December 22, 2023

Grassroots Victory: Wisconsin Justices Toss GOP Gerrymandered Legislative Maps

After years of organizing — followed by successfully flipping the State Supreme Court to a liberal majority this year — grassroots groups are celebrating a ruling that could usher in an era of fair representation and progressive state governance.
Wisconsin Supreme Court. Interior View.

Wisconsin Supreme Court. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

For Immediate Release
December 22, 2023

MEDIA CONTACT
Zo Tobi, Director of Donor Organizing
[email protected] • (603) 435-3825

Madison, WI — On Friday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered new state legislative maps, striking down Republican-drawn maps deemed most partisan-biased in the nation.

“This is a victory for small ‘d’ democracy and basic fairness. The moral is: Organizing works, and elections matter,” said Reema Ahmad, Wisconsin State Advisor for Movement Voter PAC (MVP), which supports local organizations to build grassroots power and catalyze policy change.

“It’s simple math and common sense: If a party gets half the votes, they should get half the seats,” Ahmad said. 

“Friday’s ruling brings us a big step closer to fair maps in Wisconsin, and it’s in part thanks to years of organizing by groups like Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC), Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT), and Citizen Action of Wisconsin.” 

In April, Wisconsin-based MVP partner organizations helped elect Justice Janet Protasiewicz, flipping the State Supreme Court to a 4-3 liberal majority and setting the stage for Friday’s ruling. 

MVP-supported groups in the get-out-the-vote effort included: Power to the Polls, Wisconsin Working Families Party, Blue Sky Waukesha, Progress North, Voces de la Frontera Action, Freedom Action Now, and Grassroots Organizing Western Wisconsin — and many others. 

The political implications of this ruling could be monumental. With new court-mandated maps, Wisconsin could conceivably elect Democratic majorities in both legislative chambers, joining Michigan and Minnesota in a new Midwest triad of progressive state governance. In this scenario, widely supported policies may become viable for enactment, including abortion access (68% support) and gun safety (81% support). 

Even more broadly and immediately, more fairly representative maps may also boost turnout at the top of the ticket in the 2024 elections, which could have profound implications for control of the U.S. Senate and Presidency.

Under the current gerrymandered maps, according to the University of Wisconsin Law School, in a 50-50 tied election Republicans can expect to win 64.8% of seats while Democrats win 35.2%.

In 2018, Democrats won 53% of the statewide legislative popular vote, yet captured only 36 of the state’s 99 Assembly seats. In 2022, while Governor Evers won 51.2% of the vote, Republicans won sixty-four state legislative districts while Democrats won just thirty-five.

“This ruling will be the final nail in the coffin for the legacy of Republican Governor Scott Walker,” MVP’s Ahmad said. “Walker and his Tea Party friends put in these gerrymandered maps and used them to enact an ultra-conservative policy agenda. Now we have a chance to undo the damage.”

“So many people have gotten used to dysfunctional government,” said Ahmad. What’s exciting about new maps is that, in the 2024 elections, we can talk to voters and say: ‘You get to vote for a state rep who will actually fight for the issues that matter to you.’ It’s going to inspire folks to vote, and to believe in democracy again.”

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MVP is a one-stop shop for strategically investing in local organizations that win elections and transform policy. Learn more: https://movement.vote

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