As 2010 Census data starts trickling in next year, Dane County will begin the messy, contentious process known as "redistricting."
And when it comes to this task of redrawing legislative boundaries, County Supv. Eileen Bruskewitz knows "there's mischief to be played all around." The last time this was done, after the 2000 Census, Bruskewitz was a freshman County Board supervisor, and the process was handled by a committee of supervisors.
"It was very contentious," she remembers.
This time around, Bruskewitz has proposed having the boundaries drawn by a panel of five retired circuit court judges, picked by the County Board chair. She believes this will make the process fairer: "When elected officials are doing this, they're trying to save their seats."
Supv. John Hendrick, who took part in the last redistricting, is less concerned about who is in charge than "the standards of how they do it." It's important not to carve up communities or minority neighborhoods.
Each time the process comes up, there are proposals to reduce or increase the number of County Board districts, currently at 37. Some have even called for reducing the number to five members and making it a professional board.
But Hendrick says studies have shown that "smaller boards tend to spend more money per capita." Board Chair Scott McDonell is also against drastically shrinking the board, saying this would mean supervisors must raise more money to get elected.