Saturday, September 30, 2023

Cheating to win elections: Wisconsin GOP defends the use of cracking and packing in drawing legislative districts (City of Stevens Point)

Diluting the Democratic vote in Steven Point 

The indefensibly drawn 70th district sprawls from northeast to southwest across 5 counties:  Portage (gray box), Wood (black), Jackson (orange), Monroe (red), and La Crosse (green).

Nothing compact about, as it stretches on a diagonal across "communities of interest" for 111 miles.

Get-along-to-go-along Nancy VanderMeer (R-Tomah) has represented the district since January 2015.  In November 2022, she defeated her Democratic challenger by 32 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:

PBS Wisconsin, 11/4/2021
For decades, Portage County was part of the 7th Congressional District, which spans Wisconsin’s Northwoods. In 2011, Republicans in control of the state’s redistricting process decided to put it in the 3rd Congressional District, changing its shape by having a branch reach out and up from its trunk along the Mississippi River and connect to the center of the state. 
The reason was political. Anchored by the communities of Stevens Point and Plover, which together comprise over half of its population, Portage County has voted for Democrats up and down the ticket for decades. In 2011, District 7 Congressional was home to freshman incumbent Rep. Sean Duffy, a Republican, who had flipped an open seat vacated upon the retirement of a Democrat who had previously held it for over 40 years. State Republicans then moved Portage County into the District 3 seat, held by Democratic Rep. Ron Kind. The switch shifted the county’s voters, with its majority of Democrats, into Kind’s district and away from Duffy’s.  [emphasis added]

Other posts in the series:

See also:  Wisconsin Gerrymandering Spotlight, round 2

See also:  Spotlight on Wisconsin gerrymandering

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