MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers blasted new legislation floated by Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature to interfere in Wisconsin’s elections by passing legislation that ensures Legislature-picked and Legislature-approved map drawers for the state’s redistricting process. Republicans, who just announced the effort in the last few hours and without having held a public hearing or any other public consideration, have indicated they intend to take up the legislation this week.
Republicans’ announcement today is just the latest in several years’ worth of efforts by Republicans to interfere in Wisconsin’s elections. Today, unable to usurp control of state elections or enact legislation making it harder for eligible voters to cast their ballots due to Gov. Evers’ broad, constitutional veto power, Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature are now attempting to pass legislation to ensure Legislature-picked and Legislature-approved map drawers for legislative districts.
Republicans’ announcement today comes as Wisconsin Republicans are threatening to overturn an election by impeaching a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and are poised to illegally attempt to fire the state’s elections administrator as early as this week. The New York Times called Republicans’ efforts in Wisconsin in the wake of the 2020 election “an all-out assault on the state’s election system” that is “broader and more forceful than that in any other state.” Just this summer, top legislative Republicans attended the Republican Party of Wisconsin state convention, where attendees were set to take up resolutions regarding topics such as abolishing the Wisconsin Elections Commission, putting the Legislature in charge of certifying electors, preventing college students from voting on campus, and severely restricting early voting.
Republicans’ new effort today to ensure Legislature-picked and Legislature-approved map drawers is just the latest of years’ worth of efforts by Republicans to interfere with and control the outcome of Wisconsin’s elections, which include but are not limited to:
- Advancing legislation and litigation to make it harder for eligible Wisconsin voters to cast their ballots;
- Enabling dangerous rhetoric towards Wisconsin elections officials, which has contributed to an environment in which local clerks and election officials have faced a rise in threats of violence;
- Delaying the confirmation of numerous gubernatorial appointments of experienced, qualified Wisconsinites;
- Conspiring with political appointees to remain in their positions past the expiration of their terms;
- Charging taxpayers more than $2.5 million for a sham investigation of the November 2020 election after numerous reviews confirmed there was no significant wrongdoing or fraud;
- Vowing to launch impeachment proceedings against a Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate before their election had even occurred;
- Pledging to dismantle the Republican-created bipartisan commission that oversees the state’s elections; and
- Attempting to fire the head of the Wisconsin Elections Commission despite bipartisan support from clerks and elected officials across the state, including sitting Republican lawmakers.
Gov. Evers released the following statement:
“I support fair maps, and I agree with the 63 percent of Wisconsinites who support maps being drawn by a nonpartisan commission rather than the Legislature. This is an issue that I ran on, it’s a promise I made to the people of our state, and I’m optimistic that we will not only finally secure fair maps but that I will have the opportunity to enact legislation creating a nonpartisan redistricting commission in Wisconsin before my time as governor comes to an end.
“I’ve spent years fighting to do just that—even proposing similar measures—and Republicans rejected those efforts. Since then, Republicans have spent years and millions in taxpayer dollars working to overturn and undermine our elections, fueling baseless conspiracy theories, funding Gableman’s sham ‘investigation,’ and passing even more gerrymandered maps than the ones we had before. Republicans have spent the last several weeks threatening to impeach a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and pushing radical plans to throw Wisconsin’s Elections Commission into chaos by attempting to illegally fire the elections administrator they approved with unanimous, bipartisan support just a few years ago.
“Now, with the possibility that fair maps and nonpartisan redistricting may be coming to Wisconsin whether they like it or not, Republicans are making a last-ditch effort to retain legislative control by having someone Legislature-picked and Legislature-approved draw Wisconsin’s maps. That is bogus.
“A Legislature that has now repeatedly demonstrated they will not uphold basic tenets of our democracy—and will bully, threaten, or fire on a whim anyone who happens to disagree with them—cannot be trusted to appoint or oversee someone charged with drawing fair maps. And I'm not going to participate in enabling Republicans in the Legislature to keep trying to use and abuse their power to control the outcome of our elections.
“The people should get to choose their elected officials, not the other way around. Wisconsinites deserve a redistricting process that’s free of partisanship and interference from politicians, and it’s never been clearer that today’s Legislature cannot be trusted with that important responsibility.”