WASHINGTON – In a shocking ruling, a judicial panel said today that state legislators and Gov. Walker must redraw legislative boundaries by 2018. The maps were struck down in November, declared as unconstitutional, because they gave an unfair advantage to Republicans, and the GOP violated the rights of Wisconsin’s citizens.
The judges said in a court order Wisconsin must “have a remedial redistricting plan for the November 2018 election, enacted by the Wisconsin Legislature and signed by the Governor, in place no later than November 1, 2017.”
“Yet again, the federal courts have ruled clearly – Wisconsin’s district maps are an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, they violate the rights of millions of Wisconsin citizens, and it’s time to move ahead and draw new maps,” said Sachin Chheda, Director of the Fair Elections Project, which helped organize the lawsuit. “This is a victory for democracy and we look forward to a process to draw these maps that engage the community and invite public participation.”
“Wisconsin citizens deserve clarity, and potential candidates need to know what districts they would be running in,” said former Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center), who co-chairs the Fair Elections Project. “The court is making the right decision to implement their verdict, and we are pleased that Wisconsin is on its way to having honest elections. I hope the Legislature chooses to conduct this new map-drawing process in an open, transparent manner, heeding the concerns of multiple federal panels.”
“The November 1 deadline means the legislature has plenty of time to hold hearings with broad participation from Wisconsin citizens,” said Doug Poland of the law firm Rathje & Woodward, who served as co-lead trial counsel. “There is no excuse for limiting participation by all interested parties to draw a fair map in an open and transparent process. The time for cloaking the process in secrecy has ended. The plaintiffs, their lawyers, and all of Wisconsin, are watching.”
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