Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Lincoln Co. voters latest to ask for nonpartisan district line drawing; Tiffany believes maps are fairSubmitted: 11/09/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Lincoln Co. voters latest to ask for nonpartisan district line drawing; Tiffany believes maps are fair
MERRILL - In Tuesday's elections, 54 percent of people in Wisconsin voted for Democrats to represent them in the State Assembly.

But Republicans will hold nearly two-thirds of the seats in the chamber.

Those numbers were tallied by Wisconsin Voices. It's one of the groups blaming unfair district maps for the imbalance.

"Wisconsin happens to be a very gerrymandered state," said Merrill's Hans Breitenmoser Jr. "That's not exactly representative democracy."


Breitenmoser is a Lincoln County Board Supervisor. He pushed to get an advisory referendum on Tuesday's ballot in the county. Sixty-five percent of voters said the process for drawing district maps is unfair.

Republicans in power drew the district maps in 2011. Critics say those lines gave them an unfair advantage in elections.

"[People] don't trust political parties to do the right thing, and so, let's take the power away from those parties," Breitenmoser said.

Breitenmoser supports a nonpartisan method for drawing district lines, like the method Iowa has.

People in other parts of the state seem to agree. Lincoln County is the sixth in the state to pass an advisory referendum asking for nonpartisan redistricting. Forty-one of the state's 72 county boards have passed such a resolution.

"With this referendum, people are really getting behind the idea that we can do better," said Erin Grunze, the executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. "The process that we have now isn't working on behalf of voters. It's working for politicians. That's not the way democracy is supposed to work."

The League of Women Voters is working with Citizen Action of Wisconsin and the Fair Elections Project to push for nonpartisan maps.

"Whatever your political persuasions are, Wisconsinites want a fair fight, want a fair contest between the candidates," Grunze said.

Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), who represents Lincoln County, said Friday he thinks Wisconsin's maps are fair. Tiffany has been elected twice under the current maps.

The Wisconsin Constitution directs the legislature to draw district boundaries.

"I take that very seriously. That's a constitutional duty that I'm sworn to uphold. So I think it's important that we do it as a legislature," Tiffany said. "You have a person, Hans Breitenmoser from Lincoln County, who spearheaded this effort. He does not like the results that have been coming forth in elections in Wisconsin."

If Republican lawmakers are still in power, they will draw new district lines again in 2021. But new Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will have veto power. If the two sides can't agree, district lines will likely be decided by a judge.

Breitenmoser is likely to continue to push for maps drawn separate from party affiliation.

"It's obvious. It's common sense. It's as it should be. People understand that they don't want political party bosses making their decisions and making their choices for them," Breitenmoser said. "They want to be able to make these decisions themselves."

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

HURLEY - An Arbor Vitae man facing more than a dozen new felony charges related to the Wayne Valliere Jr. homicide pleaded not guilty to those counts on Tuesday.

Prosecutors charged Evan Oungst, 28, with nine counts of harboring or aiding a felon and five counts of giving out illegal drugs in Iron County Court on Oct. 5.  

He was first charged with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse felonies in Iron County in Feb. 2018.  That case is still active.

+ Read More

MARSHFIELD - The Marshfield Police Department wants to find three suspects it believes used counterfeit money at an area business.

According to a release from MPD and the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network, the suspects used two fake $100 bills to buy gas and food.

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - The Eagle River World Championship Derby Track's three new owners knew they could put out a great product, but the true test came this past weekend when thousands of people came to check out the changes.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Groups like the KIN Youth Program in Rhinelander, United Way of Langlade County, and Crandon Police Department got literal and figurative big checks thanks to this year's Giving Tuesday campaign by CoVantage Credit Union.

The third-annual campaign kicked off just after Thanksgiving.

Through December, it raised more than $300,000 for local nonprofit groups.

Those groups got their checks within the last few weeks.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Thirty-one nonprofit organizations lined up their tables in the Trig's Riverwalk Center in Rhinelander on Tuesday, hoping to draw in new helpers.

The Northwoods United Way and other groups hosted the first-ever Northwoods Volunteer Fair.

"There is a need for volunteers at these agencies. We have over 150 within the Northwoodsâ€"nonprofit agenciesâ€"that always need help and are looking for assistance," said fair organizer Nancy Sattler.

The Rhinelander Area Scholarship Foundation raises thousands of dollars to give to high school seniors every year. It was one of dozens of organizations seeking more members and volunteers.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Veterans in Rhinelander will get some support a little closer to home. The Oneida County Veteran's Service recently gained a new counselor from Wausau after the former counselor retired from the Service Office. 

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL -
Mistakes can happen when you manage a budget worth tens of millions of dollars. Merrill's Finance Director apparently made a few calculation errors that led to many upset people. The city is now working to make sure confusion and calls for resignations don't happen again.

Tuesday night at a Committee of the Whole meeting a financial consultant came in to explain more about taxation and how Tax Incremental Districts (TIDs) affect a budget.


+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: