Frank Buress, right, addressing the Marquette County Board of Supervisors in Montello Tuesday night.

 

Marquette County voters will have an opportunity during the April general election to vote on fair maps. Tuesday night, in Montello, the Marquette County Board of Supervisors voted 10-6 to put the issue of fair maps on the ballot in the form of a referendum question.

The affirmative vote came after about 45 minutes of comments on two resolutions presented by Frank Buress, a spokesperson for the Marquette County Democratic Party. Comments both in favor and opposed to the resolution came from the general public and from members of the Board.

Here is the question that will appear on the ballot’ “Should the County request that the Wisconsin Legislature create a nonpartisan procedure for the preparation and congressional redistricting plans ending the practice of Gerrymandering in Wisconsin?”

A second resolution, seeking to have Marquette County voters weigh in on overturning Citizens United failed by a 9-6 in opposition.

In remarks prepared for the meeting, Buress, was an unsuccessful candidate in 2018 to unseat incumbent 41st District Assemblywoman Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan), wrote, “Citizens in a majority of states in the country have the ability to collect signatures to place a position on the ballot to veto legislative action, to make/change a law and/or amend a state constitution.

“Wisconsin citizens, however, do not have those rights. In Wisconsin, only the state legislature can place an issue on the ballot and, regardless of the vote, may choose to ignore the results of the referendum–making the  results only advisory.

“When the Wisconsin state legislature refuses to place and item on the state ballot, the best way to impact the direction of the legislature, and to give citizens a vote, is the local advisory referendum.

“Wisconsin counties have increasingly utilized the advisory referendum to give a meaningful voice to its constituencies, Inb 2018 Marquette County provided its citizens with an opportunity to express their views on the nonpartisan issue of medical marijuanas.

“Before you tonight are two additional issues that warrant listening to citizen voices. Overturning Citizens United has already passed in 144 Wisconsin Counties, Towns, Villages, and Cities (including the Villages of Westfield and Neshkoro and the Towns of Harris and Crystal Lake in Marquette County). 

“Fair Maps (or ending partisan Gerrymandering) has already passed in fifty counties (eight by resolution and forty-two by referendum).

“You are not being asked to vote for or against Fair Maps or overturning Citizens United. You are only being asked to empower citizens you represent by giving them a voice on two two important nonpartisan issues.”

“Buress’ arguments in support of both measures drew support from about a dozen of the spectators, and opposition from a about four people. 

In the end, supervisors supported the placement on the ballot of the Fair Maps issue, but were not supportive of the Citizens United initiative.