Governor Evers Submits ‘Less Change’ Map to State Supreme Court
Gov. Tony Evers submitted new redistribution maps to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday, which the governor’s office said are designed to comply with the court order that new maps must use an approach of ” less change “for redistribution.
Governor Evers had previously advocated for maps created by the non-partisan People’s Map Commission. But on November 30, the court adopted the position of Republican legislative leaders that the new cards should deviate as little as possible from current voting cards, which a federal court has called one of the most partisan cards in the country. country.
The majority of the state’s Supreme Court also said it would ignore the partisan makeup of the new districts when crafting new maps. He ordered all parties to the lawsuit over the new maps to submit draft maps that account for population changes in the 2020 census, but otherwise make minimal changes to the current legislative and congressional districts.
Since Evers could not submit the People’s Cards Commission cards under the court order, he said in a statement Wednesday, he submitted new cards “at least change” which “Meet or exceed the requirements established by the Court”, and “made significant improvements compared to the maps promulgated in 2011 and the maps adopted by the legislature in November”, which Evers vetoed last month.
“I have urged the Wisconsin Supreme Court to review the cards prepared by a non-partisan redistribution commission, and it is unfortunate that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has rejected these cards and decided that it will only consider cards that provide minimal changes from the gerrymandered cards we have now, âEvers said. in a report. âThe cards I am submitting today are an improvement on the gerrymandered cards we have and the Republican cards I vetoed last month. But I want to be clear: The people of Wisconsin overwhelmingly support non-partisan redistribution in this state, and I will continue to fight for a non-partisan redistribution process as long as I am governor.
In a statement on the maps that Evers submitted on Wednesday, the governor’s office points out that the Evers maps globally make less change than the maps passed by the Legislative Assembly, displacing just 14.21% of the population to the Assembly card (compared to the Legislative Assembly cards, which displace 15.84% of the population), 7.83% of the population for the Senate card (similar to the 7.79% of the Legislature ) and only 5.50% of the population for the Congress card (against 6.52% for the Legislature). The Evers Least Change Assembly map does not make any changes to the 13 Assembly districts, the governor’s office added, while the Legislative Assembly maps made changes to the 99 districts in the assembly. ‘Assembly.
Evers cards are also fully compliant with federal voting rights law, he said – a controversial issue among Democrats, some of whom have criticized the first draft cards created by the People’s Cards Commission. for failing to comply with the Voting Rights Act’s requirement that communities that have historically been discriminated against are offered equal opportunities to choose who represents them. the People’s Cards Commission made revisions and ultimately published maps which the commissioners said complied with the Voting Rights Act, and which received a “A note for partisan equity by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.
But even with the revisions, a number of Milwaukee-area Democrats, including Senator Lena Taylor, Rep. LaKeshia Myers, and Rep. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, opposed the PMC cards, claiming that the proposed cards ignored the contribution of lawmakers and ignored the requirements of the Voting Rights Act.
The “less change” cards Evers submitted to the Supreme Court are in line with the voting rights law, the governor’s office said, adding a seventh-majority black-minority assembly district to the six. existing districts and to maintain the two majority black and current minority Senate districts. and two assembly districts with a predominantly Hispanic voting age population.
Additionally, according to the governor’s office, Evers maps create more compact districts than current maps and divide fewer counties.
“Although the court has said it will not consider whether a map is fair, the governor’s maps are significantly less gerrymandered than current state maps and maps proposed by the legislature,” the office said. governor in a statement. âThe governor’s maps have more competitive districts, with two competitive congressional districts, three Senate districts, and eight assembly districts, all of which are very competitive. In contrast, the maps proposed by the legislature have only one competitive Congressional district, one competitive Senate district, and three competitive Assembly districts.
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave the Cards proposed by the legislature a grade of F for partisan fairness, noting that they give Republicans a significant advantage. HIf they were in effect for the last election, the Legislature’s cards would have given Republicans over 60% of the legislative seats – two more seats than the current cards. Six of the eight congressional districts would be Republicans under the Legislature’s plan, up from the current five. The maps also got an F for non-compact districts and for dividing more counties than usual.
Evers cards also give Republicans an electoral advantage, just a smaller one. According to the governor’s office, an analysis of six statewide elections since 2016 showed that, according to Evers’ maps, 44 Democrats and 55 Republicans would win Assembly seats, 13 Democrats and 20 Republicans. would be elected to the state Senate, and three Democrats and five Republicans would be elected to Congress.
In a statement, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said of the new Evers cards: Now Governor Evers has abandoned his rhetoric campaign by promising independently drawn cards to quickly and secretly draw your own rigged. cards without public contribution. The governor’s hypocrisy is impossible to ignore. “
Sachin Chheda, director of the Fair Elections Project, which opposes partisan gerrymandering nationwide, called Evers cards “fairer, more compliant with federal and state laws and redistribution, and even more compliant with the criteria. ridiculous “less changes” than the rigged Republican proposal. ”
“The criterion of ‘less change’ is a complete hoax and is not supported by the law or the constitution,” Chheda said in a statement. âIt was entirely formed by the ultra-partisan majority of the Supreme Court in order to help their political overlords, Robin Vos and Devin LeMahieu. We agree with the Governor that the Court should use a non-partisan and fair process to draw maps, and not just auction off their right-wing political allies. “
“If the state’s High Court rejects these cards in favor of a more blatant gerrymander,” Chheda added, “it will be further proof that they are more concerned with politics than the law.”
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Evers_Brief in support of the cards