New media campaign draws attention to partisan gerrymandering
Play Fair Wisconsin launched two videos, targeted to a statewide audience via social media, as part of a campaign designed to build support for regulations that make the process of drawing legislative district maps independent of political party interests.
The advertisements are backed by a significant investment in digital spending. A new website was also launched and yard signs are being distributed across the state.
“The people of Wisconsin know that our politics are broken,” said Barbara Johnson, one of three volunteer leaders of the nonpartisan campaign. “Republicans, independents, and Democrats all agree, we need to stop rigging the maps, and these ads will draw even more people to our work for a stronger democracy.”
John Roach Projects of Madison created the videos, which feature pick-up sports games that are rigged for one side. In the first video, a basketball team replaces the hoop with a smaller, shorter bucket. In the other video, one team at a soccer game replaces a regulation goal with a small child-sized goal.
“A healthy democracy requires meaningful, competitive elections,” said Melissa Auchard Scholz, another of the campaign’s leaders. “We don’t have that in Wisconsin today, but we can ensure we strengthen our future by making the map-drawing process independent.”
Play Fair Wisconsin raised the money to create the videos and social media campaign from voters concerned about the effects of gerrymandering in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s legislative district maps were overturned in late 2016 by a federal trial panel for unconstitutionally depriving citizens of their rights. Citizens brought the lawsuit, Gill v Whitford, in 2015 after two consecutive elections in which Republicans were allocated considerably more legislative seats than their vote totals would have suggested was reasonable or fair. In 2012, the Democrats won a significant majority of the vote, but Republicans retained a super-majority of legislative seats.
“This is about fairness and transparency for every Wisconsinite,” said Lydie Hudson, the third leader of Play Fair Wisconsin. “We need to know these maps are drawn to reflect voters’ views, not to protect politicians. This campaign will help educate our fellow citizens and result in more activity to restore our democracy.”
The campaign is being launched by the Fair Elections Project, which organized and launched the Whitford lawsuit and is educating and organizing citizens across the state in partnership with the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition.