Governor Evers visits Wausau to announce redistricting commission

Published: Jan. 27, 2020 at 5:26 PM CST
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Governor Tony Evers visited the Marathon County Public Library in Wausau Monday to talk about the executive order he signed, creating a non-partisan commission to redraw legislative maps next year for the legislature to consider.

That commission will be in charge of creating the new maps after this year's census.

But the republican-controlled legislature holds the power to approve or reject what they come up with.

"When officials can rely on the safety of their seats, rather than the quality of their work, something is wrong," said Governor Evers.

The governor says he wants both sides to benefit from the new legislative maps.

"We can't have retribution. We have maps that are gerrymandered now in one way, it makes no sense to have them gerrymandered maps the other way," he said.

Fifty counties in the state have passed resolutions calling for fair maps. The push started in Lincoln County.

"In a lot of other places in the country, the gerrymandering is being done by democrats," said Hans Breitenmoser, Lincoln County Board Supervisor.

While both sides may be guilty of drawing maps in their favor. He says Republican and Democratic voters in Wisconsin already support ending gerrymandering.

"The vast majority of Wisconsinites live in counties who have passed resolutions asking for a nonpartisan procedure," he said.

Breitenmoser hopes it's something Republicans consider.

"I think this is a very good step in the right direction, but ultimately it's going to be up to the legislature to decide what maps get used," he said.

Governor Evers said part of the commission's job will be explaining why redrawing maps is important and looking at how other states have come to a bipartisan solution.

Last week, republicans dismissed Evers' proposal as “political trickery.”

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said, "He can form whatever kind of fake, phony, partisan process he wants to create, but I have no doubt in the end we will do it the way we have always have, which is to follow the constitution.”