A federal three-judge panel has ruled that a gerrymandering lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's political map can now proceed.
The state Department of Justice had asked judges to dismiss the case, but in a 24-page order, judges rejected that motion, writing that the DOJ's arguments were "unpersuasive or premature."
The lawsuit was brought by a group of Democratic voters who say that using consistent mathematical measures, Wisconsin's Republican-drawn political map is one of the most gerrymandered in modern U.S. history. They allege it has effectively silenced their voice in state government.
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Sachin Cheda, of the Fair Elections Project, said Thursday's ruling was a big procedural step.
"This is really a lot of progress towards the (U.S.) Supreme Court actually setting a standard for how much partisan gerrymandering is too much," Cheda said.
The state Department of Justice said it was reviewing the decision. The case is currently scheduled to go to trial in May.