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court ignored the will of the people and kept the old maps from 2011 for another ten years.
How can a Democratic legislator win? It’s tough.
That’s why Republican legislators don’t have to campaign very hard. You rarely hear from them once they’re in office. They usually win in their districts, no matter what.
Of course, you don’t have to be a Democrat to vote for a Democrat. If you do your research and find out what the candidates are actually going to do for your district and then go to the polls and vote for your choice, your Democratic candidates have a fighting chance to give you the service you deserve – in spite of gerrymandering.
Game day is Nov. 8.
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