The Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit filed on behalf of 19 Democratic voters in the state, who are challenging the existing legislative districts as unconstitutional due to gerrymandering. If successful, this could result in new maps being drawn before the 2024 election, potentially leading to a major shift in political power in the state. The case is distinctive because it focuses on the requirement that districts be compact and contiguous, arguing that the current maps violate this.
The lawsuit is seen as a crucial opportunity for Democrats to redraw maps that have been tilted against their candidates, potentially requiring new elections for every seat in the State Assembly and Senate next year. The judicial election in April tipped the balance on the State Supreme Court to a 4-to-3 liberal majority, emboldening voting-rights advocates to challenge the maps. Despite Republican control of the State Legislature, the electorate in Wisconsin is divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans, and Democrats have often won statewide elections. The existing maps, which were originally created a decade ago and then adjusted after the 2020 census, have led to significant advantages for Republicans, despite their even split in public support.
The outcome of this case could have major implications for Wisconsin’s political landscape, potentially affecting the balance of power in the State Legislature and leading to significant changes in the way legislative districts are drawn and represented in the state. The case is especially unique because it is based on the requirement for districts to be compact and contiguous, challenging the current maps on the grounds of violation of this rule. Regardless of the court’s decision, this legal challenge is a significant development in the ongoing fight against gerrymandering and could set an important precedent for redistricting efforts in other states.