Wisconsin’s Battle for Democracy: Governor Evers Thwarts GOP’s Gerrymandering Scheme

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers vetoed a Republican redistricting bill this Tuesday, thwarting a calculated effort by the GOP to maintain control through heavily gerrymandered districts. This decisive action by the Democratic governor propels the state towards a fairer and more equitable political landscape.

The vetoed legislation represents the GOP’s latest attempt to preserve their skewed advantage in the state’s political map. The Republican-drawn legislative districts have been widely criticized for being among the most gerrymandered in the nation, manipulating boundaries to favor GOP majorities. The state Supreme Court had previously rejected these Republican maps for violating constitutional requirements of contiguous districts, citing the example of the notably fragmented Assembly District 47.

After the court’s decision, Evers and the GOP-controlled legislature were tasked with collaboratively creating a more representative map. Evers proposed a fairer map that, while competitive, would still likely have resulted in Republican majorities. However, Republicans dismissed this proposal, favoring a map that protected incumbent Republicans from electoral competition. Governor Evers, standing firm against such gerrymandering tactics, rejected these self-serving revisions.

Evers’s veto is a loud and clear message against the manipulation of electoral boundaries for partisan gain. “The people of Wisconsin have lived under some of the most gerrymandered maps in the country for a decade. … These maps [from Republicans] are more of the same,” Evers emphasized, calling out the GOP’s overt attempt to secure their power irrespective of the democratic will of the people.

The current political makeup of Wisconsin’s legislature starkly contrasts with the state’s voting trends. Republicans hold a disproportionate two-thirds majority in the state Assembly, despite Governor Evers winning his reelection by a clear margin. This disparity highlights the impact of gerrymandering on Wisconsin’s democratic representation.

Republican Assembly Majority Leader Robin Vos criticized the veto, accusing Evers of favoring Democrats. However, Democratic lawmakers and progressive organizations countered these claims, pointing out the GOP’s lack of credibility in redistricting and their relentless pursuit of political power over fair representation.

Mike Browne, deputy director of A Better Wisconsin Together, praised Evers’s use of his veto power as a stand against the GOP’s relentless attempts to undermine electoral accountability. “State Republicans have now shown us time and time again that they will do whatever it takes to protect their political power over what is best for Wisconsinites,” Browne stated.

With Evers’s veto, the responsibility of redrawing the state’s legislative map now falls to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The court has already engaged redistricting experts and called for map submissions from various parties, including the governor, legislative Republicans and Democrats, mathematicians, a conservative group, and Democratic voters challenging the old maps. This process promises a more democratic approach to defining Wisconsin’s political landscape, ensuring that electoral boundaries reflect the will of the people rather than the interests of the ruling party.