Washington, D.C.— The National Redistricting Action Fund (NRAF) applauds the filing of Hunter v. Bostelmann today by Wisconsin voters. The suit asks a federal court to establish a process to draw new state legislative and congressional district maps in the event of a political impasse in the redistricting process.
Wisconsin’s legislative and congressional district maps are enacted as normal legislation—maps must pass both chambers of the Legislature and be signed by the Governor. Hunter v. Bostelmann asks the court to move forward with its own redistricting process in the likely event that the GOP-led Legislature and Democratic Governor will be unable to enact new maps before the 2022 elections. Republicans control both the State Assembly and the State Senate, but they are not able to override a potential gubernatorial veto.
“Well before the Census Bureau released redistricting data, Republican legislative leaders started spending hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin taxpayer dollars on private attorneys for redistricting litigation – a clear indication they are acting in bad faith and will again try to pass grossly gerrymandered maps,” said Marina Jenkins, NRAF Director of Litigation and Policy. “The court should be prepared to step in to ensure that the state’s districts are redrawn fairly and put voters’ interests – not the politicians’ – first.”
According to the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, the 2020 Census data show that Wisconsin’s current district maps are unconstitutionally malapportioned and cannot be used in any future elections. This results in unlawfully imbalanced districts that dilute the votes of the plaintiffs, who live in overpopulated districts. New district plans must be implemented ahead of the 2022 elections, consistent with constitutional requirements, to ensure that all Wisconsinites are equally and fairly represented—a critical aspect of the bedrock principle of one-person, one-vote.
A copy of the complaint can be found here.