Wisconsin

Overview

Wisconsin Redistricting Process

Congressional and Legislative

Congressional and legislative maps are enacted by the State Legislature. The Governor can veto the plans.

The Legislature can override a veto with a two-thirds vote. No party currently has a veto-proof majority in either chamber.

Source: Wis. Const. art. IV, § 3.


Previous Redistricting Cycles

2020

  • Congressional
    • Vetoed PlanSB 622
      • Passed = November 12, 2021 (Split control)
      • Vetoed = November 18, 2021
    • Litigation History
      • Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, No. 2021AP001450 (Wis. Apr. 15, 2022): On August 23, 2021, a Wisconsin non-profit and a group of Wisconsin voters filed a petition with the Wisconsin Supreme Court challenging the state's 2010-cycle congressional and legislative plans as violating the one person, one vote constitutional requirement and requesting the court to adopt new, properly apportioned plans in the event the state’s political branches failed to do so in a timely manner. On November 30, 2021, the court issued an opinion declaring the prior decade’s maps unconstitutional, recognizing an impasse between Wisconsin’s Governor and Legislature, and adopting a least changes approach for remedial plans. On March 3, 2022, the court issued an opinion and order adopting the congressional and legislative plans proposed by the Governor as final and directing the state to implement them for use in future elections. Wisconsin’s Legislature petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari in regard to the court’s adopted legislative plans, as did the Republican congressmen from Wisconsin for the adopted congressional plan, both alleging constitutional infirmities in the respective plans. On March 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order denying the request for a stay on the adopted congressional plan but reversing and remanding as to the legislative plans on the grounds the Wisconsin Supreme Court misapplied the Court’s precedents as to the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause and the Voting Rights Act. Grothman v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, No. 21A490 (Mar. 23, 2022). On April 15, 2022, on remand, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an opinion and order adopting the Wisconsin Legislature’s proposed legislative plans after finding they were the only maps before it which complied with the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions, the Voting Rights Act, and the court’s least changes approach.
      • Hunter v. Bostelmann, No. 3:21-cv-00512 (W.D. Wis. May 5, 2022): On August 13, 2021, a group of Wisconsin voters filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state's 2010-cycle congressional and legislative plans as violating the one person, one vote constitutional requirements under Article I, § 2 and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. They also requested the court adopt properly apportioned redistricting plans in the event the state’s Governor and Legislature failed to do so in a timely manner. The case was stayed on October 6, 2021, out of deference to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s proceedings in a similar redistricting challenge then before it, Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission. On May 5, 2022, the federal district court dismissed the case in light of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision and resolution in Johnson.
  • Legislative
    • Original PlansSB 621
      • Passed = November 12, 2021 (Split control)
      • Vetoed = November 18, 2021
      • Adopted by Wisconsin Supreme Court = April 15, 2022
    • Litigation History
      • Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, No. 2021AP001450 (Wis. Apr. 15, 2022): On August 23, 2021, a Wisconsin non-profit and a group of Wisconsin voters filed a petition with the Wisconsin Supreme Court challenging the state's 2010-cycle congressional and legislative plans as violating the one person, one vote constitutional requirement and requesting the court to adopt new, properly apportioned plans in the event the state’s political branches failed to do so in a timely manner. On November 30, 2021, the court issued an opinion declaring the prior decade’s maps unconstitutional, recognizing an impasse between Wisconsin’s Governor and Legislature, and adopting a least changes approach for remedial plans. On March 3, 2022, the court issued an opinion and order adopting the congressional and legislative plans proposed by the Governor as final and directing the state to implement them for use in future elections. Wisconsin’s Legislature petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari in regard to the court’s adopted legislative plans, as did the Republican congressmen from Wisconsin for the adopted congressional plan, both alleging constitutional infirmities in the respective plans. On March 23, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order denying the request for a stay on the adopted congressional plan but reversing and remanding as to the legislative plans on the grounds the Wisconsin Supreme Court misapplied the Court’s precedents as to the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause and the Voting Rights Act. Grothman v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, No. 21A490 (Mar. 23, 2022). On April 15, 2022, on remand, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an opinion and order adopting the Wisconsin Legislature’s proposed legislative plans after finding they were the only maps before it which complied with the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions, the Voting Rights Act, and the court’s least changes approach.
      • Hunter v. Bostelmann, No. 3:21-cv-00512 (W.D. Wis. May 5, 2022): On August 13, 2021, a group of Wisconsin voters filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state's 2010-cycle congressional and legislative plans as violating the one person, one vote constitutional requirements under Article I, § 2 and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. They also requested the court adopt properly apportioned redistricting plans in the event the state’s Governor and Legislature failed to do so in a timely manner. The case was stayed on October 6, 2021, out of deference to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s proceedings in a similar redistricting challenge then before it, Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission. On May 5, 2022, the federal district court dismissed the case in light of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision and resolution in Johnson.
      • Black Leaders Organizing for Communities v. Spindell, No. 3:21-cv-534 (W.D. Wis. May 5, 2022): On August 23, 2021, a coalition of community and voting rights organizations and Wisconsin voters filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state's 2010-cycle legislative plans as violating the one person, one vote constitutional requirement under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. They also requested the court adopt properly apportioned redistricting plans in the event the state’s Governor and Legislature failed to do so in a timely manner. The case was stayed on October 6, 2021, out of deference to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s proceedings in a similar redistricting challenge then before it, Johnson v. Wisconsin Elections Commission. On May 5, 2022, the federal district court dismissed the case in light of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision and resolution in Johnson.

2010

  • Congressional
    • Original PlanSB 149
      • Passed = July 20, 2011 (R-controlled)
      • Signed = August 9, 2011
    • Litigation History
      • Baldus v. Members of Wis. Gov’t Accountability Bd., 849 F.Supp.2d 840 (E.D. Wis. 2012): Plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Legislature’s enacted congressional plan as violating the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause on the grounds that districts were not compact and failed to preserve communities of interest, and that the plan was a partisan gerrymander in violation of the 1st Amendment. On March 22, 2012, the district court ruled that the congressional plan did not violate the one person, one vote constitutional principle and rejected the partisan gerrymandering claim due to there being no workable standard to evaluate it.
  • Legislative
    • Original PlanSB 148
      • Passed = July 20, 2011 (R-controlled)
      • Signed = August 9, 2011
    • Litigation History
      • Baldus v. Members of Wis. Gov’t Accountability Bd., 849 F.Supp.2d 840 (E.D. Wis. 2012): Several different groups of plaintiffs filed federal lawsuits challenging the Legislature’s enacted legislative plans as violating the state and federal constitutions and federal law on a number of grounds, including a failure to preserve municipal boundaries and communities of interest, non-compactness, malapportionment, partisan gerrymandering, racial gerrymandering, and vote dilution under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. On March 22, 2012, the district court struck down two of the state House districts as violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and ordered they be redrawn, but rejected all other claims.
      • Gill v. Whitford, 138 S.Ct. 1916 (2018): A group of Wisconsin voters filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Legislature’s enacted legislative plan as a partisan gerrymander in violation of the 1st Amendment’s Right of Association and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The district court had ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and struck down the plan as violating the 1st Amendment and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, but on June 18, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case for further proceedings to allow the plaintiffs an opportunity to prove the requisite concrete and particularized injuries to establish standing.
        • Whitford v. Gill, No. 3:15-cv-421 (W.D. Wis. July 2, 2019): On July 2, 2019, the district court, on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, dismissed the lawsuit in light of Rucho v. Common Cause’s ruling that partisan gerrymandering claims were nonjusticiable political questions beyond the reach of federal courts.

2000

  • Congressional
    • Original PlanAB 711
      • Passed = March 14, 2002 (Split-control)
      • Signed = March 26, 2002
    • Litigation History
      • None
  • Legislative
    • Federal Court’s Plan
      • Adopted = May 30, 2002 (Split-control Legislature failed to pass)
    • Litigation History
      • Jensen v. Wisconsin Elections Bd., 639 N.W.2d 537 (Wis. 2002): After the split-control Legislature failed to pass a legislative redistricting plan, plaintiffs petitioned the state courts to declare the existing districts unconstitutionally malapportioned and to enact new, properly apportioned plans. On February 12, 2002, the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the petition, citing the collateral lawsuit in federal court seeking the same relief and stating it would give the Legislature an opportunity to pass a plan through the ordinary lawmaking process.
      • Baumgart v. Wendelberger, No. 01-C-0121 (E.D. Wis. May 30, 2002): After the split-control Legislature failed to pass a legislative redistricting plan, plaintiffs petitioned the federal courts to declare the existing districts unconstitutionally malapportioned and to order the adoption of a new, lawful plan. On May 30, 2002, the district court ruled that the existing legislative districts were unconstitutional and adopted its own state House and Senate redistricting plan.

Ballot Measure Process

Kinds of Ballot Measures
Only the Wisconsin Legislature may refer amendments to the ballot. There is no initiative or referendum process.

Source: Wis. Const. art. XII.


In The News


Privacy Policy    |     Terms of Service
Copyright ©2022