The Milwaukee County Board on Thursday urged the Republican-controlled Legislature to create an independent panel responsible for redrawing congressional and legislative districts that do not favor one political party over another. The board’s action comes three days after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case on appeal that found Wisconsin Republicans in 2011 drew legislative district maps so favorable to their party that the districts violated the federal constitution. In that case, a panel of federal judges ruled 2-1 last year that Wisconsin GOP lawmakers had drawn Assembly district maps so skewed for Republicans that they violated voting rights of Democrats. The maps allowed Republicans to lock in huge majorities in the Assembly and state Senate without competitive elections, according to complainants.
The federal judges noted that Democrats received more votes overall than Republicans in Assembly races in 2012, but Republicans were able to claim 60 of the 99 seats.
“In order to have a democracy, we need fair maps,” county Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said Thursday.
The board approved the resolution on a 16-2 vote. Supervisors Deanna Alexander and Dan Sebring opposed the measure.