Wisconsin Has Fair Legislative Voting Maps!

Monday, February 19th is a federal holiday celebrated around the nation as President’s Day. Today, Wisconsinites also can begin celebrating new, far more fair and representative state legislative district voting maps that will be in effect for this year’s August primary and November general elections. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed into law the very same voting maps he submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The court decided last December that if the Governor and Legislature came to an agreement on new voting maps to replace the unconstitutional district maps currently in place, then those agreed upon maps would become effective for 2024 and beyond.

This is a tremendous, well-earned and much deserved victory for the voters of Wisconsin. The new State Senate and Assembly maps that will now be in place for 2024 did not greatly please Democratic partisans or Republican partisans, to say the least. But they are fair and beneficial for the voters of Wisconsin. These new maps are constitutional and much better reflect the true and nearly even partisan preferences of Wisconsin voters. Wisconsin is among the most evenly and closely divided and contested 50/50 states in the nation.

“Fairer and more representative legislative districts in Wisconsin will lead not only to fairer and more representative election outcomes, but hopefully also to a legislature that works toward finding bipartisan consensus in addressing the concerns of our citizens,” said Common Cause Wisconsin Advisory Board Co-Chair David Deininger.

The new legislative district maps will provide far more competition in legislative elections in our state than we have experienced in many years. The quality of candidates as well as the power of policy prescriptions and ideas will once again determine the outcome of more elections instead of preordained outcomes derived from district lines devised and skewed for partisan advantage.

Wisconsinites from every corner and county in Wisconsin have organized and advocated for fair voting maps since 2011. That year, Wisconsin became one of the most egregiously gerrymandered states in the nation only to get worse in 2021-22. However, thousands of voters pressed to pass county resolutions and referenda as well as have contacted their legislators in support of redistricting reform and fairer maps. These actions elevated the matter of fair voting maps and the need for more competitive elections, and brought the issue to the attention of the Governor, the Legislature and to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

And now, finally, the citizens and voters of Wisconsin have prevailed.

The enactment of the Governor’s maps into law will likely put an end to the current litigation regarding legislative district maps. It will also provide stability and certainty for voters about their new state legislative voting districts through the 2024 elections, and hopefully, until the next decennial redistricting in 2031. This is not a permanent solution to the redistricting problem in Wisconsin, however. We still need to enact into law a nonpartisan redistricting process for 2031 that takes redistricting out of the hands of partisan elected officials and entrusts it to a nonpartisan entity. Wisconsin should never again have to experience the divisive political polarization that gerrymandering has caused in our state for over 13 years.

But for now, we celebrate and give our thanks to Gov. Evers, the Legislature, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and most importantly, to the active, engaged and dedicated citizens of Wisconsin who are what really made this significant victory possible for all of us!

“The people haven’t won very often in the Capitol. They won on Monday,” added immediate past chair of Co-Chair of Common Cause Wisconsin Tim Cullen, a former Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leader.