Sunday, September 17, 2023

Cheating to win elections: Wisconsin GOP attempts to defend the indefensible use of cracking and packing in drawing legislative districts (Kenosha, part 1)

Diluting the urban vote.  
Most Kenosha County residents live east of the I (Interstate 94, orange line in map below).  The combined population of the City of Kenosha, Village of Somers, Town of Somers, and Village of Pleasant Prairie is 131,500, which is 78% of the Kenosha County total of 170,000 .  In other words, the area east of the I is large enough to accommodate more than 2 Assembly districts.  Yet the GOP chose to configure a district that allows the more conservative west of the I portion of the county to wag the dog.
Amanda Nedweski (R-Pleasant Prairie) has represented the 61st District since January 2023.  In November 2022 she defeated her Democratic opponent by 28 percentage points.

Headline:  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/11/2023
Map:  Wisconsin State Legislature (box and arrow added)

Somehow, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Tyler Katzenberger can write an article about legislative district without mentioning 'gerrymandering', 'packing', and 'cracking'.  

It's called journalistic malpractice.

The UW Applied Population Lab defines 'cracking' as 
drawing districts in such a way as to divide a concentration of specific types of voters across several districts such that they are a minority in each one, with practically no hope of achieving representation in any of the districts. This practice also helps make districts less competitive.
Th UW Applied Population Lab defines 'packing' as 
the practice of drawing particular districts in such a way as to ensure that another party's candidate wins that seat by a tremendous margin. Although the opposing party is all but guaranteed the seat, packing makes surrounding districts less competitive, and thus tips the balance of power in the legislative body overall toward the ruling party.

Meet the leaders of the packing and cracking brigade!

Wouldn't you rather have this diverse group in the majority?

Related reading:

Kenosha News, 5/9/2022
Gerrymandering refers to the centuries-old practice of lawmakers redrawing legislative boundaries after each U.S. Census to advantage their own party. Legislatures dominated by both Republicans and Democrats do it, although some states have assigned mapmaking to nonpartisan commissions. 
In the latest round of redistricting, in which rulings from the conservative state and U.S. supreme courts allowed Republican legislative maps to prevail, Wisconsin’s Assembly skew got even worse than last decade, when it was already one of the most lopsided in the nation.

Other posts in the series:

See also:  Cheating to Win

See also:  Spotlight on Wisconsin gerrymandering

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