Legislative Republican election maps unconstitutional, federal court rules

March 22, 2012

Source: Office of Rep. Jon Richards

Courts have to intervene yet again to stop GOP attempts to suppress voting rights

Legislative redistricting maps drawn last year by Republican state lawmakers were ruled unconstitutional today by a panel of three federal judges who heard the case brought by immigrant rights advocates and Wisconsin citizens. Specifically, the judges ruled unanimously that the composition of two Assembly districts on Milwaukee’s south side violated the voting rights of Latinos and had to be redrawn soon by the legislature. The judges’ decision also blasts the process as “needlessly secretive” and states that the results “needlessly moved more than a million Wisconsinites and disrupted their long-standing political relationships…”

Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) issued the following statement in response to the court’s ruling:

“Once again the courts have had to intervene to stop legislative Republicans’ illegal attempts to suppress the voting rights of Wisconsin citizens for their own political advantage.

“Earlier this month, in a span of less than a week, two separate courts ruled that the new state law requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls was unconstitutional.

“Now today a panel of federal justices put a hold on the election maps Republicans and lobbyists drew under secret oath at private law firms because they violate the voting rights of Latinos. They also note that the maps needlessly move more than one million Wisconsinites.

“This is what happens when politicians work in secret, ignore the constitution and shut the public out of the process. The federal court has ordered the legislature to act quickly to redraw its redistricting maps to make them constitutional.

“I encourage my Republican colleagues to follow the judges’ order and to get to work immediately on redrawing the maps in a bipartisan, transparent and legal way.”



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