State Republicans Draw Maps Preserving Electoral Advantage
Gov. Evers has said he would veto GOP gerrymander.
Wisconsin’s top Republicans unveiled new political district lines Wednesday that would help preserve their majorities in the Legislature until 2032 and increase the odds that Republicans will win six out of eight of state’s congressional seats.
The move set up standoff with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers that is all-but-certain to be decided in court, where the outcome could go a long way toward deciding who holds power in state government and who doesn’t.
While Republicans still run the Legislature, Evers has said he will veto any map that’s a GOP gerrymander. That could spell doom for the plan released Wednesday, which early analyses suggested would continue to offer Republicans a political edge.
That said, there’s nothing in state law that explicitly bans partisan gerrymandering, and the U.S. Supreme Court has said it’s not the job of federal courts to decide when redistricting gets too partisan.
Instead, map-drawers are expected to follow a set of complicated, often contradictory traditional redistricting criteria, like making districts compact, keeping local government boundaries intact and respecting so-called “communities of interest.” In a joint press release Wednesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, said their maps followed those principles.
“During the upcoming public hearing and committee process, we will work to ensure the final maps meet every legal and constitutional redistricting requirement,” said LeMahieu.
While a spokesperson for Evers did not have a comment on the GOP maps, other Democrats ripped into the plans.
Early analysis of the plans could be found from at least a couple sources.
But another analysis, produced by a national group called The Campaign Legal Center, showed Republicans would be nearly 100 percent certain to retain their majorities in the Senate and Assembly under these maps and would be heavily favored to win six out of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts.
“Not surprised to see the gerrymandered Wisconsin legislature produce another extreme gerrymander as their proposal for the next decade,” tweeted Ruth Greenwood, director of the Election Law Clinic at Harvard University.
Republicans released their plan on the same day that a commission established by Evers released new drafts of its redistricting proposals.
The People’s Maps Commission’s proposed district lines would still give an edge to Republicans when it comes to which party controls the Legislature. That’s because of Wisconsin’s “political geography,” where Democrats live more closely together in cities while GOP voters are more spread out.
The commission heard public testimony on redistricting during a series of virtual meetings and took submissions from the public on what the next map should look like.
Republicans had said previously that they won’t pass any maps produced by the commission, but Vos indicated in his statement Wednesday that the Legislature “took into account” plans submitted to the panel. Vos also set up his own redistricting portal recently to take similar submissions from the public.
Vos has also indicated that the Legislature intends to pass its redistricting plan before Nov. 11.
Already there have been multiple lawsuits filed to handle the process from there. Democrats and their allies have filed two cases in federal court, while a conservative group has filed a case in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
New Republican-drawn maps would extend GOP edge in Wisconsin for next decade was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
- Evers Vetoes Republican Legislative Maps - Bridgit Bowden - Nov 18th, 2021
- Gov. Evers Vetoes GOP’s “Gerrymandering 2.0” Maps - Gov. Tony Evers - Nov 18th, 2021
- Data Wonk: Comparing GOP And People’s Maps - Bruce Thompson - Nov 17th, 2021
- Rep. Bowen’s Statement on Gerrymandered Republican Maps: Same Poop in a New Toilet - State Rep. David Bowen - Nov 11th, 2021
- Expressing Disappointment in Rep. Ortiz-Velez for Carrying Water for Republican Speaker Robin Vos at the Expense of Our Constituents - Ald. JoCasta Zamarripa - Nov 11th, 2021
- Rep. Robyn Vining Votes Against Gerrymandered Maps, Supports Fair Maps - State Rep. Robyn Vining - Nov 11th, 2021
- Rep. Hintz: Assembly Republicans Pass Gerrymander 2.0 - State Rep. Gordon Hintz - Nov 11th, 2021
- Senate Approves Republican Redistricting - Laurel White - Nov 8th, 2021
- State Senate Will Vote on GOP Legislative Maps - Shawn Johnson - Nov 4th, 2021
- Hundreds Denounce GOP Redistricting Plan - Laurel White - Oct 28th, 2021
Read more about Gerrymandering of Legislative Districts here