Nearly half of all voters this fall will have little choice in who represents them in the Wisconsin Legislature. That’s because 55 of 116 legislative seats up for election will be uncontested or lack a major-party challenger, according to a tally by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. This is true even though an unusually large number of incumbents, 29, are leaving the Legislature. Open seats typically invite more competition. Yet the total number of candidates for state Senate and Assembly — 246 — is among the lowest over the last eight elections, the Taxpayers Alliance found. A lot of factors may dissuade potential candidates from running, including the nasty and expensive nature of campaigns.
But the biggest problem is partisan redistricting, in which the politicians get to redraw the lines of their districts — essentially picking which communities or parts of communities they want to represent, based on voting patterns.
“Most people would call this a conflict of interest,” retiring state Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, said last week. “The Legislature considers it a job perk.”
The Republican-run Legislature drew the lines to its advantage following the 2010 census. In many cases, the GOP strategy was to pack as many Democratic-leaning areas of the state into districts the Democrats were likely to win anyway. This left the Republicans with more conservative-leaning voters in the few remaining swings seats, which they now have better odds of winning.
Full Article: Rigged maps mean less choice for voters : Wsj.