Wisconsin

State website: Primary page, Page of interactive map servers
2010-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State Assembly  « NEW 
2000-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State Assembly
Primary governing law: Wis. Const. art. IV, §§ 3-5

The Latest

Congress: On July 20, the state Assembly passed SB 149, which was signed on August 9. State and federal legal challenges to the plan were both rejected, though only the federal challenges were rejected on the merits.

State leg.: On July 20, the state Assembly passed SB 148, which was signed on August 9. On March 22, a federal court struck two Assembly districts under the Voting Rights Act, and rejected other federal claims; the court adopted a remedial plan for those two districts on April 11. Litigation over the plan's application to recall elections before November 2012 was eventually dismissed on procedural grounds. Litigation claiming that the state Assembly lines amount to an alleged partisan gerrymander continues.

Further information about both state legislative and congressional plans is here.

Because state districts must follow municipal ward lines where possible, redistricting usually occurs after ward lines are redrawn. This year, with an aggressive schedule to draw state districts (though activity had not been scheduled to resume before September, the legislature reconvened in extraordinary session on July 19 and passed both maps by July 20), the legislature also passed legislation to ask municipalities to redraw ward lines after state districts are drawn.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines R 14 D, 19 R 38 D, 60 R
    State legislative lines R 14 D, 19 R 38 D, 60 R
    2000 cong. lines R 18 D, 15 R 43 D, 56 R
    2000 state lines R 18 D, 15 R 43 D, 56 R

    Wisconsin's congressional and state legislative lines are both drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.


  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to Wisconsin on March 10, 2011.

    Wisconsin law requires that state legislative lines be drawn in the first legislative session after each Census; the current legislative session began on January 3, 2011, and is scheduled to end on January 10, 2012. [Wis. Const. art. IV, § 3]

    There is no similar deadline for congressional districts, though candidates must file for both congressional and state legislative primary elections by July 10, 2012. [Wis. Stat. § 10.78(2)(b)(1)]

    Wisconsin law prohibits redrawing state legislative districts mid-decade, before the next Census; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Wis. Const. art. IV, § 3; State ex rel. Smith v. Zimmerman, 266 Wis. 307 (1954)]


  • Public input

    On June 28, 2011, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign filed open records requests asking to make draft redistricting maps available to the public.


  • Criteria

    Like all states, Wisconsin must comply with constitutional equal population requirements. Wisconsin must also, like all states, abide by section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

    The Wisconsin constitution further requires that state legislative districts be in as compact form as practicable, and that they be bounded by county, precinct, town, or ward lines where possible. The state constitution also requires that districts be contiguous. In the past, Wisconsin law established that territory within a ward would be treated as contiguous, by definition, even when it did not connect; some past districts (e.g., 2000-cycle Assembly district 61) therefore appeared noncontiguous to the eye. This law (once codified at Wis. Stat. 4.001(3)) was repealed in 2011. [Wis. Const. art. IV, §§ 4-5]

    Also, state Assembly districts must be nested within state Senate districts, so that each Senate district is made up of three Assembly districts. [Wis. Const. art. IV, § 5; Wis. Stat. § 4.001(1)]


  • 2010 cycle cases

    See the Wisconsin entry on the litigation page.

  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, Wisconsin's legislature passed a congressional plan that was signed on March 26, 2002. It did not, however, pass a state legislative plan, and cases were brought in both state and federal court. The state court deferred to the federal court, which issued state legislative plans on May 30, 2002, amended July 11, 2002. It does not appear that the congressional plan was challenged in court after it was enacted.
    [Jensen v. Wis. Elections Bd., 639 N.W.2d 537 (Wis. 2002); Baumgart v. Wendelberger, No. 01-C-0121, 2002 WL 34127471 (E.D. Wis. May 30, 2002)]

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