Redistricting Lawsuit Filed, Democratic Groups Want Wisconsin Courts to Draw Maps Immediately

Tony Evers
by Benjamin Yount


Less than 24 hours after the U.S. Census Bureau delivered Wisconsin’s 2020 Census numbers, a handful of voters have filed a lawsuit to toss out the state’s current political map, and have judges skip the legislature and draw new maps on their own.

The lawsuit will be heard in federal court in Madison. It argues that because of the Census data, the state’s current congressional and legislative maps are out of date, and cannot be used in any upcoming elections.

“These data confirm the inevitable reality that population shifts that occurred during the last decade have rendered Wisconsin’s state legislative and congressional district unconstitutionally malproportioned,” the suit states.

The suit then asks the court to draw new maps, essentially saying Gov. Tony Evers won’t be able to work with Republicans on a compromise map.

“There is no reasonable prospect that Wisconsin’s political branches will reach consensus to enact lawful legislative and congressional district plans in time to be used in the upcoming 2022 election,” the lawsuit adds.

Democratic groups support the suit.

The National Redistricting Action Fund’s Marina Jenkins on Friday said Republicans in Madison are looking to hire outside lawyers to help draw the maps.

“The court should be prepared to step in to ensure that the state’s districts are redrawn fairly and put voters’ interests – not the politicians’ – first,” Jenkins added.

But the Constitution is clear. It is the legislature that starts and drives the map-making process.

Wisconsin’s 2011 political map ended-up in court as well, and judges ordered just two Assembly Districts be slightly re-drawn.

Many map experts expect Democrats to pick-up an Assembly seat near Madison. But they also expect Democratic seats in Milwaukee to shrink because of population loss in the city. In other words, there are many who believe Wisconsin’s map will not change too much.

The question is timing. No one is guessing when Republican lawmakers will finish their map, or when Gov. Evers may act. The deadline to have the new map is early next year. Any long legal fight could blow past that deadline.

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Benjamin Yount is a writer at The Center Square.
Background photo “Madison, Wisconsin” by Jordan Richmond (CC BY 2.0), photo “Tony Evers” by Tony Evers (CC BY-SA 2.0)





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