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New GOP-passed maps that weaken gerrymandering become law in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s governor on Monday signed into law new maps that redraw voting lines for state legislative seats and undo a decade of gerrymandering that favored Republicans across the state.

Gov. Tony Evers (D) said the overhaul was a step toward “a fair, independent, and nonpartisan redistricting system.” The new maps were approved by the Republican-controlled legislature with support from both parties.

“Wisconsin is not a red state or a blue state — we’re a purple state, and I believe our maps should reflect that basic fact,” Evers said in a statement. “The people should get to choose their elected officials, not the other way around. And under the maps I’m signing today, I am making good on that promise.”

The new maps are for state legislative elections, not congressional districts. Republicans hold six of the state’s eight congressional seats.

In December, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the state’s legislative maps were unconstitutional and required that new maps be put into place ahead of this year’s elections. The court, which is newly controlled by liberals after 15 years with a conservative majority, said it would overhaul the maps unless Evers and the legislature could agree on a new plan.

Rep. Robin Vos (R), speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, accepted the result of the judicial and legislative process.

“Today, Governor Evers signed the most Republican-leaning maps out of all the Democrat-gerrymandered maps being considered by the Wisconsin Supreme Court,” Vos said. “We sent him those maps, not because they are fair, but because the people of Wisconsin deserve certainty in state government.”

Vos added that “Republicans will prove that we can win on any maps because we have the better policy ideas.”

Eric Holder, who was attorney general during President Barack Obama’s term and now chairs a group that targets gerrymandering by Republican-led legislatures, cheered Wisconsin’s new maps. He said they offer a blueprint for undoing gerrymandering in other states, such as North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Ohio.

“The new legislative maps mark the start of a new chapter for democracy in Wisconsin and a potential end to the GOP’s illegitimate hold on political power,” Holder said in a statement.

Patrick Marley contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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