MADISON—Gov. Tony Evers today slammed maps released yesterday by Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature that would effectively solidify existing, gerrymandered maps for the next decade. Gov. Evers, who has long supported having a nonpartisan redistricting commission to draw Wisconsin’s electoral maps, has already vowed to veto maps that are a “gerrymander 2.0.”
“Republicans will have to do better than this if they expect me to sign either of these bills—they need to go back to the drawing board,” said Gov. Evers. “We’ve seen time after time how Republicans have tried abusing their power to cheat and pre-determine our elections, and they’re doing it again now. It's unconscionable and insulting to the people of this state, frankly, that Republicans think they can pass another set of gerrymandered maps modeled after the same gerrymandered ones we’ve had for a decade. Wisconsinites won't stand for it, and I won’t either—it's just as simple as that.”
Republicans’ maps are largely based on their existing maps drawn a decade ago that have been called some of the most gerrymandered maps in the country. The newly-released maps all but ensure Republicans will preserve their undemocratic majorities in the Legislature while increasing Republicans’ chances of disproportionately winning six of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts. All three maps prepared by Republicans in the Legislature have already received an “F” rating from the Princeton Gerrymandering Project citing “significant Republican advantage, advantages incumbents, and very uncompetitive relative to other maps that could have been drawn.” Nevertheless, less than a day after releasing draft maps for public review for the first time, Republicans have already scheduled their prepared maps for a public hearing next Thurs., Oct.28, 2021.
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project also analyzed updated maps released yesterday by the People’s Maps Commission, calling the contrast between the Commission’s maps and Republicans’ “stark.” Fifty-six counties consisting of more than 80 percent of Wisconsin residents have passed referenda or resolutions supporting a nonpartisan redistricting process and fair maps. According to a 2019 Marquette University Law Poll, more than 70 percent of voters prefer redistricting done by a nonpartisan commission.
“If Republicans want to get serious about passing maps I can sign, they need to do a heck of a lot more listening to the people of this state,” said Gov. Evers. “The People’s Maps Commission has nearly completed their map-drawing process and are still asking Wisconsinites to provide their input. I am calling on Republicans today to hold a public hearing on the maps prepared by the Commission, and to delay the public hearing on their own maps until the Commission has competed their work so we can be presented the Commission's final maps for our consideration.”
Last year, Gov. Evers signed Executive Order #66 creating the People’s Maps Commission, a nonpartisan commission comprised of nine citizen members representing all eight of Wisconsin’s congressional districts who were selected to serve on the Commission by a panel of three retired judges. Over the course of the last year, the nine commissioners hosted listening sessions in each of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts, solicited feedback and input from Wisconsinites both before, during, and after preparing draft sets of maps, and have hosted multiple public meetings to ensure Wisconsinites were an integral part of the map drawing process. The Commission thus far has received nearly 2,000 submissions, including from Wisconsinite representing 68 counties, and 321 municipalities, as well as 18 leading redistricting experts.
On September 30, 2021, the Commission released a first, preliminary round of draft maps for public review and consideration. After receiving and incorporating feedback following the release of those initial maps, the Commission yesterday released updated versions for public review and input.
Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to use the Commission public comment portal to submit final feedback and suggestions by noon on Wed., October 27.