Our spelling checker says "degerrymandering" is not a word. We beg to differ. For years, the Republican majority in the Wisconsin state legislature has produced extremely gerrymandered maps for the U.S. House and for the state legislature. Their dream of permanent control of a 50-50 state vanished abruptly when Janet Protasiewicz was elected to the state Supreme Court in April, giving Democrats a majority there. The state Supreme Court quickly took up a case claiming the maps were unconstitutional and ruled that indeed they were. The Court invited interested parties to submit new maps.
On Thursday, the Court ruled that the map submitted by the state legislature was gerrymandered and unconstitutional. It also ruled that all of the four maps submitted by Democrats were acceptable, although minor changes might be needed to each one to meet criteria such as contiguity, political balance, and preserving communities of interest.
The Court has hired consultants who are experts on political maps to examine the four maps, pick one, and make any changes needed. The consultants are to report back to the Court by Thursday. If the consultants pick one and modify it to the Court's satisfaction, it could quickly rule that map is the official one to be used for the 2024 elections.
The Wisconsin Election Commission has said that if the maps are ready before March 15, there will be enough time for candidates to file. Technically, that may be true in the sense that the Commission will be able to process the paperwork on time. However, the new maps will be radically different from the old ones and the 33 state senators and 99 state representatives will have to make some tough decisions about where to file since their old (and safe) districts will no longer exist. The election results using the new maps will certainly be very different than the current ones. Wisconsin might also join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, bringing the total number of EVs in it to 215. (V)