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Bill Feehan: Current redistricting plans would disenfranchise voters

Bill Feehan: Current redistricting plans would disenfranchise voters

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The message from local Democrats conducting County Board redistricting seems to be do as I say not as I do.

In April 2019 local Dems who control the La Crosse County Board voted to place a non-binding referendum on the ballot. The referendum asked voters if they favor a non-partisan commission to draw voting districts at the state and federal level. Now County Board Chairwoman Monica Kruse has packed the local redistricting committee with Democrats.

Local Democrats including Steve Doyle and Tara Johnson are trying to draw maps that disenfranchise voters who live outside the City of La Crosse. The 2020 Census shows that the population in the city grew by 1,360 people over the past decade while the population in the rest of the county grew by 4,786 people. That means there should be a new County Board district outside of the city. Three of the four plans submitted don’t create this new seat, effectively disenfranchising voters who don’t live in the city.

The City of La Crosse currently has 13 seats in county government. Some people wish to see that number remain the same so that Common Council Districts are coterminous with County Board seats. That means an additional seat needs to be created outside of La Crosse raising the number of supervisors to 30.

The single plan that creates a 30th district creates it in Tara Johnson’s back yard of Shelby which gained only 89 people. Where did population grow? Holmen grew by 1,678, Onalaska grew by 1,093, Holland grew by 827 and West Salem grew by 478. These four communities accounted for 4,076 of the 4,786 new residents outside of the city.

Isn’t it obvious that these municipalities should have a new district to represent these new residents?

Members of the redistricting committee have requested another map with 30 districts for their September 7 meeting. Any map that does not draw a new district where the county actually grew will disenfranchise voters.

Call your county supervisor and tell them to vote no on any maps that don’t create a new 30th district north of La Crosse.

Bill Feehan

Chairman La Crosse County Republican Party

La Crosse

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