Wisconsin Enacts More Competitive Legislative District Maps

By FOCUS, A Leonine Business

Late last month, the ongoing political struggle over legislative district maps in Wisconsin reached a conclusion as Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed new maps into law. The new districts come after more than a decade of Republican dominance in the state legislature, despite Democrats winning 14 of the past 17 statewide elections. The state has been operating under maps Republicans drew in 2011, widely recognized as some of the most gerrymandered in the country.

In December, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the existing district and was prepared to draw new maps if Governor Evers and the legislature failed to act promptly. Republicans found themselves caught between passing the governor’s maps or risking the imposition of new lines by the court’s liberal majority and ended up voting to pass the governor’s maps. The new maps are expected to benefit Democrats, who are likely to gain seats in both the state Assembly and Senate in the upcoming November election. Redistricting experts, however, have said that the new districts still have a slight Republican tilt but are more competitive than before.

Meanwhile, state legislative redistricting battles are unfolding in eight other states that enacted legislative district maps following the 2020 census. Litigation is currently underway in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. Several states are also seeing challenges to their congressional maps, including Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. In New York, the Democratic-led legislature recently approved new United States House maps that include districts that could be among some of the most competitive races this November. Democrats are hoping to take the House from Republicans, who currently only have a six-seat majority, and see New York as a prime place to pick up seats.

As the legal wrangling continues, the outcomes of these redistricting battles will shape the political landscape in these states for years to come. The fight over redistricting underscores the broader challenges and controversies surrounding the democratic process, as both major political parties vie for an advantageous position in the electoral arena. The impact of these decisions will be felt not only in state legislatures but also by voters seeking fair representation in their government. FOCUS will continue to monitor the legislative developments of online safety in the coming year.