Gov. Tony Evers, in a video released Thursday, holds up freshly vetoed Republican-authored legislation that would have enacted gerrymandered maps. (Screenshot via Gov. Tony Evers/YouTube)
Gov. Tony Evers, in a video released Thursday, holds up freshly vetoed Republican-authored legislation that would have enacted gerrymandered maps. (Screenshot via Gov. Tony Evers/YouTube)

“These gerrymandered maps will not become law,” Evers says in a veto message.

Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday vetoed Republicans’ proposed gerrymandered electoral maps that could have given the GOP enough power to override Evers’ vetoes in the future.

“These gerrymandered maps will not become law,” Evers said in a video message released Thursday in which he vetoed the maps. 

The veto means the process of drawing new maps will be left up to the courts, which have drawn maps in the past. 

Three separate lawsuits have been filed to try to get the case in front of different courts that could either lean toward allowing the GOP gerrymander to stand or to strike it down. Conservatives are trying to get the case in front of the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court, while liberal groups hope a federal court takes up the matter.

New maps must be drawn every 10 years to account for population changes, but politicians have historically used a process called gerrymandering to either pack the opposite party’s voters into a few districts or dilute them across many.

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Under Gov. Scott Walker, GOP legislators in 2011 made Wisconsin one of the most severely gerrymandered states in the nation. For example, in 2018, Republicans received 44.8% of the vote statewide but still won 63 of 99 seats in the Assembly.

In an almost 10-hour hearing last month, more than 150 members of the public spoke against the new GOP maps, and no one except GOP leadership spoke in favor of them. 

“Gov. Evers gave the rigged Republican legislative district maps what they deserve—a swift veto,” said Chris Walloch, executive director of progressive group A Better Wisconsin Together, in a statement. “The people of Wisconsin deserve the freedom to choose their elected leaders.”

Evers’ nonpartisan People’s Maps Commission (PMC) presented maps earlier this fall that would have reduced Republicans’ advantage, but all Republican state lawmakers and 18 Democrats voted them down, with Democrats saying they feared the maps would reduce minority representation.