MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Redistricting of local political boundary lines would be delayed a year or more under a bill up for an Assembly vote Wednesday backed by Republicans and local governments.
Under the proposal, county board and local aldermanic districts would remain the same next year rather than be redrawn based on the 2020 census, as current law requires.
The bill would not affect the timing of redistricting for congressional or legislative districts, which must be redrawn before the 2022 election.
Republican lawmakers and other backers of the measure say it’s innocuous and not designed to give anyone a partisan advantage. But Democrats and other critics say it would be unconstitutional and disenfranchise voters in growing parts of the state that would be forced to hold local elections based on current, rather than updated, maps in 2022.
Democrats and other opponents argue that keeping the current maps in place for local elections runs the risk of being unconstitutional and violate the “one person, one vote” doctrine.
Groups representing Wisconsin towns, villages, cities and counties support the bill.
It must pass the Senate, and be signed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, before becoming law. The Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association opposes the bill because of the different timelines for when new maps would take effect for county and aldermanic districts.
The proposal would push back the current deadlines for counties and cities to draw their new district boundary lines. The result would be to keep the current maps in place until the spring 2023 election for city council and other aldermanic races and 2024 for county board races, except those that have staggered terms and elections in 2023.