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Why Your Vote Matters: Wisconsin

October 19th, 2018, 7:43am by Sam Wang


As the election draws near, I’ll write some short essays on why it’s important to vote in specific critical states. Normally at PEC we focus on House and Senate races. But there are tons of important state and local races as well. They’re collected at the PEC Key Races page.

Let’s start with Wisconsin. Wisconsin has same-day voter registration, so there’s a lot that activists can do to influence the election there. And this year, Wisconsin is especially important.

First, as many PEC readers know, I’ve become quite focused on redistricting. In a close state, the person who holds the redistricter’s pen can swing up to half the districts in a state toward his/her political party. So no matter how much we protect the right to vote, it can all be for nothing if we don’t make redistricting fairer.

The exception is statewide races. These can’t be gerrymandered. And whoever wins statewide races in 2018 will be in office for the 2020 election, the Census, and redistricting. As it turns out, Wisconsin has a very competitive governor’s race. Former State Superintendent of Education Tony Evers (D) is running a highly competitive race against incumbent Governor Scott Walker (R). Walker’s a polarizing figure, and has radically altered the landscape in Wisconsin, weakening unions and generally running a scorched-earth strategy. And Wisconsin Assembly is heavily gerrymandered in favor of Republicans. If Evers wins, that will guarantee that both parties will be at the table when it’s redistricting time in 2021 – and almost certainly make Wisconsin a competitive state for both parties going forward.

In addition, the state race for Attorney General looks to be competitive. Two GOP-held seats and one open seat (SD17, SD19 & SD5) for the State Senate could decide party control of that chamber. SD1 was unexpectedly picked up by Democrats in a special election and is being defended now.

Finally, there’s a close House district: Paul Ryan’s old district, WI-01, where construction worker Randy Bryce (D) is running against Bryan Stein (R).

Overall, I’d say there’s a lot for cheeseheads to get excited about this November!

Tags: 2018 Election · governors · Redistricting

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