Wisconsin GOP introduces redistricting plans for Legislature (WITH UPDATES)
Post by Emily Mills on 7/8/2011 4:51pm
State GOP leaders this afternoon released their long anticipated redistricting plans, including maps of changes to both Assembly and Senate district boundaries.
Democrats in the Legislature have harshly criticized the closed-door process used by Republicans in drawing the new maps. Today Assembly Minority Leader Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) released a statement reiterating that discontent:
During this process, Republicans have given themselves a blank check to spend millions in taxpayer funds on private, partisan attorneys to secretly craft redistricting proposals that would gerrymander voters into different legislative districts with the sole purpose of Republican political gain when the same work could be done by non-partisan attorneys already on the state payroll. Instead of devising legal schemes to protect Republican legislative jobs, I believe the people of this state would rather we focus on creating jobs for middle-class families.
If Republicans move quickly to push through votes on their redistricting bills in the coming weeks they could avoid any potential shifts in power that might result from the upcoming recall elections. Any political advantages gained from the new boundaries would be maintained by the GOP for the next 10 years.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A hearing on the new maps is scheduled for Wednesday, and the Legislature could act on it as early as July 19 in extraordinary session."
States are required to redraw district lines once every decade in order to make sure each district's population is equal. U.S. Census data from 2010 shows that Wisconsin gained over 300,000 new residents between then and 2000.
Redistricting maps are not usually created until later in the year, after local municipalities have drawn their own ward lines.
In a statement today, Democratic State Rep. Kelda Helen Roys noted that, "For decades, the Legislature has always waited for local units of government to finish drawing local ward lines before drawing legislative boundaries to ensure a smooth, cost-effective election process for voters."
UPDATE: After closer examination of the GOP redistricting maps, dane101 can confirm that, if finalized, the plan would push both Rep. Fred Clark and Nancy Nusbaum out of the districts in which they are currently challenging incumbent Republican senators in the upcoming recall elections.
The redistricting won't take effect until after the recalls, but would likely impact Clark and Nusbaum should they win their respective races.
Clark is challenging Sen. Luther Olsen in the 14th senate district. The new GOP maps would move Clark's currently listed voting address from the 14th to the 27th.
Nusbaum is challenging Sen. Rob Cowles in the 2nd senate district. The new GOP maps would move her currently listed voting address from the 2nd to the 30th--by about a block.
Further, current Democratic Senator Robert Wirch would be redistricted out of his current home in the 22nd. He would instead find his home address residing in the 21st.
Emily Mills is Editor-At-Large for Dane101, as well as Editor of Our Lives Magazine. She is also a freelance writer, photographer, actor, and musician (drummer and singer in local band Little Red Wolf). Originally from several states up and down the Midwest Emily has called Madison home since 2000. Contact her at