What Is Gerrymandering

Gerrymandering is the manipulation of legislative district boundaries to favor one group of people over another.
Gerrymandering allows legislators to pick their voters instead of voters picking their legislators.

There are different types of gerrymandering. Each type erodes our representative democracy in a slightly different way.

Types of Gerrymandering

Partisan Gerrymandering

Partisan gerrymandering is an attempt to dilute or concentrate the votes of a particular political party for political gain. Making races less competitive means that legislators’ seats become safe from challengers. It also means there is no incentive for our legislators to act on issues that are important to their constituents. There is no law against partisan gerrymandering in many states, including Wisconsin.

Racial Gerrymandering

Racial gerrymandering is an attempt to dilute or concentrate the votes of a particular race of people for political gain. There is a federal law against racial gerrymandering in the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

Prison Gerrymandering

Prison gerrymandering is the census practice of counting incarcerated people as residents of the district where they are imprisoned instead of as residents of their home districts. Since prisoners cannot vote, this means that districts with prisons receive more representation in the legislature than they should. It also means that the home districts of incarcerated people receive less representation. Prison gerrymandering is still legal in many states, including Wisconsin.

Gerrymandering Explained

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How Can We End Gerrymandering?

Contact Your Legislators

Contact your legislators and ask them to support. Ask them to support a transparent, nonpartisan, legislative redistricting process. This requires prison census workers to record the home district of incarcerated people as place of residence.

Encourage Fair Maps

Fair maps encourage healthy competition in legislative districts. More accountability of legislators to their constituents and cooperation between legislators from different parties. Fair representation for traditionally underrepresented populations. Fair maps discourage partisan gridlock and unequal representation.

Support the Right Candidate

Pledge to only vote for candidates who will support fair maps legislation. Help educate family, friends, and neighbors about why fair maps are essential for representative democracy, and ask them to contact their legislators too!

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