In his veto statement, Evers said the Republican maps proposal created “unbalanced, unfair maps designed to protect incumbent legislators.”
Evers’ veto makes it likely that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will be tasked with selecting new maps in the coming weeks.
“Wisconsinites don’t want Republican or Democrat maps because we're not a red or blue state — we’re a purple state, and our maps should reflect that,” he said on Twitter.
Earlier this month, Evers submitted maps to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for consideration in an ongoing redistricting case after the court ruled in favor of the liberal-leaning firm Law Forward. Justices ordered the creation of new district maps by March 15, in time for the April 2 presidential primary election.
The court in December ruled Wisconsin’s existing legislative maps unconstitutional because districts are not contiguous, meaning all parts of a voting district are not physically in contact as required by the state constitution.
The Republican maps amended the proposal Evers submitted to prevent incumbent legislators from being removed from their current districts.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said the Republican maps aimed to make “miniscule changes to un-gerrymander Evers’ maps” at a press conference Wednesday.
Vos said in a statement Tuesday he is “disappointed but not surprised” that Evers vetoed the proposal.
“His action today only solidifies his trust in the Wisconsin Supreme Court to give him even more partisan, gerrymandered maps for Democrats,” Vos said.
Under the maps submitted by Evers, Democrats could secure control of the Senate and Assembly if they perform similarly to how Evers did in his 2022 re-election. If Democrats get margins similar to the party’s loss against U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in 2022, Republicans would control the Assembly 51-48 and the Senate 17-16, according to the Cap Times.
The court said it would step in to ensure new maps are adopted in time for the primary election if Evers and the Republican-controlled Legislature fail to pass new maps.
Two outside consultants will review all map submissions and report back to the court by Feb. 1. If they find none of the maps satisfactory, the consultants may submit their own maps or recommend changes.
All 99 Assembly members and 16 senators in even-numbered districts will run under the new maps in 2024. Senators in odd-numbered districts will remain in office until their current term ends in 2026.
Editor's note: this article was updated at 2:56 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024.
Anna Kleiber is an arts editor for The Daily Cardinal. She also reports on state politics and campus news. Follow her on Twitter at @annakleiber03.
Francesca Pica is the city news editor emeritus for The Daily Cardinal. She has covered multiple municipal elections and is a leading reporter on Madison labor issues. Additionally, she served as a summer intern for The Capital Times and currently serves as a WisPolitics intern.
Ava Menkes is the state news editor at The Daily Cardinal. She has covered multiple stories about Wisconsin politics and written in-depth about nurses unions and youth voter turnout. Follow her on Twitter at @AvaMenkes.