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Wisconsin Redistricting Plaintiffs Rally Ahead Of Their Day In The Supreme Court

SCOTUS Will Hear About Controversial State Assembly District Maps Tuesday

Wally Gobetz (CC-BY)

Plaintiffs in the Wisconsin redistricting case going before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday are speaking up ahead of the oral arguments. They held a rally Sunday night in Milwaukee.

The case challenges the district maps Republicans drew for the state Assembly after the 2010 census. One of the plaintiffs, Helen Harris, said all of a sudden her Democratic-leaning Milwaukee neighborhood was represented by a conservative Republican from the suburbs. She said she, in effect, lost her vote.

“No matter what happened, I just don’t feel that I can influence my legislators and convince them of the things that are important to me,” Harris said.

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Plaintiffs Helen Harris, left, Jerry Wallace and Mary Lynne Donohue at a Sunday evening rally in Milwaukee ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court redistricting arguments. Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

Plaintiff Mary Lynne Donohue said Republican map-makers redrew her Sheboygan district and gave her a nice, but conservative, state representative.

“So there’s not much contact there that really involves any kind of power equity. So, I’m powerless, I’m voiceless, and that’s not the way it’s supposed to be,” Donohue told WPR, adding that the GOP acted in secrecy, and used “astonishing precision” to make sure their party would stay in the majority

Plaintiff Jerry Wallace told WPR his Milwaukee suburb of Whitefish Bay used to be politically competitive in Assembly races until the altered map gave him a very conservative lawmaker.

“All of a sudden, I find myself now represented by somebody who I have no contact with. He and I don’t see eye to eye on any issue,” Wallace said.

Voter advocacy groups say the Republicans engaged in “runaway gerrymandering.” Lawyers for the GOP say the high court justices should not intervene in the political act of redistricting and that many district maps across the U.S. would have to change if the plaintiffs win the Wisconsin case.

Republican leaders like Assembly Speaker Robin Vos say the maps are fair and that the Legislature should remain in charge of redrawing legislative district boundaries.