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Redistricting plans bring heated debate among Wis. lawmakers, citizens

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 5:34 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2021 at 7:22 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin lawmakers are facing a one in a decade task: redistricting.

This is required by state law to reflect updated population numbers from the US Census Bureau.

Republicans drew some maps of their own in mid-October. Those proposed boundaries presented by Majority Leader Devin LeMaheiu and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos are already facing pushback by both Democrats and dozens of community members.

A public hearing on the matter prompted a heated debate at the Wisconsin State Capitol Thursday morning.

“What you’re doing isn’t right, it isn’t moral, ethical, it’s anti-American,” Sachin Chheda, Fair Maps Coalition Chair, said. The Fair Maps Coalition is an advocacy group for district boundaries.

Legislators listened to the Republican bill on redistricting.

“The resulting maps introduced comply with state and federal law,” LeMaheiu said.

The proposed maps have slight changes from the current ones put in place ten years ago. Those in support say they reflect public input and population changes.

“Our proposal maintains core constituencies, avoids significant incumbent pairs has exceptionally low population deviation and drives down municipal splits,” Vos said.

Those against the new renderings say they’re unfair and favor Republican victories.

“You could be a good leader, someone who listens, or you could be a clown, it doesn’t matter, in almost every case in those gerrymandered districts, the republican is going to win,” Chheda said.

The ‘People’s Map Commission,’ created by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, already released three versions of new maps. That group identifies as non-partisan and allows residents to also give input on where district boundaries should be drawn.

“Even though the commission ranked limited county and municipal splits as a priority, they failed in comparison to the current map and the proposal before you today,” Vos said.

“You slam through maps that are deeply unfair,” Chheda said. “We must reject [Senate Bill 621] and move to a map that reflects the competitive nature and the will of the voters in Wisconsin.”

NBC15 reached out to the Governor’s Office to get the Evers’s reaction to these maps. His office pointed to a statement sent out this week.

In it, Gov. Evers said Republicans need to “go back to the drawing board,” and they will have to “do better” if they want him to sign either of the bills.

The Assembly and Senate will likely vote on the maps mid-November.

If Gov. Evers vetoes the Republican redistricting plan, the courts will take up the decision.

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