by Benjamin Yount
The fight over Wisconsin’s next political map took its next step toward a courtroom Thursday.
Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the new maps drawn by Republican lawmakers.
“What’s sitting in front of me here are gerrymandered maps modeled after the same gerrymandered maps we’ve had for a decade,” Evers said in a video message. “They were sent to my desk over the objections of a decade’s worth of people in this state demanding better, demanding more, and demanding a fair, nonpartisan process for preparing our maps for the next 10 years.”
Evers has pushed for the so-called People’s Map, which would have shifted more seats in both the State Assembly and State Senate, as well as Wisconsin’s congressional delegation toward Democrats.
“People should get to choose their elected officials, not the other way around,” Evers said.
But the People’s Maps are just as gerrymandered as the maps drawn by Republicans.
“Gov. Evers’ People’s Maps Commission has produced nothing of value to this process, other than establishing the floor against which other plans can be measured,” redistricting expert and Common Sense Wisconsin’s Executive Director Joe Handrick wrote this month. “Their maps fail, and fail badly, on the very objective criteria that the Commission laid out. Furthermore, they threaten 30 years of progress on minority representation in the state legislature.”
Democratic and minority lawmakers made the same point about the governor’s preferred maps last week.
“It was all a con,” Rep. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, D-Milwaukee, said during a vote on the maps last week. “We tried many times speaking with the governor’s office and the People’s Maps Commission, and we were gaslighted and ignored.”
The governor’s veto means a court will decide the new political boundaries in Wisconsin.
Democrats and advocates have asked the federal court in Madison to handle that task, while Republicans in the state want the Wisconsin Supreme Court to draw the new maps.
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Benjamin Yount is a contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “Tony Evers” by Governor Tony Evers. Background Photo “Wisconsin Capitol” by Library of Congress.