Friday, September 22, 2023

Cheating to win elections: Wisconsin GOP attempts to defend the indefensible use of cracking and packing in drawing legislative districts (Packing Racine, part 2)

Diluting the urban vote in southeastern Wisconsin, part 3.    

Most of the district is located west of the I, even though most of Racine County's residents lives east of the I.  The combined population of the City of Racine and villages of Caledonia, Elmwood Park, Mount Pleasant, North Bay, Sturtevant, and Wind Point is 138,000, which is 70% of the Racine County total of 196,000.  

In other words, the area east of the I is large enough to accommodate more than 2 Assembly districts.  (An average district contains about 59,000 residents.)  Yet again, the GOP chose to configure a district that allows the more conservative west of the I portion of the county to wag the dog.  (The orange line show the north-south route of I-94.)

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) has represented the district since January 2005.  In November 2022, he defeated his Democratic challenger by 58 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?  They support fair maps.

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.  [emphasis added]

Other posts in the series:

See also:  Wisconsin Gerrymandering Spotlight, round 2

See also:  Spotlight on Wisconsin gerrymandering

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