The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Wednesday in the case that will decide the state’s political maps for the next decade. (Screenshot | Wisconsin Eye)
Ongoing court battles over Wisconsin’s new political lines have pushed the implementation of maps past an important deadline.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission, which is responsible for putting the new maps into place, needed the lines to be finalized by March 15 so candidates in elections this fall could start gathering nominating signatures to get on the ballot in the proper districts.
On March 3, the Wisconsin Supreme Court picked the new maps after the Republican-held Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers were unable to reach an agreement and a lawsuit was filed. In a 4-3 decision in which conservative-leaning Justice Brian Hagedorn joined the court’s liberals, the court chose maps submitted by Evers.
The Legislature immediately asked the court to stay its decision so the maps could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court still has not issued a decision on the motion to stay and just this week allowed the Legislature to file a response to the arguments against staying the decision, causing further delay.
In the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett has asked for the involved parties to file responses to the Legislature’s appeal. The request for responses does not mean the court will accept the case.
Now that the WEC’s stated deadline has passed, it’s unclear how the agency’s work will be affected, and a spokesperson for the WEC did not respond to questions about the delay. The current filing deadline for state offices is June 1.
The implementation of new maps was already pushed back because of delays to the U.S. census caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Citing that delay, at the start of the process, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and other Republicans advocated for using the heavily gerrymandered old maps for the 2022 election.
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