Friday, September 29, 2023

Cheating to win elections: Wisconsin GOP defends the use of cracking and packing in drawing legislative districts (City of Eau Claire part 2)

Diluting the Democratic vote in Eau Claire, part 2    

The 68th Assembly District includes portions of Chippewa (gray box), Eau Claire (green box), and Clark counties (red box), with Clark, one of Wisconsin's most conservative counties, taking up the largest chunk.   (The orange box is the area where the City of Eau Claire has been packed and cracked.)

It bears repeating.  With a population of 104,000, Eau Claire County has enough residents to fill nearly two Assembly districts.  It doesn't deserve to be sliced and diced as has happened with this latest round of GOP gerrymandering.

Karen Hurd (R-Fall Creek) has represented the district since January 2023.   In November 2022, she defeated her Democratic opponent by 20 percentage points.

Headline:  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/11/2023

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:

Urban Milwaukee, 7/25/2023
It’s time to create a Wisconsin Model of independent redistricting that works for our particular dynamics and diversity. We can learn much from other states and cities with independent redistricting models, but we aren’t Iowa, nor are we Michigan. We do have the same need to modernize how we draw district lines so voters can choose their elected officials instead of political parties choosing their voters. 
Computer programs draw maps in minutes, utilizing oceans of data to form perfectly gerrymandered maps. Information is collected about your purchasing habits, groups you belong to, if and where you attend church, your interests and your profession. This data collection isn’t going away, but we can harness it to form competitive districts that motivate candidates to win your vote based on their values, rather than their political affiliation.  [emphasis added]

Other posts in the series:

See also:  Wisconsin Gerrymandering Spotlight, round 2

See also:  Spotlight on Wisconsin gerrymandering

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