Poll: Over­whelm­ing sup­port for high court to limit law­mak­ers’ abil­ity to cre­ate par­ti­san vot­ing maps

Wisconsin Gazette - - Front Page - By Lisa Neff Staff writer

Weeks ahead of oral ar­gu­ments in a Supreme Court case over Wis­con­sin’s vot­ing maps, a new poll shows 71 per­cent of Amer­i­cans want lim­its on law­mak­ers’ abil­ity to ma­nip­u­late dis­tricts to ben­e­fit their po­lit­i­cal party.

The bi­par­ti­san poll — a sur­vey of 1,000 peo­ple likely to vote in the 2018 gen­eral elec­tion — was con­ducted by Lake Re­search Part­ners and WPA In­tel­li­gence in Au­gust.

LRP’s re­port said 80 per­cent of Democrats want the Supreme Court to place lim­its on par­ti­san ger­ry­man­der­ing, along with 68 per­cent of in­de­pen­dents and 65 per­cent of Repub­li­cans.

“Amer­i­cans trust the Supreme Court to rein in par­ti­san ger­ry­man­der­ing and want the court to act,” said LRP pres­i­dent Celinda Lake. “Vot­ers are deeply con­cerned about politi­cians ma­nip­u­lat­ing vot­ing maps to serve their own po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage and are look­ing for a solution.”

The sur­vey was con­ducted on be­half of the Cam­paign Le­gal Cen­ter and, ac­cord­ing to Paul Smith — the group’s vice pres­i­dent of lit­i­ga­tion and strat­egy, the re­sults un­der­score “the no­tion that vot­ers over­whelm­ingly ex­pect free and fair elec­tions for choos­ing their rep­re­sen­ta­tives.”

“Freely choos­ing their rep­re­sen­ta­tives is an is­sue of deep prin­ci­ple for vot­ers

ON THE WEB

Check in Oct. 3 at wis­con­singazette. com for cov­er­age of the oral ar­gu­ments, in­clud­ing our guide to Gill v. Whit­ford. of all po­lit­i­cal stripes,” Repub­li­can poll­ster Ashlee Rich Stephenson of WPA In­tel­li­gence stated in a news re­lease.

She added, “Our poll shows that a Supreme Court de­ci­sion lim­it­ing ex­treme par­ti­san re­dis­trict­ing will be very well­re­ceived by the Amer­i­can elec­torate.”

WIS­CON­SIN’S ‘AG­GRES­SIVE PAR­TI­SAN GERRYMANDER’

The elec­tion map case be­fore the jus­tices is Gill v. Whit­ford and oral ar­gu­ments are set for Oct. 3.

The dis­pute is over Wis­con­sin’s state As­sem­bly re­dis­trict­ing plan, cre­ated in se­cret and adopted by the Repub­li­can-con­trolled Leg­is­la­ture in 2011.

Af­ter a four-day trial, a fed­eral dis­trict court ruled the plan was “an ag­gres­sive par­ti­san gerrymander” that locked a GOP ma­jor­ity into the state As­sem­bly un­der “any likely elec­toral sce­nario.”

Last Novem­ber, a panel of three fed­eral judges de­clared the plan an un­con­sti­tu­tional gerrymander in vi­o­la­tion of the First Amend­ment and Equal Pro­tec­tion Clause.

Wis­con­sin filed its ap­peal with the Supreme Court in Fe­bru­ary.

The le­gal chal­lenge to the plan was brought by 12 vot­ers — Bill Whit­ford’s name topped the com­plaint — against the state of Wis­con­sin.

The le­gal team rep­re­sent­ing the plain­tiffs in Gill in­cludes the Cam­paign Le­gal Cen­ter and co-coun­sel Dou­glas M. Poland of Rathje & Wood­ward, Peter G. Earle, Michele L. Odorizzi of Mayer Brown, Ni­cholas O. Stephanopou­los of the Univer­sity of Chicago Law School, and Jessica R. Amun­son of Jen­ner & Block.

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