State Watch

Wisconsin governor vetoes redistricting maps, calls them ‘gerrymandering 2.0’

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) vetoed a pair of GOP-backed redistricting maps Thursday, calling them “gerrymandering 2.0.”

Evers’s veto of the maps, which he vowed to do last week if the state legislature sent them to his desk for signature, is the first rejection of redistricting maps this year, according to Cook Political Report.

Republicans do not have enough support in the legislature to overturn the veto, sending the battle over the maps to the courts.

The maps, which were drawn by Republicans, would have given the GOP a four-seat majority in the eight-district state, effectively solidifying Republican control for the next decade.

Both the GOP-controlled state Senate and Assembly approved the pair of maps along party lines, sending them to Evers’s desk. Before the Assembly even gave the bills the greenlight, however, the governor said he would reject the new lines.

Democrats proposed a separate set of maps last week, which would have given the party a 17-16 majority in the Senate, but it failed in a vote mainly along party lines, in addition to a pair of maps that were drawn by a commission established by Evers.

On Thursday, Evers followed through on that promise, saying in a video message that he was rejecting the maps because they were “gerrymandered maps modeled after the same gerrymandered maps we’ve had for a decade,” calling them “gerrymandering 2.0.”

“Elected officials shouldn’t be able to depend on the comfort of their seats instead of the quality of their work, and the gerrymandered maps Republicans passed a decade ago have enabled legislators to safely ignore the people who elected them. And these maps here, they’re more of the same. They’re gerrymandering 2.0,” Evers said.

“This was about elected officials having the courage to do the right thing when it mattered most. And the members of this Legislature failed to deliver. So, with that, I’m now vetoing SB 621 and SB 622. These gerrymandered maps will not become law,” he added.

The state Supreme Court will now preside over next steps in the redistricting process. The court released a memo Wednesday, published by Wisconsin Public Radio, which outlined key days for the case, with a potential hearing in the works for mid-January. Wisconsin Public Radio published a copy of the memo.

Conservatives have a 4-3 majority on the state bench, according to Wisconsin Public Radio

Separate litigation regarding the GOP-drawn maps, filed by Democrats, is still pending, but the three-judge panel overseeing that case has said proceedings will be on pause until after the state court finishes looking into the case, according to The Associated Press

The governor on Thursday said he was “delivering on that promise” that he would never sign gerrymandered maps that landed on his desk, arguing that “this is just too important.”

“Our state deserves better, and we’re going to keep working as long as I’m governor to bring fair maps to Wisconsin,” he added.

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