A federal court panel said on Tuesday it wanted Wisconsin’s new political maps in place by March 1, calling for the completion of a possible redistribution trial by the end of January as lawmakers endeavor to draw the new boundaries of the legislative districts and the decennial Congress.
U.S. District Judge James Peterson and two other federal judges on a panel said they believed cards should be in place by March 1 so that candidates can begin circulating nomination papers. here April 15. The new cards would then be used for legislative and congressional candidates in an August 2022 primary election.
The court panel asked lawyers for the parties in the case – primarily the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Tony Evers, who are responsible for passing new political maps – to come up with a timeline for completing a trial in the deal by the end. January in order to have maps in place by March 1.
March 15 is the legal deadline for the Wisconsin Election Commission to notify county clerks which offices will be voted on in the November 2022 election and where district boundary information can be found.
The trial, however, would likely not need to take place if the GOP-controlled legislature and governor passed a set of legislative and congressional maps before then. Peterson, however, noted that this is unlikely.
“If history is any guide, to put it mildly, there is at least a high probability that the divided Wisconsin state government will struggle, as it has in the past, to draw its lines. own cards, ”Peterson said.
Peterson told parties in the case that a trial must be completed by the end of January for the court to issue a decision by March 1, although the panel said it would consider the motions arguing that the deadline could be extended later.
The three-judge panel includes Peterson, appointed by former President Barack Obama; US Circuit Court Judge Amy St. Eve, appointed by former President Donald Trump; and US District Court Judge Edmond Chang, appointed by Obama.
At Tuesday’s hearing, an attorney for the Republican-controlled Legislature gave little guidance on when he would pass a set of cards to send to the governor. He said GOP lawmakers were considering appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss the redistribution case.
Evers has created its own People’s Cards Commission, which plans to produce a set of alternative cards by mid-October for consideration by the legislature and the court.
Tuesday’s hearing concerned a consolidated redistribution case filed by Democratic voters and activist groups, the Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, Voces de La Frontera, the League of Women Voters and others.
Consolidated lawsuit, filed in August, asks federal court to strike down Wisconsin’s current political maps and draw new ones if the legislature and governor don’t agree on a plan in time for implementation new decennial maps.
The case was filed a day after the US Census Bureau released detailed population information that will help lawmakers shape Wisconsin’s next decennial legislative and congressional districts.
Specifically, the lawsuit argues that the Wisconsin Assembly, Senate, and Congressional Districts violate the one-person, one-voice principle of the U.S. Constitution because of the population displacement that has occurred in Wisconsin over the years. Last 10 years. As a result of these changes, neighborhoods no longer have the same number of people living there, a requirement under the law.
The trial took place as soon as possible because lawmakers were unable to draw the districts before the release of census data, which was delayed by four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It typically takes months after the data is released for the legislature to pass a set of political maps, which the governor would then have to sign or veto.
The plaintiffs argue that because the legislature is Republican-controlled and the governor is a Democrat, the chances of a set of cards being passed are slim.
People’s Cards Commission
Christopher Ford, chairman of the Evers People’s Map Commission, which Evers said it created to provide more transparency and fairness in the map-drawing process – said the commissioners had worked diligently over the course of last month to produce by September 30 a first set of State Maps of the Assembly, Senate and Congress for public review. Once public comments are received, the panel plans to produce the final maps by mid-October.
Evers created the commission by decree, and members do not include lawmakers, lobbyists or party officials. Wisconsin law doesn’t give the commission a formal role in the redistribution process, but Evers and her supporters want it to present a less partisan set of cards for consideration by the legislature and possibly the courts.
The Legislative Assembly invited the People’s Map Commission, as well as members of the public, to submit the proposed cards before October 15 for review.
The current political maps of Wisconsin give Republicans a strong advantage, who also enjoy some geographic advantages.
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