On Jan. 22, 2024 the parties in Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission – the fair maps case in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, who ruled that the 2021 legislative maps are unconstitutional – filed responses to the proposed maps.
Wisconsinites deserve an equal voice in electing the leaders whose decisions impact our lives – but that’s not what happened with the maps in 2021. Instead, some politicians picked their voters by carving up our communities and ensuring a few voices drown out the needs and beliefs of the majority.
With our co-counsel, we represent the petitioners in this case, each of whom are voters in Wisconsin seeking community cohesiveness in the maps. No one should be silenced because of where they live, what they look like, or who they voted for – and the proposed Clarke maps are the fairest way to ensure that everyone can have their voice heard by those who make decisions on our behalf.
The Clarke maps have population deviations below 1% and outperform nearly every Wisconsin map over the past 30 years on minimizing political subdivision splits while satisfying compactness standards. They likewise best satisfy the mandatory and traditional districting criteria compared holistically to the submissions in this case. The Clarke maps also comply with the Voting Rights Act and Equal Protection Clause by adhering to the relevant district configurations this Court approved on those grounds in Johnson III—an approach adopted in exactly or substantially the same way by all parties in this case. And the Clarke maps likewise are politically neutral.
The Clarke maps stand in stark contrast to the Legislature and Johnson maps. Both violate Article IV’s express requirement that assembly districts be “bounded” by county, town, or ward lines. The Legislature’s maps vastly increase municipal and ward splits, and both it and the Johnson Intervenors’ maps are substantially politically biased.
The proposed Clarke maps:
- Outperform nearly every Wisconsin map over the past 30 years in minimizing political subdivision splits while satisfying compactness standards.
- Best satisfy mandatory and traditional districting criteria when compared holistically to the submissions in this case.
- Comply with the Voting Rights Act and Equal Protection Clause.
- Politically neutral.
- Maintain population deviations below 1%.
The proposed Legislature and Johnson maps:
- Should be disqualified for violating the Wisconsin Constitution’s mandate that assembly districts must be “bounded” by county, town, or ward lines.
- Significantly increase municipal and ward splits.
- Exhibit substantial political bias.
What happens next? The two court-appointed consultants, Dr. Bernard Grofman and Dr. Jonathan Cervas, will file a written report on February 1st evaluating the parties’ submissions based on the criteria identified in the court’s December 22nd opinion. On February 8th the parties may submit response briefs addressing the expert report.