Wisconsin

In the 2018 election, we flipped the governor’s seat and elected Democrat Tony Evers. We supported Democrats Patty Schachtner and Caleb Frostman in two separate state Senate special elections, flipping 2 seats President Trump won last year. We also supported Judge Rebecca Dallet in her winning race for the state Supreme Court of Wisconsin.

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How Redistricting Happened in Wisconsin

The following timeline is a high-level overview outlining major redistricting events and activity in the state of Wisconsin over the last 10 years.

2010

Republicans won trifecta control of the state, meaning that Republicans controlled the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature.

2011

Census data delivered to Wisconsin.

Working with REDMAP, Republicans gerrymandered the state legislative and congressional maps.

Republican Governor Scott Walker signed the gerrymandered maps.

2012

In consolidated lawsuits brought by voters in federal court, districts were found to violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by diluting the voting power of Latino voters, and ordered them to be redrawn.

President Obama won the state with 53% of the vote, but Republicans retained 59% of the state legislature under gerrymandered maps.

2016

Separate litigation, known as Gill v. Whitford, found that the state Assembly maps were illegal partisan gerrymanders and thus the maps were invalid.

2017

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked a redraw for the state Assembly map until the Court rules on the appeal in 2018, following oral argument held in October 2017.

2018

The NDRC and its affiliated groups made significant monetary investments to help Democrat Patty Schachtner win her race for the state Senate.

The NDRC and its affiliates made significant monetary investments to help Judge Rebecca Dallet win her race for the state Supreme Court of Wisconsin. Dallet’s opponent was a close ally of Gov. Walker who previously defended the state’s gerrymandered maps.

The National Redistricting Foundation, NDRC’s affiliate, supported plaintiffs who successfully sued Gov. Walker for refusing to call special elections after two Republican legislators received positions in his administration.

After several efforts to contest the ruling and even change the law requiring special elections to be held, the legislature and Gov. Walker gave up and called the elections for June 12.

The NDRC and its affiliates made significant monetary investments in support of two Democratic candidates: Caleb Frostman for an open seat in the 1st Senate District and Ann Groves Lloyd for an open seat in the 42nd Assembly District.

Caleb Frostman won his race in the special election.

The U.S. Supreme Court found plaintiffs in Whitford failed to show they were individually injured by the redistricting plan, and thus lacked standing to assert their claims. The Court remanded the case back to the district court for a determination of plaintiffs’ standing.

Wisconsin voters elected Democrat Tony Evers to replace Gov. Scott Walker, and in turn broke the Republican trifecta.

Know the Races that Impact Redistricting

1 Know the Decision Makers

The redistricting process is controlled by different elected officials in each state. Knowing who they are and when to vote for them is the key to creating a fairer redistricting process. Both the congressional and state legislative lines in Wisconsin are drawn by:

  • Governor
  • State Senate
  • State House

2 Know Your State Legislature

Wisconsin Lower Chamber
36

Democratic-held
seats

63

Republican-held
seats

Wisconsin Upper Chamber
14

Democratic-held
seats

19

Republican-held
seats

4 Vote

Court Cases Impacting Wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to one of the most important court cases on partisan redistricting from this decade–Gill v. Whitford. A partisan gerrymandering challenge to Wisconsin’s State Assembly district plan brought by voters was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court during the 2017-2018 term. Through this litigation, expert testimony was used to argue for a mathematical standard that can identify unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. The lower court declared the state House plan unconstitutional, the first time in over three decades that a federal court invalidated a redistricting plan based on partisan bias. On June 18, the U.S. Supreme Court published its opinion declaring that the plaintiffs in this case did not have standing in court, sending the case back to the lower courts and avoiding making a major decision on gerrymandering. 

Gill vs. Whitford

Read the U.S. Supreme Court opinion.

Get Involved in Wisconsin Today

Join Organizing for ‘18

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee and Organizing for Action (OFA) launched a partnership to build a more fair democracy by strategically targeting legislative chambers, governorships, and ballot initiatives that will be critical in determining how maps are drawn after the 2020 Census.

Join a Local OFA Chapter

Alongside the National Redistricting Action Fund (an NDRC affiliate), OFA is engaging with activists and volunteers to help educate people about gerrymandering and involve them in the process of fixing a badly rigged political system.

Attend Events Near You

You can register to vote for the general election in Wisconsin up until .

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