Did Redistricting Disenfranchise Voters in New 21st Senate District?

Racine County GOP says voters living in western Racine County and parts of Kenosha County feel they were cut out of the recall process by not being able to vote for the state senator who will represent them.

Some residents who live in the new 21st Senate District didn't vote in the June 5 recall election and are now claiming they were disenfranchised, according to the Racine County Republican Party.

Now that Democrat John Lehman of the election against Republican Van Wanggaard, county GOP Chairman Bill Folk said residents in parts of Racine and Kenosha counties feel a little cheated.

"This is an unfortunate situation because residents who currently reside in the 21st District got to vote, but most of them will not be represented by Mr. Lehman," he said. "Voters in the new 21st are truly disenfranchised because they didn't have the opportunity to cast a vote for who will represent them until 2014."

That's because the boundary lines for all legislative districts in Wisconsin were redrawn last year after the 2010 Census was released. However, the new boundaries don't take affect until the November election, which means many voters who voted last week will no longer be in his district.

Under the old boundaries, for example, the city of Racine is part of the 21st District. Once the new boundaries kick in, the city — as well as Kenosha — will be part of the new 22nd District. Mount Pleasant, Sturtevant and Caledonia, however, will remain in the 21st, which will cover western Racine and much of Kenosha County.

So while some residents in the new 21st Senate District may feel disenfranchised, an attorney for the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in Wisconsin, points out that this process takes place every 10 years.

"A lot of individuals are now being represented by people they did not vote into office," said Mike Haas. "Theoretically, the Legislature would have considered this when redistricting."

When legislators voted on redistricting last year, they were bound by state statute as part of the law they wrote. When comes to recall elections, the law said it would only apply for those conducted "concurrently with the 2012 general election" in November.

"The language is plain about when the new districts go into effect," Haass said.

Folk acknowledges he is a partisan with an ax to grind, but says the point is valid for discussion.

"The catch as I see it is in the meaning of the language," he explained. "The redistricting was to go into effect at the next election, which should have been the recall."

But, Folk continued, he also believes lawmakers made a tactical error by using template language to craft the bill they passed.

"Using a template in any other year makes sense," he said. "But in the environment of recall, there should have more foresight to avoid just this type of situation."

Patch is trying to reach voters who say they're impacted by the redistricting. We will update the story as we get their comments.

dee50 June 15, 2012 at 07:21 PM
@Hoffa you stated "Yep, when you guys on the left run out of ideas, you just break out the old Hitler references - classy through and through!" Sorry, the truth hurts......Classy, you Cons always trying to divert from the obvious...Logic and history is not your strength.
James R Hoffa June 15, 2012 at 08:16 PM
@dee50 - If a union can't strike, then what kind of power do they actually have over a contract that they don't agree with? Not that the law has prevented public sector unions from striking or wild catting anyway - the past in this state alone is riddled with examples up to and including the recent Madison School District 'sick-out.' And Chicago Pubic School District teachers are in the process of getting ready to strike, having recently rejected the offered 2% across the board pay increase proposed by the District's Board of Education. Without such power what point is there to having a union, less of course you can elect sympathizers to sit across the table from you and essentially run the whole show unchecked? That's the kind of abuse that needed to stop - and Act 10 did just that. Hasn't the federal government's use of a mostly (outside the USPS) non-unionized work force proven that the government isn't going to take advantage of its employees and that a public sector union is just fundamentally redundant and unnecessary? Plus, if one doesn’t like the work conditions and compensation offered by the public sector, no one is forcing them to become employed in such sector, are they?
dee50 June 15, 2012 at 11:35 PM
@Hoffa I asked you to provide credible proof for your opinion that FDR was against unions and you show none. I know It's hard to show proof when you try to re-write history. FDR was against Public Sector Striking, PERIOD!
dee50 June 15, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Again a quote below from FDR and if you can provide PROOF that he was against Unions then I would love to see that, but not holding my breath. "The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry. Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical, but meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government." FDR "Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical" Having UNIONS, aka Organizations provide more power to the individual workers for a stronger voice. We all know a group of voices are heard far more louder than one voice. This is EXACTLY why Walkoch wanted to end collective bargaining, therefore he can do as he pleases with less consideration for the American middle class workers and more leverage for the Corporations, such as Koch Industries.
Frances Martin June 18, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Nowhere in this discussion have I seen a reference to the fact that the same people who voted Wangaard out voted to keep Walker in--so references to any kind of voting shenanigans don't seem to make sense.


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