Gov. Tony Evers signs an executive order on Jan. 27 authorizing the creation of a nonpartisan commission to draw fair maps for the next redistricting process. Members of the commission met for the first time Thursday. (Photo by Jessica VanEgeren)
Gov. Tony Evers signs an executive order on Jan. 27 authorizing the creation of a nonpartisan commission to draw fair maps for the next redistricting process. Members of the commission met for the first time Thursday. (Photo by Jessica VanEgeren)

Panel of three retired judges to pick nine members. Applications due July 31.

Gov. Tony Evers is seeking nine residents of Wisconsin to serve on The People’s Maps Commission, a nonpartisan redistricting commission charged with drawing fair, impartial maps following the 2020 U.S. Census. 

To be eligible, applicants must be 18 years or older and residents of Wisconsin. Anyone who has worked as a registered lobbyist in the last five years, is currently a declared candidate for local, state, or federal elected office, or a state public official, local public official, or officer in a governing body of local, state, or national political party may not apply. At least one commission member will come from each of the state’s eight congressional districts.

Those chosen for the commission will hold eight public hearings across the state, one in each of Wisconsin’s congressional districts. One meeting will be held a month, with the first set for September. 

“I believe, and I know Wisconsinites do, too, that the people should get to choose their elected officials, not the other way around,” said Evers in a statement. “The maps we have were drawn behind closed doors without public input, resulting in years of litigation. When I ran for governor, I promised the people of this state that I would fight for nonpartisan redistricting and fair, nonpartisan maps that were drawn in the light of day, and by golly, we’re going to make good on that promise.” 

Following the release of data from the 2020 U.S. Census, the commission will use the information gathered during the public hearing process to prepare maps for the Legislature’s consideration. It will be up to the Legislature to take up and pass the maps created by The People’s Maps Commission.  

Support for fair maps is strong across the state, with 51 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties encompassing nearly 80 percent of Wisconsin’s population having passed resolutions or referenda supporting nonpartisan redistricting. 

According to a Marquette University Law School Poll, more than 70 percent of Wisconsinites prefer to have redistricting conducted by a nonpartisan commission. Nonpartisan redistricting proposals have been introduced in the Legislature during the past several legislative sessions but have never been passed by the GOP-controlled body. 

“Republicans in the Legislature have had every opportunity to take up nonpartisan redistricting reform, but they’ve failed to act for years,” Gov. Evers continued. “The People’s Maps Commission is going to draw a fair set of maps, and if the Legislature refuses to take them up, then those members will have to answer to the people they represent.”  

Those interested must complete an application by July 31. Access an application here. The nine commission members will be chosen by a panel of three retired judges: Janine Geske, Joseph Troy, and Paul Higginbotham. 

“This isn’t a Democratic or Republican redistricting commission, and it’s not going to be the Tony Evers redistricting commission,” said Gov. Evers. “When I say this process should be fair and impartial, I mean it. That’s why I’m excited for these judges to be on the selection panel to ensure The People’s Maps Commission is truly nonpartisan and unbiased.” 

Additional information on The People’s Maps Commission, the application and selection process, and general resources on redistricting can be found at a new website launched by the governor’s office available here.