Law Forward and our co-counsel at the Campaign Legal Center and Stafford Rosenbaum filed proposed state legislative maps in the WI Supreme Court today that provide the most fair representation for all Wisconsin voters in the Legislature within the narrow confines the Court set out. In doing so, we are proud to represent Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, Voces de la Frontera, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, and several Wisconsin voters.

We are following the Court’s November directive that new maps must start with the existing gerrymandered maps and follow a least-change approach. We disagree with this methodology, both as a matter of constitutional law and a matter of fundamental democracy, but we are constrained by the Court’s ruling to follow its order.

That being said, the maps we filed today do a better job of meeting the Court’s decreed least-change concept than the maps the Legislature passed and Governor Evers vetoed, which the Legislature has now submitted to the Supreme Court and asked it to adopt.

Our maps are based on the fundamental principle that the 2020 Census data shows that the Milwaukee area needs 7 Black opportunity districts to comply with the Voting Rights Act. (Currently, there are 6 such districts.) This is critical to protect the voting power of Black Wisconsinites.

Our maps also maintain VRA protections for Latinx communities in Milwaukee.

Our maps mitigate the ripple effects of the Milwaukee changes by focusing them to the north (around Kenosha and Racine) and the southwest (toward the changes already necessitated by population growth in Dane County).

As we make those necessary changes, our maps fix a glaring problem with the current districts, which split significant cities (Sheboygan and Beloit) into two districts each. We reunite those cities to increase the likelihood of more responsive, accountable representation for those cohesive communities of interest.

We submitted reports from three renowned experts—Drs. Ken Mayer and David Canon of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Political Science Department and Elections Research Center, and Dr. Loren Collingwood of the University of New Mexico — to support our maps.

Notably, the WI Institute for Law and Liberty, which represents the original plaintiffs who asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to insert itself into the political mapmaking process did not even submit a map today.

Our next step is to review other parties’ maps and show the strength of our maps in comparison. We are confident that our maps will withstand scrutiny and prove more consistent with required legal principles than any alternatives.

We will continue to persuade the Court that the Law Forward and Campaign Legal Center maps are the best choice to fulfill all the criteria set out by the Court as the process unfolds into Jan 2022.

Remember, there is still a federal court proceeding on hold waiting for the state court proceedings. Law Forward will be ready to go back to federal court and take any steps necessary to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act in Wisconsin.