BLOC et al v. Spindell et al

No. 21-CV-534

On August 23rd, 2021 Law Forward Filed suit on behalf of nonpartisan groups and individual voters challenging Wisconsin’s state legislative districts as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Stafford Rosenbaum LLP serve as co-counsel in this case. The suit, BLOC et al v. Spindell et al, asks the court to prevent further use of the current districts and implement new maps that do not violate the rights of voters ahead of the 2022 elections.

Plaintiffs in the suit include nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations with members whose voting power is weakened because they live in districts that are now overpopulated and unrepresentative, in violation of their rights. Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, Voces de la Frontera, and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin all work to educate members and constituents around the state and encourage participation in elections. Along with three individual voters, they seek new state legislative maps that reflect Wisconsin’s population shifts and comply with federal and state law.

Based on the just-released 2020 Census data, Wisconsin’s population increased by nearly 200,000 residents over the past decade, with significant population shifts within the state, meaning existing districts are now out of balance and in violation of the ‘one person, one vote’ principal.

Doug Poland, Law Forward’s Litigation Director commented on the filing:

“The redistricting process cuts to the heart of our democratic form of government. We have experienced the stakes of redistricting first-hand in Wisconsin, ever since the Legislature gerrymandered districts in 2011 to entrench the control of one political party for an entire decade. All Wisconsin voters deserve to have their voices reflected fairly in our state government. Our Legislature and the policy choices they make should reflect the will of the people. The Census data demonstrate that Wisconsin’s current maps are now unconstitutional. If the Legislature won’t follow a process to ensure that new districts are constitutional and fair, the Court must act to protect voters.”

In each of the past four decades when control over Wisconsin’s government has been divided between members of the Republican and Democratic Parties (as it is now), the legislature and governor have failed to reach a compromise, requiring a federal court to step in and implement new state legislative district plans. Law Forward, Campaign Legal Center, and Stafford Rosenbaum LLP are representing nonpartisan groups and voters to ensure they have a fair voice in the process.

Case Timeline


February 1, 2021

Federal action was stayed until 1/4/22 while Johnson v. WEC proceeds in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

September 7, 2021

Law Forward moved the federal court to add a new claim, and eight new individual voters, to its redistricting lawsuit.

Census data now clearly show that the current Milwaukee-area Assembly districts are drawn in a way that dilutes the votes of Black residents, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Our amended complaint asks the federal court to ensure new maps that balance population and voting power statewide, and comply with the VRA.

demonstrative plan of 7 BVAP-majority milwaukee area assembly districts

December 15, 2021

We filed maps with the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a related case, Johnson v. WEC, that maintain VRA protections for Black and Latinx communities in Milwaukee.

Redistricting & Fair Maps

U.S. District Court of Western Wisconsin