Dec 23, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Wisconsin Supreme Court orders redrawing of legislative maps favoring GOP

A roll of "I voted early" stickers on a table

Stickers sit on the ballot box at a polling place in Milwaukee in 2022. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Wisconsin lawmakers must redraw their state legislative maps ahead of the 2024 election after the state's Supreme Court ruled on Friday that its existing maps are unconstitutional.

Why it matters: Redistricting fights across the country, like the one in Wisconsin, could determine control of statehouses, or in other cases, affect the balance of power in the closely divided U.S. House of Representatives.

  • The districts in Wisconsin's current legislative maps contain non-contiguous territory, the court determined.
  • "At least 50 of 99 assembly districts and at least 20 of 33 senate districts include separate, detached territory," the ruling stated.

Zoom out: The Wisconsin Supreme Court's ideological majority flipped this year when liberals gained control. Friday's ruling was a 4-3 split decision.

  • Republicans have a supermajority in the state senate and strong majority in the state Assembly, but the state's electorate is about evenly divided politically, per CNN.
  • President Biden narrowly won the state over former President Trump in 2020. Trump carried it in 2016.

What they're saying: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D), one of the petitioners in the case, welcomed the court's decision and said he looks forward to submitting maps that represent the "purple state."

  • "It's clear to me that a Republican-controlled Legislature that has consistently gerrymandered itself into comfortable, partisan majorities for more than a decade is incapable of preparing fair, nonpartisan maps deserving of the people of this state," Evers posted on X.

What's next: State lawmakers now must formulate new maps, but the court could step in again if the process is deemed improper.

  • "If the legislative process does not result in remedial legislative maps, then it will be the job of this court to adopt remedial maps," the ruling said.

Go deeper: Ruling sets up voting-rights clash as states redraw congressional maps for '24

Go deeper