MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today was presented the People’s Maps, prepared by the People’s Maps Commission, the state’s nonpartisan redistricting commission tasked with preparing maps for consideration by the governor and the Wisconsin State Legislature.
“For years, the people of this state have asked their elected officials for nonpartisan redistricting. For years, the people of this state have demanded better and fairer maps. And for years, the people of this state have gone ignored,” said Gov. Evers. “The gerrymandered maps Republicans passed a decade ago have enabled members of this Legislature to comfortably ignore the people who elected them. The fact that Wisconsinites have asked for nonpartisan redistricting for years and their elected officials wouldn’t listen—and still aren’t—is the case in point for fair maps.”
“Wisconsinites want fair maps, and they want nonpartisan redistricting. So, today, I’m calling on Republicans to take up these maps prepared by the People’s Maps Commission without delay and urging the people of Wisconsin to join me by calling, emailing, and writing their elected leaders to do the same,” Gov. Evers continued.
Developed after a year-long process that included multiple rounds of opportunities for public input, the maps released today ensure more competitive districts, respect publicly identified communities of interest, and address Voting Rights Act concerns for majority/minority districts across the state. Over the course of the last year, the People’s Maps Commission hosted listening sessions in each of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts, solicited feedback and input from Wisconsinites both before, during, and after preparing draft sets of maps, and hosted multiple public meetings to ensure Wisconsinites were an integral part of the map drawing process. On Sept. 30, 2021, the Commission released a first, preliminary round of draft maps for public review and consideration. After receiving and incorporating feedback following the release of those initial maps, the Commission released updated versions for public review and input on Oct. 20, 2021. The maps released today are the third and final iteration of the maps prepared by the People’s Maps Commission. Overall, the Commission received nearly 2,000 submissions, including from Wisconsinites representing 68 counties and 321 municipalities, as well as 18 leading redistricting experts.
“I want to thank the Commission for their work over the last year. Preparing these maps was no walk in the park, and they did exceptional work on an extraordinarily challenging task,” said Gov. Evers. “These nine individuals were selected to serve our state by a panel of three retired judges because they’re not elected officials, not lobbyists, not high-paid consultants—they’re educators and doctors, librarians and public servants, and they’re folks who just plain care about our state and our democracy. And they chose to participate in this process because they believe—just as thousands of their neighbors agree—that people should get to choose their elected officials, not the other way around.”
The final maps released today were drawn according to the Commission’s criteria, including best efforts to not split the communities of interest submitted by residents in each region of the state, addressing concerns around competitiveness, and following a nonpartisan, transparent process.
“From the beginning, our effort to create fair and accurate redistricting maps was unique,” said People’s Maps Commission Chair Christopher Ford. “As a nonpartisan commission, at each step we have followed best practices for creating new legislative district maps with transparency, consensus, and voter input in mind rather than partisan advantage. We are grateful to the expertise provided by the MGGG Redistricting Lab in this process, and we fully stand behind our work to ensure Wisconsinites have fair voting maps that fully represent where they live, work, and vote.”
The People’s Maps Commission was created in 2020 under Gov. Evers’ by Executive Order #66. Nine commissioners were selected to serve by a nonpartisan panel of retired judges. The nine commissioners represent Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts and could not be lobbyists, political candidates, state or local officials, or officers or members of the governing body of a political party. Instead, the nine members reflect the people of Wisconsin and are educators, doctors, librarians, tribal members, public servants, private sector employees, retired Wisconsinites, and leaders in the business community.
Fifty-six counties consisting of more than 80 percent of Wisconsin residents have passed referenda or resolutions supporting a nonpartisan redistricting process and fair maps. According to a 2019 Marquette University Law Poll, more than 70 percent of voters prefer redistricting done by a nonpartisan commission.
In contrast, Republicans in the Legislature released their own maps last month that would effectively solidify existing, gerrymandered maps for the next decade. Republicans’ maps are largely based on their existing maps drawn a decade ago that have been called some of the most gerrymandered maps in the country. The newly released maps all but ensure Republicans will preserve their undemocratic majorities in the Legislature while increasing Republicans’ chances of disproportionately winning six of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts. All three maps prepared by Republicans in the Legislature have already received an “F” rating from the Princeton Gerrymandering Project citing “significant Republican advantage, advantages incumbents, and very uncompetitive relative to other maps that could have been drawn.”
Nevertheless, less than a day after releasing draft maps for public review for the first time, Republicans scheduled and held a public hearing for the following week where they received hundreds of submissions in opposition to their maps but are never the less expected to take up their own maps in the coming days.
The People’s Maps Commission Report is available here and outlines the full process, guidelines, and standards the Commission followed in developing the maps and provides a statistical breakdown for each map compared with existing maps enacted in 2011. The Commission’s final maps that were presented to the governor and Legislature today are available below.
Corresponding legislation to enact The People’s Maps also being introduced today is available below: