The state Legislature’s redistricting proposal would force many cities to re-draw boundaries for their new Common Council wards. Local municipalities had always drafted their lines first, according to Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. “By law the Wisconsin Legislature is barred from drawing legislative district lines until after local governments have drawn municipal boundaries.”
McCabe says cities have already spent a lot of time and money working on new aldermanic boundaries, but they might have to go back to the drawing board, after state law is changed. “Not only would it be a huge waste of time and effort and a huge waste of taxpayer money to jump the gun and to draw state legislative boundaries first, but it actually requires the legislature to change the law, ignore longstanding practice in Wisconsin, and do something that’s unprecedented in the history of our state.”
McCabe says GOP lawmakers are spending a lot of money to “gerrymander” the system for a political “powergrab.” He says at last check, “the tab had been run up to over $300,000 and the meter was still running.”
Local boundaries need to fit those drafted in secrecy by Republicans and their attorneys to prevent splitting municipal wards into more than one legislative district.
Republicans on Friday released their reconfigured maps for Wisconsin’s new Assembly, Senate, and Congressional districts. A public hearing on the new maps is scheduled for Wednesday and McCabe is expected to testify on the issue of redistricting; the full Legislature is expected to vote on them next Tuesday. Legal challenges are expected.