top of page

Fighting for Democracy: Fair Maps in WI

On December 22nd 2023, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in Clarke v. Wisconsin Elections Commission that Wisconsin’s legislative maps are unconstitutional and must be redrawn before the 2024 election.


On Monday, February 19, 2024, with pro-democracy leaders, fair maps activists and state legislators looking on, Gov. Evers signed fair maps - the maps he submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in January - into law. These maps will be in place for the 2024 elections and give Wisconsin voters a real shot at electing an accountable, representative, and balanced legislature for the first time since the extreme partisan gerrymander was imposed in 2011.

While the new maps are a victory for Wisconsin voters, there is still work to be done. We still need a permanent solution to partisan gerrymandering in our state. Wisconsin Farmers Union will continue advocating on this issue to ensure that Wisconsin finally gets fair, representative maps for the long term.

The Problem with Gerrymandering


  • VOTER DISENFRANCHISEMENT — Wisconsin’s current district maps were ruled unconstitutional by a federal court in 2016 because they unfairly dilute the votes of over half of the state’s citizens, violating the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. We should empower voters to participate in the democratic process by preserving our right to open and accountable elections. 

  • UNCOMPETITIVE RACES — In competitive districts, candidates and elected officials have an obligation to respond to the needs of their constituents. In the November 2018 general election, 33 of the 99 state Assembly races featured candidates who ran unopposed. In the state Senate, only six races were decided by fewer than 10 percentage points. In order for democracy to thrive, voters must have a real choice when they go to the polls.

  • EXTREME PARTISANSHIP — Most Wisconsinites want members of the Legislature to work across party lines. Unfortunately, our legislative districts are drawn to be “safe” for one party or the other, favoring extreme partisanship. Nonpartisan redistricting would result in more mixed districts where moderate views prevail. 

  • VOTER AND CANDIDATE CONFUSION — Voters and elected officials alike count on town halls, county fairs, and other local events to meet one another. When districts are carved up, constituents struggle to know whether they’re talking to the right legislator, and candidates struggle to know whether they’re talking to one of their constituents. Fair maps would cut the confusion and lead to more robust dialogue between elected officials and voters. 

  • UNNECESSARY EXPENSE — Partisan political maps have resulted in expensive court battles at taxpayer expense. Rather than drawing fair, nonpartisan districts, the state has spent over $4 million to defend the current gerrymandered maps. Taxpayer dollars should be used for public needs like roads, schools, internet infrastructure, and clean water, not to defend political battles the majority of citizens do not support.

What You Can Do


Other ways to get involved:

  • Sign up for the Fair Maps Coalition newsletter to stay in the loop about current events and to learn more ways to get involved

  • Engage on social media 

    • Share the fair maps video and the recording of this presentation on social media

What the State Can Do


    •  A non-partisan commission draws the district lines for state and a federal office. 

    • The maps are presented to the state legislature for an up or down vote. 

    •  If the plan fails to pass after 3 separate votes, the courts step in and take over the process. Since the inception of Iowa’s 1981 model, the maps have only required a second vote once and courts have not had to be involved.

  • STOP SPENDING TAXPAYER MONEY TO DEFEND GERRYMANDERED LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS — There is no justification for spending taxpayer money to oppose fair legislative districts. Voters want the legislature to spend tax dollars on roads, schools, internet infrastructure, and clean water — not costly legal battles over redistricting 

  • DON’T MAKE THIS A PARTISAN ISSUE —  Although Republicans were in power for the previous redistricting and now Democrats are calling for reform, the opposite is true in Illinois. In their last redistricting in 2010-2011, Democrats gerrymandered the state to their advantage and Republicans are now calling for redistricting by an independent commission. Both parties will continue to use this to their own advantage until it is given over to a nonpartisan commission, and both parties will eventually suffer unless something is changed. 

Farmers for Fair Maps Sticker-2.png
bottom of page