Before deciding whether to sign-off on the redrawn legislative and congressional maps, Governor Scott Walker says he’ll judge them using the same criteria the courts would use. “Regardless of what the process is, if the final product is one that meets those objective standards, I’d sign it.”
Walker has some experience on the matter, as he was a member of the Assembly the last time maps were drawn — a decade ago. “What I learned through that process is you don’t look so much at ‘is it Republican or Democrat?’ What the courts really demand from an objective standpoint is ‘are you keeping communities of interest intact? … are you ensuring that minority voters have access to representation?'”
There’s a push to take redistricting out of the hands of legislators and turn it over to a nonpartisan authority. Senator Tim Cullen (D-Janesville) says “elected officials are picking their voters, rather than the other way around.” He says when drawing new district lines, the Republicans are doing what amounts to “an abuse of power.” Cullen fully realizes it’s too late for this legislative session, but he’d like to have things in place by 2021.
“I’m an optimist … They’re saying that they want to do some things bipartisanly. It’s yet to be seen whether they mean it or not. After this is over this would be a great chance for there to finally be some bipartisanship.”
A federal lawsuit has already been filed. If the governor signs the package of bills, the maps could be in effect before next month’s recall elections. The issue is ultimately expected to be decided in the courts, just as in the last three decades. The new maps were first introduced on July 8th, and approved by the full legislature last week.