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Gov. Tony Evers seeks to join Democratic lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's political maps – Madison.com

Gov. Tony Evers on Monday sought to intervene in a major redistricting case filed by Democrats asking a federal court to invalidate Wisconsin’s current political maps and draw new ones if the Legislature and governor don’t agree on a new set of maps on time.
Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul filed the motion to intervene on Monday on behalf of Evers.
Since the start of this year, state legislators around the country have introduced more than 2,000 bills to change local election laws, potentially impacting voter registration, election administration control, ballot harvesting and more.
Because Wisconsin governors are tasked with signing the state’s redistricting maps into law, Kaul said in his filing that Evers should have a say in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in August against the Wisconsin Elections Commission on behalf of six voters.
Marc Elias, a prominent Democratic elections attorney, is representing the voters in the lawsuit.
Specifically, the lawsuit contends that Wisconsin’s Assembly, Senate and congressional districts are in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s one person, one vote principle due to population shifts that have occurred in Wisconsin during the past 10 years, according to U.S. Census data released last month. Because of those shifts, districts no longer have the same number of people living in them, a requirement under the law.
The plaintiffs contend that because the Legislature is controlled by Republicans and the governor is a Democrat, chances are slim that they will agree on a new set of maps.
The Legislature has also sought to intervene in the case.
Evers and Kaul are asking the court to allow Evers to participate in the lawsuit by citing the governor’s veto power over the state’s proposed maps. Kaul also highlights Evers’ role in the redistricting process through a commission Evers created in 2020 to present an alternative set of political maps to the ones that the GOP-controlled Legislature will present.
In his filing, Kaul said the governor, if allowed to intervene, plans to present the maps the commission creates to the federal court for consideration. Evers claims the maps the commission draws will be nonpartisan.
“I never thought I would be spending a lot of my time as governor protecting our democracy, but it’s clear that with continued attacks on the right to vote, misinformation around the 2020 election, and efforts to gerrymander our maps, this work has never been more important,” Evers said in a statement. “I will continue to fight every day to protect the right of every eligible voter to cast their ballot, to ensure we have fair, free and secure elections, and to have fair maps in Wisconsin.”
Under the Wisconsin Constitution, the Legislature is tasked with using census data to draw Wisconsin’s new congressional and legislative voting district lines to be used for the next 10 years. They are then supposed to present them to Evers for his signature.
Republicans don’t hold veto-proof supermajorities in either the state Assembly or Senate, so Evers’ signature will be required for the maps to become law. If an agreement isn’t reached, state or federal courts will likely end up drawing the maps.
Town of Dunn resident Robert Wilson reviews his selections on his ballot while voting at the town’s highway garage Tuesday. Voters and poll workers were encouraged to wear masks and take other precautions after efforts to delay the vote amid the COVID-19 pandemic failed. 
Sisters Kelly and Teal Rowe work behind a plexiglass barrier while waiting to verify voters in Wisconsin’s spring election in the town of Dunn Tuesday.
Election workers in the town of Dunn, Wis. tally absentee ballots in the town’s highway garage facility Tuesday, April 7, 2020. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Election workers outside the Madison Municipal Building wear protective medical equipment while assisting voters with curbside voting during the state’s spring election Tuesday.
Election workers and voters outside the Madison Municipal Building keep a distance from each other Tuesday.
A sign along East Washington Avenue in Madison encourages motorists to vote in the state’s spring election Tuesday.
An opponent of a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision to proceed with the state’s spring election amid coronavirus concerns makes her feelings known to passing motorists on Tuesday in Madison.
An opponent of a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision to proceed with the state’s spring election amid coronavirus concerns displays a sign in her car in Madison, Wis. Tuesday, April 7, 2020. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Judy Karofsky, mother of Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Jill Karofsky, checks her phone during a walk with her dog, Bacon, along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Madison, Wis. Tuesday, April 7, 2020. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL
Paula Mohan hands out a ballot while behind plexiglass, to a voter at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center Tuesday April 7, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. STEVE APPS, STATE JOURNAL
Benjamin Olneck-Brown, left, and Laura Muller organizing absentee ballots at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center Tuesday April 7, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. STEVE APPS, STATE JOURNAL
Shanon Hankin, cleans a voting booth after it was used for voting Tuesday at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center in Madison.
Anita Krasno checks in a voter while behind plexiglass at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center Tuesday April 7, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. STEVE APPS, STATE JOURNAL
Michelle Martin, left, and Anita Krasno, middle, check in a voter behind a plexiglass barrier at the Will-Mar Neighborhood Center on Tuesday. Madison erected the barriers for poll workers at all 66 of the city’s polling locations.
Benjamin Olneck-Brown, left, and Laura Muller organizing absentee ballots at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center Tuesday April 7, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. STEVE APPS, STATE JOURNAL
People line up to vote at Riverside High School during the primary in Milwaukee on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Voters lined up to cast ballots across Wisconsin on Tuesday, ignoring a stay-at-home order in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to participate in the state’s presidential primary election. (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)
Voters masked against coronavirus line up at Riverside High School for Wisconsin’s primary election Tuesday April 7, 2020, in Milwaukee. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
A worker hands out disinfectant wipes and pens as voters line up outside Riverside High School for Wisconsin’s primary election Tuesday April 7, 2020, in Milwaukee. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Voters masked against coronavirus line up at Riverside High School for Wisconsin’s primary election Tuesday April 7, 2020, in Milwaukee. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Voters masked against coronavirus line up at Riverside High School for Wisconsin’s primary election Tuesday April 7, 2020, in Milwaukee. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Bridget McDonald, right, receives a ballot from poll worker Patty Piek-Groth on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at the Janesville Mall in Janesville, Wis. Hundreds of voters in Wisconsin are waiting in line to cast ballots at polling places for the state’s presidential primary election, ignoring a stay-at-home order over the coronavirus threat. (Angela Major/The Janesville Gazette via AP)
In this photo provided by Robin Vos, the Republican speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, Vos is shown wearing a mask, gloves and a protective gown while working at the polls in Burlington, Wis., on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Vos sued Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who tried to stop the election due to fears of coronavirus, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court said Evers didn’t have the authority to stop the election. Vos said the election could be run safely despite public health warnings about the risk of spreading the virus. (Photo courtesy of Robin Vos via AP)
Robert Forrestal, left, wears a full face chemical shield to protect against the spread of coronavirus, as he votes Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at the Janesville Mall in Janesville, Wis. Hundreds of voters in Wisconsin are waiting in line to cast ballots at polling places for the state’s presidential primary election, ignoring a stay-at-home order over the coronavirus threat. (Angela Major/The Janesville Gazette via AP)
Voters masked against coronavirus line up at Riverside High School for Wisconsin’s primary election Tuesday April 7, 2020, in Milwaukee. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Scott Hanna staffs a curbside voting location outside Madison’s East High School Tuesday wearing a mask and face shield to protect himself and voters from COVID-19.
Poll worker Patty Piek-Groth, left, helps fellow poll worker Jerry Moore, center, put on a mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus, as the polls open for the presidential primary election at the Janesville Mall in Janesville, Wis., on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Hundreds of voters in Wisconsin are waiting in line to cast ballots at polling places for the state’s presidential primary election, ignoring a stay-at-home order over the coronavirus threat. (Angela Major/The Janesville Gazette via AP)
About 30 people, many of them wearing masks, were in line when the polls opened in Middleton at Kromrey Middle School. However, after the initial rush, the waits were few as more than 8,000 people had voted absentee prior to Tuesday
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Capitol reporter
Riley Vetterkind covers politics and state government for the Wisconsin State Journal. He can be reached at (608) 252-6135 or [email protected]
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