By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — The Dunn County referendum question about fair mapping of legislative districts won 64 percent approval in the November 3 election, while the question to exceed the levy limit for Dunn County Solid Waste and Recycling received 61 percent disapproval.
A question on ballots in the Town of New Haven about whether the town board should appoint the town treasurer also did not prevail, with 55 percent voting “no” and 45 percent voting “yes.”
The fair mapping question pertaining to redistricting of legislative maps following the 2020 census asked, “Should the Wisconsin Legislature create a nonpartisan procedure for the preparation of legislative and congressional district plans and maps?”
According to unofficial election results, the question received a total of 13,883 “yes” votes (64 percent) to 7,782 “no” votes (36 percent).
Every 10 years after the census is completed, legislative maps are redrawn to reflect the changes in population.
Wisconsin is considered to be a highly gerrymandered state in terms of legislative districts, which means that Republican voters and Democratic voters are not equally distributed in the districts, with the end result being that politicians select their voters rather than the voters electing their legislators.
Polls show that 75 percent of the people in Wisconsin are in favor of fair non-partisan redistricting.
Other states use non-partisan methods for redrawing the maps so that the maps do not favor either one political party or the other.
The question about fair redistricting of legislative maps was advisory only.
A majority of Wisconsin’s 72 counties have approved referendum questions asking for fair redistricting.
The question pertaining to exceeding the tax levy limit for Dunn County Solid Waste and Recycling asked, “Under state law, the increase in the levy of the County of Dunn for the tax to be imposed for the next fiscal year, 2021, is limited to an estimated 1.6 percent, which results in an estimated levy of $22,443,781.
“Shall the County of Dunn be allowed to exceed this limit and increase the levy for the next five (5) fiscal years, 2021 through 2025, by up to $1,000,000 per year (which for 2021 equals an estimated additional 4.45% for a total estimated increase of 6.13% and results in 2021 in an estimated levy of $23,443,781) for the purpose of paying for costs associated with a household hazardous waste collection (clean sweep) program and capital expenditures of the Dunn County Solid Waste and Recycling Program?”
According to unofficial election results, the question about exceeding the levy limit received 13,403 “no” votes (61 percent) to 8,491 “yes”’ votes (39 percent).
Even though the county’s solid waste and recycling program will be closing down at the end of December, the referendum question was still on ballot because it was approved by the deadline, and it was too late to take the question off the ballot.
The referendum question was approved by the county board by the August deadline to put the question on the ballot, and then the municipalities decided to pull out of the Dunn County solid waste and recycling program after that.
Local Responsible Units will be operating the Colfax, Elk Mound and Boyceville collection sites as of January 1, and other local Responsible Units will be operating other collection sites for their residents.
If the referendum question had been approved, the Dunn County Board would have had the option of not levying for and collecting the money.
According to statements on the Dunn County Solid Waste and Recycling Division’s website, “A ‘Yes’ vote for this referendum would show your support for keeping the possibility of future County-managed solid waste and recycling services under consideration. A ‘No’ vote for this referendum would indicate that you do not support the possibility of these County-managed services returning.”
Residents in the Town of New Haven were asked, “Shall the person holding the office of town treasurer in the Town of New Haven be appointed by the town board?”
According to unofficial election results, 204 residents in the Town of New Haven voted “no” (55 percent), while 166 Town of New Haven residents voted “yes” (45 percent).
Since the referendum question failed, the treasurer in the Town of New Haven will continue to be an elected position.