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The People’s Maps Commission holds first virtual public hearing

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 9:51 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Wisconsin Legislature redraws legislative and congressional district lines every ten years using data collected in the U.S. Census.

Earlier this year, Governor Tony Evers created The People’s Maps Commission through an executive order to make sure those lines are drawn fairly by putting the task in the hands of a nonpartisan group of people outside of politics instead of elected officials.

Nine people from different communities with different backgrounds from different walks of life come together with the goal of creating fair and impartial congressional and legislative district maps.

“This is not the Governor’s commission. This is not a commission of the Democrats. This is not a commission of the Republicans,” said Chris Ford, The People’s Maps Commission Chair. “This is your commission.”

On Thursday night, the The People’s Maps Commission had its first chance to hear from the people during a virtual public hearing in the 8th Congressional District.

“The 8th District has been extremely active and pushing for this goal of fair election maps,” said Anthony Phillips representing the 8th Congressional District on The People’s Maps Commission.

“We have gone beyond the days where this should be decided by two guys in a backroom and nobody knows what’s going on,” said Karen Nelson, City of Appleton Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator.

Those who shared during public comments agree that something needs to change.

“The polarization of politics is killing our democratic institutions and making us all enemies of one another," said Dan. "Gerrymandering must end.”

“As a citizen of this great state of Wisconsin, I feel angry and lost. I know the values I hold dear are shared by a majority of my fellow citizens, but our voices now go unheard,” said Linda. “We have been disenfranchised by the very people who are supposed to care and represent us.”

“Elections should give the voters the opportunity to choose their representatives not the other way around,” said Penny.

The People’s Maps Commission will gather input from each congressional district with one public hearing per month before bringing maps before the Legislature for consideration in 2021.

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