WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Nov. 11, the GOP-controlled Wisconsin Legislature approved new congressional and legislative maps, although Gov. Tony Evers (D) has promised to not sign them. On Monday, the state Senate approved the Republican-drawn map on a party-line vote and rejected several options proposed by Democrats and the People’s Maps Commission, a nonpartisan redistricting commission created by Evers.
Currently, Republicans in Wisconsin hold five of the eight congressional seats, as well as a 21-12 majority in the state Senate and a 61-38 majority in the state Assembly. The current maps have been criticized for giving Republicans disproportionate control in a state that President Joe Biden won in 2020 and is more narrowly divided in other statewide elections. In contrast, the maps proposed by the commission created more Democratic seats than the current ones, better reflecting the political reality in Wisconsin. The approved congressional map is not significantly different from the 2011 gerrymandered map, although it is more compact. Notably, the map makes the state’s most competitive congressional district, which has been held for nearly 25 years by Rep. Ron Kind (D), more favorable to a Republican competitor.
If the Legislature and governor cannot agree on new maps, the map-drawing responsibility shifts to the courts. Anticipating this outcome, several lawsuits have already been filed in both in federal and state court asking the courts to intervene to ensure that new, fair maps are drawn.