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Assembly Democrats want statewide vote on independent redistricting plan

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Assembly's minority Democrats are asking for a statewide vote on having a non-partisan commission redraw legislative and congressional district lines every 10 years.  

Democrats, watchdog groups, and newspaper editorial boards have tried but failed to convince majority Republicans to hold hearings on a bill to create a neutral panel to draw the district lines.

Now, Democrats have introduced a resolution calling for a non-binding statewide vote to see how the public feels. The redistricting task is currently awarded to the party in control of the Legislature at the start of every decade.  

In recent years, both houses had opposing parties in control -- and they could not agree on final maps, so a federal court drew them.

In 2011, Democrats could do nothing to stop what critics said was GOP lawmakers selecting their voters instead of the other way around. Democrats and an Hispanic filed a federal lawsuit -- and while three federal judges decried the secretive process, they upheld Republican maps for meeting the constitutional requirement that each district have about equal numbers of voters. 

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)