MADISON, WI -- Gov. Tony Evers today submitted new redistricting maps to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to comply with the Court’s order requiring parties to submit new maps that use the “least change” approach to redistricting.
In an earlier filing to the Court, Gov. Evers, who continues to fight for nonpartisan redistricting, advocated for the Court to take up the maps prepared by the People’s Maps Commission, the state’s nonpartisan redistricting commission. On Nov. 30, 2021, the Court ordered that any proposed map submitted to it must be a “least change” map, a new concept never adopted before by a Wisconsin court. In so doing, the Court outright rejected the maps prepared by the People’s Maps Commission, instead ordering parties to submit new maps that take a “least change” approach, making the minimum changes necessary from the state’s current legislative and congressional district boundaries. Additionally, in taking a “least change” approach to the current maps, the Court also will not consider partisan makeup in drawing new district lines.
The Court’s order on Nov. 30, 2021, outright rejecting maps prepared by the nonpartisan redistricting commission, and its refusal to consider whether maps were gerrymandered, prohibited the governor from submitting the maps drawn by the People’s Maps Commission and instead required the governor to draft and submit new maps to comply with the Court order. The maps submitted by the governor today meet or exceed requirements established by the Court.
The governor’s maps submitted today comply with the Court’s order for a “least change” map and make significant improvements compared to the maps enacted in 2011 and the maps passed by the Legislature in November, which were vetoed by Gov. Evers last month.
“I urged the Wisconsin Supreme Court to consider the maps prepared by a nonpartisan redistricting commission, and it’s unfortunate the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected those maps and decided they will only consider maps that make minimal changes from the gerrymandered maps we have now,” said Gov. Evers. “The maps I’m submitting today are an improvement from the gerrymandered maps we have and the Republican maps I vetoed last month. But I want to be clear—the people of Wisconsin overwhelmingly support nonpartisan redistricting in this state, and I will continue to fight for a nonpartisan redistricting process as long as I’m governor.”
The governor's maps make fewer changes overall than the maps passed by the Legislature by only moving 14.21% of the population for the Assembly map (compared to the Legislature’s 15.84% of the population), 7.83% for the population for the Senate map (similar to the Legislature’s 7.79%), and only 5.50% of the population for the congressional map (compared to the Legislature’s 6.52%). The governor’s Assembly map doesn’t make any changes to 13 Assembly districts while the Legislature’s maps made changes to all 99 Assembly districts.
The governor's maps also fully comply with the federal Voting Rights Act by creating a seventh Black majority-minority Assembly district (compared to the current six districts) and maintaining the current map’s two Black majority-minority Senate districts and two majority-Hispanic voting age population Assembly districts.
In addition, the governor’s maps:
- Meet the U.S. Constitution’s requirement for one-person-one-vote by having nearly perfect equality between the proposed congressional districts and a mean deviation of 0.47% for Assembly districts;
- Create more compact districts than the current maps;
- Split fewer counties than the current maps; and
- Contain only three incumbent pairings (two pairs in the Assembly, one pair in the Senate), in line with the Legislature’s proposed three pairings.
While the Court stated that it would not consider whether a map was fair, the governor’s maps are significantly less gerrymandered than the state’s current maps and the maps proposed by the Legislature. The governor’s maps have more competitive districts, with two competitive congressional districts, three Senate districts, and eight Assembly districts, which are all highly competitive. By contrast, the maps proposed by the Legislature have only one competitive congressional district, one competitive Senate district, and three competitive Assembly districts.
Applying an average of six statewide elections since 2016, the governor’s maps would elect 44 Democrats and 55 Republicans to the Assembly, 13 Democrats and 20 Republicans to the Senate, and three Democrats and five Republicans to the Congress.
The governor’s proposed maps are available here: