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People’s Maps Commission releases redistricting proposals

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The nonpartisan redistricting commission established by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers released its proposed legislative maps Tuesday.

The People’s Maps Commission released its proposals for the State Assembly, Senate and congressional districts.

The commission’s goal was to create fair maps free from partisan influence.

“For years, the people of this state have asked their elected officials for nonpartisan redistricting. For years, the people of this state has demanded better and and fairer maps,” Evers said. “And for years, the people of this state have gone ignored.”

He said the current maps, which were passed a decade ago by the Republican-controlled Assembly and Senate and signed into law by then-Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, were drawn to favor Republicans.

Known as gerrymandering, it’s when lawmakers draw maps to try and favor a political party.

State Sen. Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire, an outspoken opponent of the practice, said the commission’s work is how map-drawing should work.

“This is how it’s supposed to happen,” he said. “No legislators involved. No one who’s going to benefit involved other than the state of Wisconsin, other than the citizens, who will benefit if we actually have fair maps.”

Though the commission released its maps Tuesday, they aren’t guaranteed to become Wisconsin’s districts. That power belongs to the legislature though the governor can veto its proposals.

Legislative Republicans recently released their own maps.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, called them fair, adding lawmakers considered proposals considered from citizens across the state including the People’s Maps Commission.

Evers called the maps “gerrymandering 2.0.”

“I want to be clear today. If the Republican maps come to me as they are currently drafted, I’ll veto them, it’s just simple as that,” he said. “Wisconsinites want fair maps and they want nonpartisan redistricting.”

Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe said Monday the maps need to be completed by March 1, 2022.

Evers said the state will meet that deadline.

If the governor and lawmakers can’t come to an agreement on maps, courts will likely be forced to draw them. There is currently pending redistricting litigation in both state and federal court.

WEAU reached out to several Republican lawmakers from the Chippewa Valley. Some weren’t available for comment. Others did not get back to us.

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