GREEN BAY, Wisc (WFRV) Legislative redistricting occurs every ten years based on population shifts. This last go around in Wisconsin in 2011 was marked by accusations of partisan politics. And while redistricting is over, the controversy surrounding it is not.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and several other officials have been subpoenaed in connection with a legal fight over how the state's latest election maps were created. Democrat Dave Hansen, a state senator from Green Bay, says it boils down to gerrymandering by the Republican Party.
"Two employees went outside of the state capitol with state computers, into a law office and put together a redistricting plan to keep them in power for the next ten years," said Sen. Hansen.
While the newly drawn maps were signed into law and elections proceeded, two groups sued the state. Right now, they are trying to examine the hard drives of the computers used during that process. Hansen says this ongoing fight in the courts - shows the current system is flawed.
"This time it was very political," Hansen said. "They are hiding documents and computers. It shows me they are hiding something - very secretive, no transparency and no accountability."
Sen. Hansen is preparing to introduce a bill this session, which would create a nonpartisan process for redrawing districts in 2020. He wants the job handed over to the Legislative Reference Bureau, who will seek public comment from around the state. Hansen says that was not the case last legislative session.
"The time to do it is now - before we have to redraw the lines again, in a nonpartisan way. Let the public know what's going on, don't hide it, documents or computer and let public have the right to know."
We called Assembly Speaker Vos' office for comment today but never received a reply. Sen. Hansen says he'll soon be seeking sponsors on his bill from fellow lawmakers.