On November 18th – last Thursday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers did exactly what he has long promised to do. He vetoed the unfair, hyper partisan, rigged state legislative and congressional voting maps drawn in secret by majority Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature and then rammed through on a party-line vote after a single public hearing in which not a single person or organization voiced support for the G.O.P. maps (other than Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and State Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu while hundreds of Wisconsinites spoke or registered against them.
Gov. Evers deserves the gratitude of Wisconsinites for stopping in its tracks, the same type of crass, insulting, rough shod redistricting process Wisconsin Republicans employed in 2011, when they executed the most partisan, skewed, and secretive gerrymandering of any state in the nation that year and one of the five most partisan redistricting processes undertaken anywhere in the last 50 years. Then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker happily participated in that unprecedented political conspiracy. Gov. Evers emphatically said no to the current redistricting deception and has blocked, for the time being, a repeat of the 2011 assault on democracy and fairness.
Republicans lack a veto-proof majority in both state legislative chamber and it’s not clear yet whether they will schedule a futile vote anyway in the Legislature simply to please their base and waste more of our taxpayer dollars and our time in the process. But it is important for all Wisconsinites who favor fair voting maps and want to end partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin to contact both their State Senator and their State Representative and urge them to vote to sustain the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 621 (Republican state legislative redistricting measure) and Senate Bill 622 (Republican congressional redistricting measure), should those votes, suddenly, occur. A vote against sustaining the Governor’s veto is a vote against a fair redistricting process and a vote in favor of the current corrupt status quo. Contact your legislators now.
As the redistricting matter moves to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, events will move quickly. The court has already served notice that by November 30th they will issue decisions about what factors they will use to select voting maps for Wisconsin, whether partisanship in the drawing of the maps will be considered and whether or not changes from the 2011 voting maps should be kept to a minimum — which is what Republican seek after making vast changes (and moving 2.4 million Wisconsinites around) in 2011 to attain the rigged, ultra-partisan, unfair maps that are in place now. These are, obviously, extremely critical considerations. And the court has announced that up to 4 days of oral arguments will be scheduled on redistricting beginning on January 18, 2022. The federal courts have delayed their involvement in the issue for now but could become involved if voting rights issues are raised with the voting maps — a near certainty.
For context, background and more information about redistricting in Wisconsin and CC/WI’s view you can review our release on the recent votes in the Wisconsin Legislature.
Hear an exchange of views on the current redistricting situation between CC/WI Director Jay Heck and Republican gerrymandering expert and former State Rep. Joe Handrick on Wisconsin Public Radio.
CC/WI Board Chair and former State Senate Majority Leader Tim Cullen had this recent, interesting guest editorial in the Wisconsin state Journal about the intersection of partisan redistricting and compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act.
Regardless of whether or not Robin Vos and Devin LeMahieu schedule votes or not in the Wisconsin Legislature to override Gov. Evers’ vetoes of their rigged voting maps, your state legislators need to hear from you that you will not tolerate any attempt to defy the will of the people and vote against sustaining that veto or vote to override it. Our letter writing tool is quick and easy for you to use to contact both your State Senator and your State Representative.
We hope that your Thanksgiving is happy and healthy. Thanks for continuing to fight for the survival of democracy and representative government in Wisconsin!
CC/WI Executive Directo