WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a group of voters sued Wisconsin to ensure the state enacts new district maps before the next election cycle. The release of new census data yesterday, which illustrated the population and demographic shifts in the state over the last decade, has made the current congressional and legislative maps unconstitutionally malapportioned, the complaint alleges.
The suit asks that the court permanently enjoin the current district maps, preventing their use in any future elections (including the state’s upcoming elections in 2022), and implement new maps that fairly and constitutionally represent today’s population in Wisconsin. The judiciary gets involved in redistricting if the Legislature and governor are unable to come to an agreement on new maps. Even though the census data was released only yesterday, the complaint points out that Wisconsin has a long history of “partisan gridlock” when it comes to enacting new maps: The courts had to intervene to enact apportioned maps in the 1980, 1990 and 2000 redistricting cycles (Republicans controlled both the state Legislature and governorship during the 2010 cycle). Given that both chambers of Wisconsin’s Legislature are Republican-controlled, Gov. Tony Evers is a Democrat and the Legislature lacks a veto-proof majority, the complaint argues that it’s very unlikely that new congressional and legislative maps will be enacted in time for the 2022 election cycle, potentially depriving Wisconsin voters of their constitutional right to cast an equal vote.