Proposed Republican District Map: Courtesy nationalatlas.gov
Recently federal judges struck down Wisconsin’s Republican drawn legislative redistricting, ruling that they were unconstitutional.
Minority Democrats could now force the Legislature to redraw the maps, however Republican State Representative Gary Tauchen believes the new maps were well within constitutional rights.
“It’s really based on three things,” Tauchen started. “It’s in the Constitution that the Legislature does the redistricting. It’s based on population, contiguous-ness, and minorities. It’s already been through that system, but now a federal judge has created a brand new test and we think it’s flawed, and that this will be moved forward to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Tauchen remains confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will find rule in favor of the Legislature boundaries, and he explains either way you divide it up, it’s a difficult process.
“It has to be done every ten years,” Tauchen said. “We take a census every ten years and then we redo the districts because everything is based on population first. No matter how you do it is tough.”
Since Tauchen’s time in office, he says he’s seen first-hand how districts can change considerably.
“I lost 10,000 people when we did redistricting because the Representative Jeff Mursau, who’s just north of me, the lumber industry went to pots, so a lot people moved out of that area, so there had to be lines drawn. That’s what they do every ten years, and there’s always challenges where people believe something has been done incorrectly, and that’s why we have the court system to finalize that.”
Opponents argue that the redistricting marginalize Democrats by packing them into districts that already favor the Democratic vote.
An effect of this could mean a reduction in the number of swing districts within the state, however the Supreme Court has not yet come up with a standard on deciding when redistricting becomes unconstitutional gerrymandering.