WI Congressional Districts Proposal-3 SE
Voting Maps

for Jefferson County

by Dan Russler         

copyright 2021

A Creative Commons article

From April through July, 2021, community maps and redistricting proposal maps have been posted by many Wisconsin voters. Maps were submitted to the Wisconsin People's Maps Commission (WPMC) and posted by WPCM on one of their websites. The intent of the WPMC was to collect these community maps and redistricting proposals from any Wisconsin resident who wished to submit one.

"Voting Maps for Jefferson County" is a project that selects community maps and redistricting proposals from the PMC websites that relate in some way to Jefferson County, WI.

For example, the regional map at the top of this page illustrates both school districts in the region of Jefferson County and proposed Wisconsin Congressional Districts optimized to support these school districts.

 

The local map to the upper right illustrates my own community of Helenville, which is supported by the food, healthcare and other business services in surrounding cities and villages.

The state map to the lower right illustrates proposed Wisconsin Congressional Districts optimized for compact district shapes that balance populations very closely.

Everyone has different thoughts about which priorities are most important when creating voting maps for Wisconsin. Often, these are based on their own community priorities, e.g. school districts, county government, minority support, transportation needs, grocery shopping and healthcare services.

Helenville and Surrounds 2May.png
WI Congressional Districts 2.png

Note: Each entry below includes the blue web address (URL) to the PMC Portal submission when possible. Below the snapshot of the map in the Portal is the button for the original DistrictR interactive map. Please click on this DistrictR button to review the map along with population statistics and other, more detailed information about the community:

 

1. Jefferson County Communities of Interest (COI)

 

Map: Watertown

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/c1185

Notable features: County border splits Watertown almost in half.

Comments: see Cambridge and Whitewater below for discussion of border community issues. Voting ward borders don't match up with school disctrict borders.

Mapping Details (Municipal Borders on left; School District Borders center; County Border right; colored areas are voting wards):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Map: Waterloo

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/c1289

Notable features: Waterloo is located in the northwest corner of Jefferson County

Comments: see Cambridge and Whitewater below for discussion of border community issues. Voting ward borders don't match up with school disctrict borders.

Mapping Details (Municipal Borders on left; School District Borders center; County Border right; colored areas are voting wards):

 

Map: Janet's Map of Township of Ixonia

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/c1361

Notable features: Farming community. The fastest growing area in the state (due to proximity to Madison and MKE). 

Farmlands are turning into subdivisions. A lot of residents are long term/life long residents. Farmers are a older population and people in subdivisions are younger population. There is a range of socio economic statuses. People in subdivisions are usually moving from Madison. 

Community Concerns: Proposed Liquid Natural Gas facility is moving in about a mile from the school; the pollution of the Rock River places it on the endangered list; there is also a CAFO in the township of Ixonia with pollution concerns around the CAFO; 

Needing to build a new sewage treatment plant because it is maxed out; this new sewage facility will feed into the Rock River, which will also increase monthly bills for residents; recently the town was looking at a proposal for ATVs and there was a large community turnout for that; there is no police presence in the community; so residents will call the Jefferson County sheriff. 

Some concern of public safety, but full time police presence would raise taxes.

Comments: Ixonia is in Oconomowoc School District across the Jefferson/Waukesha border; see Whitewater & Surrounds for my discussion of school district issues

Mapping Details (School District Borders below; colored areas are voting wards):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Map: Lake Mills School District

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/c1277

Notable features: Encompasses the city of Lake Mills, the Town of Lake Mills, and large adjacent rural areas.

The WI Legislature has been cutting funds for public schools for a decade. To make up the shortage Lake Mills has passed 3 significant referendums in 2008, 2012, and 2018. In 2008, we funded a significant expansion to the MIddle. 2012 funded a new elementary school. 2018 referendum was for expansion the High School. We need the legislature to recognize the importance of the public school systems and fund public schools appropriately.

Comments: see Whitewater & Surrounds for my discussion of school district issues;

Mapping Details (School District Borders below; colored areas are voting wards):

Map: Carol's Johnson Creek Map

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/c1360

Notable features: Between 2000-2010 Johnson Creek almost doubled the population. Fast growing. Bi-sected by two four lane highways. Majority of people leaving the community for work or working from home. Nice parks. There is a wonderful public library and community center. There is a park and ride, an asset to the community alongside the Badger Bus, the only stop between Madison. The employment of people in the Village is made up of people who commute to Johnson Creek from other locations. Also growing commercially with an outlet mall, movie theater, fast food restaurants and a variety of businesses that did not exist twenty years ago. Industrial area that is growing. K-12 school district that spreads out beyond the village. Fairly newly renovated school buildings. Community concerns: People don't understand what is going on in the community except for their little pod; At the 2010 census was told that they have the youngest population in the state. like most communities, short of housing and housing is expensive; more financially stable than other communities in Jefferson County; lack of housing and lack of affordable independent senior housing is a concern; lack of building lots for expansion; lack of a supermarket in the village of Johnson Creek; radium in water all along the interstate; In the Johnson Creek co-op was contaminating the water at one point in time; large landfill just outside the Village limits; 

Comment: Voting ward borders don't match up with school disctrict borders.

Mapping Details (Municipal Borders on left; School District Borders on right; colored areas are voting wards):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Map: Cambridge and Surrounds

https://districtr.org/COI/23692

Notable features: Cambridge is one of three incorporated municipalities in Jefferson County that are split by County borders.

Comments: Municipalities and school districts that cross county borders often experience difficulties moving up the chain of public representation from local governance to county governance to State Assembly representation to State Senate representation to Federal representation. Instead of a single chain of representation, local governance for these communities must appeal often to two, completely separate chains of representation, including getting the two officials at each level to work together. This translates into less funding for local projects in these border communities.

Implications: In the case of Cambridge, Jefferson County should be working with Dane County, in concert with the members of the various Cambridge communities to simplify the representation issues. Local referendums in both counties may need to be held to support this decision-making process. see Whitewater below for issues related to school districts that cross county borders.

Mapping Details (Municipal Borders on left top; County Border left bottom; School District Borders right):

Map: Jefferson

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/c1186

Notable features: An extensive list of important places in and around the City of Jefferson as well as discussion on the City's role as County Seat

Comment: Voting ward borders don't match up with school disctrict borders.

Mapping Details (Municipal Borders on left; School District Borders on right; colored areas are voting wards):

Map: Helenville and Surrounds

https://districtr.org/COI/22700

Notable features: Includes important places that provide services to Helenville residents

Mapping Details:

Map: Sullivan

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/c1602

Notable features: The Town of Sullivan in Jefferson County has a population of 2,213 as of January 2018 while the Village of Sullivan has a population of 669. The census-designated place of Rome, and the unincorporated communities of Heath Mills, Oak Hill, and Slabtown are located in the Sullivan COI. The Sullivan COI also includes the town of Concord, which shares a Community Center with Sullivan. All these towns share several community resources which has strengthened connections between residents across the COI. The Sullivan COI should not be broken apart by legislative district boundires given the strong community conections across the entire region.

Mapping Details (Municipal Borders on left; School District Borders on right; colored areas are voting wards)

Map: Fort Atkinson

https://districtr.org/edit/28421?event=pmc

Notable features: A good description of recreational facilities within Fort Atkinson municipal borders.

Mapping Details (Municipal Borders on left; School District Borders on right; colored areas are voting wards):

Map: Palmyra-Eagle Area COI 

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/c1150

Notable features: Demonstrates a school district that carries the name of two villages, one on each side of the Jefferson/Waukesha County Border. Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit (purple) runs right through the center of this community.

Mapping Details (Municipal Borders on left; School District Borders center; County Border right; colored areas are voting wards):

 

Map: Whitewater & Surrounds

https://districtr.org/edit/23953?event=pmc

Notable features: A Jefferson County border city; discusses City of Whitewater borders, Town of Whitewater borders and Whitewater Unified School District borders. Points out the needless district splitting of a small lake community south of Whitewater

Comments: If the school district radio button is turned on in the Data Layer of the the interactive map, the strong mismatch between local voting ward borders and the school district borders are readily visible. In the case of the Whitewater Unified School District, this means school board members and administrators may need to interact with representatives from three different counties: Walworth, Rock and Jefferson Counties. For example, special education students in the Whitewater school district may have to be sent to three different County-level special-ed support locations by school administrators.

Implications: Jefferson County should be working with both Rock County and Walworth County to locally simplify the complexity of school district administration. That includes matching the local voting ward borders with school district borders and, perhaps, shifting local political borders to simplify public representation for these border communities. see Cambridge above for discussion of chains of public representation.

Mapping Details (Municipal Borders on left; School District Borders center; County Border right; colored areas are voting wards):

Map: Richmond Township south of Whitewater

https://districtr.org/edit/24090?event=pmc

Notable features: In addition to discussing the fracturing of Richmond Township due to separate taxing entities and divided public representation, relationships with Whitewater and Fort Atkinson in Jefferson County are highlighted

Mapping Details (School District Borders; colored areas are voting wards):

 

Map: Whitewater Township

https://districtr.org/edit/24091?event=pmc

Notable features: Discusses strong relationships to Whitewater, Fort Atkinson, Janesville and Elkhorn that should not be split by future redistricting

Mapping Details (County Borders; colored areas are voting wards):

 

2. WI Congressional Districts Proposals

Note: Many Congressional Districts Proposals can be found on the PMC mapping site by performing an advanced search and selecting "Any Districting Plan" under the title "Submission Type." These next two examples illustrate how two maps drawn by different people can end up being remarkably similar. Other Congressional maps follow:

Map: Prairie Cafe Team 1

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/p192

Notable features: water-feature community support, e.g. Lake Michigan shoreline, Central Upper River Basins, Lower Rock River Basin, Mississippi River and Driftless Area, Fox River Valley and Northern Lake Country; Minority Support in Milwaukee County; Mostly compact districts; and District population deviation of only 0.06%

Comments: One of the best district population deviation statistics found

Implications: For Jefferson County, a Congressional District proposal like this confers a number of benefits. First, our county representative can all work together with one Federal Representative, giving Jefferson county voters more efficiency in our local government costs. Second, for two of our border communities, Cambridge and Whitewater, ties to Dane, Rock and Walworth Counties also unify Federal representation into one person. Unfortunately, this proposal still splits Watertown by the Jefferson/Dodge County border. A third benefit is that the water flow in our area is collected by the Rock River as the river heads down to Janesville and then Illinois beyond. Unfortunately, just as Jefferson County receives the pollution into our wells and waterways from headwater regions north of us, Janesville receives our pollution from Jefferson County as well as our pass-through pollution from headwater regions. Nevertheless, since the Rock River is an interstate river, pollution from Wisconsin to Illinois via the Rock could be represented well by our local Federal House Representative. Then our local Federal House Representative could communicate Illinois concerns more efficiently to our local State and County representatives

Map: Wisc., Congressional Districts

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/p117

Notable features: Tightly compact districts with respect for Communities of Interest; Minority support in Milwaukee County; and District population deviation of only 0.07%

Comments: In addition to a very low District population deviation and Minority Support in Milwaukee County, this congressional map shares several common district shapes with the congressional map above: a united Northern district; and a similar Driftless Area district. The differences lie mostly in how the densely-populated southeast portion of Wisconsin is parsed into districts.

Implications: For Jefferson County, this map provides an interesting comparison with the map above. In this map, all three of our border communities are unified across county borders. However, in this map, Cambridge is unified under a Dane County Congressional representative instead of our Jefferson County Congressional representative. Of course, only Cambridge residents should decide whether that solution is best for Cambridge. Second, the northern Congressional District border is pushed north of Watertown, which means more of the watershed providing water to Jefferson County comes under our own Congressional representative's purview. In summary, the choice of this map versus the map above is quite dramatic for both Watertown voters and Cambridge voters from Jefferson County.

Map: Prairie Congressional Districts Revised

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/p291

Notable Features: This map began with the Praire Cafe map submission above and revised the map to utilize more county borders as well as other minor adjustments. Population deviation rose from .06% to .11% with the revision.

Mapping Details: Thanks to the Prairie Cafe Team, this Congressional Districts map begins from a good foundation-- https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/p192 --Margaret and team achieved an excellent population balance, compact districts and support for minorities in Milwaukee County. My one concern was the number of whole counties disrupted to achieve the great results. This map is an attempt to achieve similar results, but reduce the number of whole counties distrupted. In addition, great attention was paid to county border communities in order to keep them whole. Finally, the number of municipality borders disrupted has also been kept to a minimum. Some attention was also paid to maintaining school districts, but most of those issues will need to be resolved by neighboring counties and neighboring townships.

Other comments on map above:

Comment from Susan: I am supporting this state map to have the PMC look at the criteria used as a model plan. For this map, I note that my COI, Whitewater is rejoined with continuous representation to both the city and lake area. In addition, I note that other areas of the state are joined into larger COI all within their normal living situations; i.e. Franklin & Oak Creek, Brookfield & Pewaukee, Port Wing & all of Northern WI, WI Rapids & Eau Claire, etc. This map has also taken into consideration the shared water tables which are paramount to each COI and legislative representation. Keeping the large rural areas together and within the county boundaries is also paramount to the agricultural communities and COI. The author of this map has taken into account the racial balance and as a side effect, keeps a balance between GOP and Dems. The CD boundaries are compact without the current gouging with twists and turns to achieve the current imbalance across this state. This map meets all of my COI criteria and wishes for the new fair mapping going forward

Comment from Anita: Congressional Plan meets all mapping criteria and results in fair maps across the state districts. It also keeps communities intact with the exception of Madison and Milwaukee. This map also serves to respect of other key criteria such as watershed areas, primary shopping/services areas, as well as commonality of community interests. Compared to the current severely gerrymandered maps put in place in 2012, these congressional districts accomplish key objectives to achieve fair maps in Wisconsin.

Map: County-preserving CD Maps

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/p1224

Notable features: 

The methodology behind creating these eight congressional districts was as follows. CD 1, Congressional District 1 (this is the Districtr numbering), starts in the very southeast corner of the state, preserving Kenosha and Racine Counties, moving westward through Walworth County up to and including Rock County; finally that same congressional district then goes north up the Rock River into Jefferson County.

In creating a CD, the choice of blocks to color is determined by the following priority ranking:

1. Preserving county lines as far as possible in keeping close to the target CD population; if a county needs to be split, go to the next level 2.

2. Preserving school district lines as long as possible in keeping close to the target CD population; if a school district needs to be split, keep, if possible, the main municipality associated with the to-be-split school district in the CD being created.

There was no consideration of partisan evaluation made in this process. The most ‘natural’ CD created, CD 1, ended up being one of the more ‘competitive’ districts (with CDs 7 and 8).

This ‘more natural’ CD 1 containing Rock County would go up the Rock River so that it includes Jefferson County following the Rock River upstream. The valley of the Rock River has shallow sand and gravel wells, distributed throughout the basin. Most of these wells are shallower and the majority are domestic with the exception of high capacity wells in the alluvial deposits in Rock County. The shallow wells are susceptible to contamination. Many subdivisions have histories of nitrate and other human-caused contamination. There are also 4 pipelines traversing the CD 1, two carrying tar sands from Canada, going under the Rock River near Fort Atkinson. Lake Koshkonong, a large relatively shallow lake, is just downstream, with surrounding wetlands. Fort Atkinson, Janesville, and Beloit are cities that would be affected by an oil spill by these pipelines. This congressional district is united by its concern for ecological health in the area.

Mapping Details: I like both the methodology used in creating this map and the resulting compact congressional districts and support for school districts. If I were to apply the methodology used to create a State Senate Map in p1057 "Wisconsin State Senate Districts Template," I would place the "33rd State Senate District" over the confluence point of three congressional districts. This would lead to the least change in congressional district borders. In this map, two locations qualify: the confluence near Wisconsin Dells; or the confluence near Horicon Marsh.

Map: Compact Congressional Districts

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/p1218

Notable Features: These district lines respect county lines as best as possible and keeps communities of interests together including school districts, major watersheds, and journalism media markets.

Mapping Details:

JeffersonMuni.png
JeffersonSchool.png
WatertownMuni.png
WatertownSchool.png
WatertownCounty.png
CambridgeMuni.png
CambridgeSchool.png
CambridgeCounty.png
Helenville.png
WaterlooMuni.png
WaterlooSchool.png
WaterlooCounty.png
 
 
LakeMillsSchoolDistrict.png
JohnsonCreekMuni.png
JohnsonCreekSchool.png
IxoniaSchool.png
FortAtkinsonMuni.png
FortAtkinsonSchool.png
PalmyraMuni.png
PalmyraSchool.png
PalmyraCounty.png
WhitewaterMuni.png
WhitewaterSchool.png
WhitewaterCounty.png
RichmondTownSchool.png
WhitewaterTownCounty.png
PrairieCafeCongressional.png
WiscCongressional.png
Prairie Congressional Revision.png
CountyPreservingCongressional.png
CompactCongressional.png
SullivanMuni.png
SullivanSchool.png
LakeMillsAssembly.png
LakeMillsSchool.png

3. WI State Senate Districts Proposals

Note: In Wisconsin, there are currently eight Federal House Representatives elected from the eight Wisconsin Congressional Districts. At the same time there are thirty-three Wisconsin State Senators. In an ideal "chain-of-public-representation" that extends from an individual voter through a series of elected officials within Wisconsin to the Federal government in Washington, D.C., there would be four State Senators that all coordinate with a single Federal House Representative. The best that we could theoretically do now for the individual voter is to keep four State Senate districts intact within each Congressional district and then have the remaining State Senator coordinate with all eight Federal Representatives. Of course, many compromises need to be made during redistricting decisions, but recognizing this goal, efficient "chain-of-public-representation" as a "best practice in redistricting" is still a good idea.

However, Wisconsin law makes no mention of this goal. The only Wisconsin requirement is to keep three intact State Assembly districts within each State Senate districts.

With these thoughts in mind, comments on the following State Senate and State Assembly maps will make more sense.

Map: SouthCentral Senate Maps

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/p462

Notable Features: Maps all of Jefferson, Green, Rock and Walworth Counties as well as portions of Dane, Dodge, Waukesha, Racine and Kenosha Counties. Includes mapping methodology discussion: This State Senate Map Methodology demonstrates how to take a WI Congressional District and preserve the majority of the existing boundaries when subdividing it into State Senate Districts. This map duplicates the SouthCentral Congresssional District from plan ID p291 "Prairie Congressional Districts Revised." This methodology also references plan ID p76 "WI Senate Districts Methodology." As in p76, a State Senate District was created centered on the WI State Capitol in Madison. This new Madison District in the west portion of the Congressional District "pushed" the "borders" of the remaining four new Senate Districts to the east, in the region of Oconomowoc to New Berlin. In this region, 1/6 of a Senate District population was removed from each of the three eastern Congressional Districts described in plan ID p291. The next step will be to create four State Senate districts in each of these remaining eastern Congressional Districts. In the final State Senate Methology discussion, the four western Congressional Districts described in p291 will be converted into State Senate Districts using the same Methodology.

Comment on map above from Susan: The author of this State Senate Districts map has considered most of my criteria building a map that is comprehensive and inclusive. This map keeps all my COI concerns intact; Whitewater City and Lake Area are together, considering the water shed being kept together, voting balance and racial balance all are considered. I feel it is of paramount importance to have my representation in this compact areas without the gouging and twists and turns I currently encounter with my representation. In this map, I have all my COI concerns fully met and I applaud this author for being so considerate of each community across this state. I want the PMC to consider this map as a template to build the future State Senate new map.

Comment on map above from Anita: State Senate District map coincides with maps submitted under Prairie Congressional Districts. Respect for keeping communities intact, consolidating interest areas such as water sheds, municipality boundaries, etc. were honored. These maps are balanced for population and other guidelines for creating fair maps.

4. WI State Assembly Districts Proposals

Map: Lake Mills economic zone

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/p78

Notable features: This map is a proposed State Assembly District map that centers on Lake Mills. These are communities where there are common connections of shopping, businesses and recreation.

Mapping Details: On the left, both County and Municipal borders are illustrated. Note how both Watertown and Cambridge are split by Jefferson County borders. On the right, note how the Lake Mills school district reaches almost to Watertown. Note also that school district borders do not match up with the voting wards colored in blue.

Map: Three State Assembly Districts

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/p1092

Notable Features: This map illustrates two alternatives of my preferred WI State Assembly District (colored yellow), which along with two other Assembly Districts (colored two shades of green), is located within my preferred WI State Senate District, which in turn is located within my preferred WI Congressional District (approximate - colored blue). The alternative on the right below unifies the Whitewater Lake Community of Interest by joining the Towns of Whitewater and Richmond. My preferred State Senate District is taken from the "WI State Senate Districts Template" (plan ID p1057), which was created from several previous methodology maps (see plan ID p1057). My preferred State Senate District follows the course of the Rock River from the City of Jefferson to the Illinois State Line.

Comments: Janesville has slightly too much population to be wholely contained within an assembly district.

Map: Assembly District - Whitewater Area

https://portal.wisconsin-mapping.org/submission/p1649

Notable Features: Assembly District takes into account keeping Whitewater, Jefferson, and Ft Atkinson municipalities intact for representation purposes. These communities share educational, shopping, water management and are similar in interests, community size and other important factors.

 
 
CentralSenateDistricts.png
WhitewaterLakeAlternative.png
ThreeCitiesAssembly.png