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Wisconsin

Gerrymandering keeps just a few legislative seats competitive

Mitch Reynolds

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Plenty of legislative seats appear on ballots across Wisconsin in Tuesday’s midterms.

Just a handful, however, have any suspense about who will win.

It’s one of the issues with the state’s very partisan redistricting process that groups like Common Cause in Wisconsin are trying to address.

“If you’re for changing the system and having a nonpartisan system, I think that’s going to be a benefit, because I think people understand that’s a much more fair way to elect people,” Common Cause executive director Jay Heck said.

Surprisingly, groups like Common Cause are making some headway, Heck added.

“If you’d asked me five years ago, ‘Would the average Wisconsinite know what the term gerrymandering or redistricting means?’ You’d either get a blank stare or yawn,” Heck said. “But we’ve seen over the last five years that people understand there are many districts in Wisconsin — nine out of 10 legislative districts — where there’s really not much competition.”

So far, 41 counties in Wisconsin have voted in favor of ending the state’s partisan redistricting process.

Four counties today will vote on ending the state’s current redistricting process, a process that was at the center of a recent high-profile U.S. Supreme Court case.