Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Redistricting in Wisconsin: The Basics (with Links to Detailed Information)

Who are my elected representatives?

It's a commonly fielded reference question at public libraries.

And it's likely to become a more frequently asked question as we approach the spring 2012 elections.

Why is that?  

As is done every 10 years, the lines of legislative districts have been redrawn for all of us -- at all 4 levels of representation:  federal, state, county, and local.   Legislation creating these redistricting plans was passed by the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly and signed by the Governor Walker earlier this year.

Federal  2011 Wisconsin Act 44.
For background, see RGD post, "Legislative Redistricting in Wisconsin, Part 1: Introduction and the 8 Congressional Districts".

State:  2011 Wisconsin Act. 43.
For background, perhaps more than you care to digest, see RGD post, "Legislative Redistricting in Wisconsin, Part 2: Introduction (Repeated from Part 1) and the 132 State Districts".

A lawsuit challenging the redistricting was dismissed in federal court on October 21, 2011.

A helpful online resource.  The "Who Are My Legislators?" feature at the Wisconsin State Legislature website now provides links to both the current and previous districts.

Here are the results when I type in my street address, city, and zip code.

After residing in the 26th Senate District and 77th Assembly District since my wife and I moved to Middleton in 1986, we will now be represented by Jon Erpenbach, 27th Senate District, and Sondy Pope-Roberts, 79th Assembly District. (Sondy's representation, however, will be short-lived.)

Note that you'll find links to both the current and previous district maps at each legislator's homepage.

Unfortunately, the boundary changes in Wisconsin's 8 Congressional districts are not yet reflected here.

In addition, be sure to familiarize yourself with the redistricting plans that have been implemented at the county and local levels in your library's service area.  You can conduct these searches on your own, although I have to admit I'm not too happy with the results of the dozen or so sample searches I just made.  You may need to contact the appropriate county and local officials directly.    (I plan to talk to my alderperson about the minimal information -- and no redistricting map -- on the City of Middleton's website.  See page 2.)

[June 27, 2012, update.  Map is found here.]

So as you can see, with voter ID and reconfigured voting districts, there's a lot of new information to share.  Awareness and knowledge on the part of library staff are the keys to being effective in this area.

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