People in Eau Claire rally for fair maps

Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 5:14 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - People braved the cold weather Friday to call on the Wisconsin Supreme Court to draw fair legislative maps.

They took part in a rally outside the Eau Claire County Government Center demanding the end to gerrymandering. It’s a practice in which politicians draw legislative boundaries that favor one political party.

“This is amazing. Single-digit temperatures and people are so concerned about their democracy their still showing up on a cold day on a sidewalk and rallying for fair maps, for a just government and for a legislature that works for them,” State Sen. Jeff Smith, D-Town of Brunswick, said.

The justices have taken over redistricting after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and state legislators failed to agree upon new maps.

Before redistricting went to court, Evers appointed a non-partisan panel known as “The People’s Maps Commission.”

Legislative Republicans sent their own proposal to Evers. He vetoed it.

Now, the court will decide. It set criteria including making the fewest changes from the current map, moving the fewest people and keeping communities together.

Smith, a longtime opponent of gerrymandering, said the current maps, which were passed by the Republican controlled legislature and signed into law by then Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, gerrymandered to benefit the GOP. He said the practice has broken state government.

“We’re here because we need fair maps,” he said. “We’re here because gerrymandering has had such a negative impact on our government, on our governing and on our voters.”

The state Supreme Court is expected to release the new maps within the next few weeks.

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