WI GOP Partisan Redistricting, Relying on Faulty Maps, Left Wisconsin with Unconstitutional Congressional Districts
July 8, 2015
The Devil’s Advocates Radio Network
MADISON-All of Wisconsin’s congressional districts have unconstitutional assignment of population and voters, based upon information obtained through Open Records requests made by the Devil’s Advocates Radio Show.
The Devil’s Advocates first made requests of Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board (GAB) in March of 2014, requests that were only fulfilled this week upon threat of litigation.
These requests revealed evidence that in Republican’s haste to remake Wisconsin’s voting maps, through WI Act 43 and Act 44, they utilized faulty maps causing erroneous voter placement.
Wisconsin Republican’s utilized a top down approach, where GOP lawmakers-and their private hired attorneys from Michael Best & Friedrich, acted in secret, precisely dictating voting district boundaries, instead of allowing local communities to first produce their own aldermatic and county districts.
While population and voter variances of 10-15 percent are acceptable in Wisconsin’s assembly and senatorial districts, congressional districts may not have population variances of greater than one person or by definition they are unconstitutional.
According to a January 13, 2012 GAB memo-Redistricting Anomalies—Municipal and Ward Boundaries
“Based on initial analysis, Rock County (which at the time relied exclusively on GIS shape files of the district and ward maps from WISE-LR) reported identifying approximately 200 addresses that were placed in the wrong municipality based on the TIGER 2010 data. Rock County provided a specific example of some corrections to municipal boundaries that directly conflict with census blocks and the specific statutory language of Acts 43 and 44, affecting State Assembly, State Senate, and Congressional districts. In this case, the municipal boundary between the Town of Harmony and the City of Janesville was approximately 0.1 mile off (528 feet) in the census data. This caused census blocks containing 9 houses that are in the City of Janesville to be incorrectly placed in the Town of Harmony. In addition, the same error caused census blocks containing one house or farm in the Town of Harmony to be incorrectly placed in the City of Janesville. Obviously, this situation also creates the likelihood of a shift in the population for the City of Janesville and Town of Harmony under Acts 43 and 44, which specifically attributed certain census blocks to incorrect municipalities. Please see the attached map for a visual representation of the discrepancy.
This situation is repeated in many other counties, if not all counties. In fact, the LTSB conducted a limited analysis of 19 counties comparing the circumference of municipal boundaries from the WISE- LR maps to the circumference of municipal boundaries in county shape file maps as they relate to legislative and congressional districts and concluded that 4,204 voters were affected by incorrect municipal boundaries, 1,071 of which likely change Assembly districts and 66 of which likely change Congressional districts.”
In essence, the supporting LTSB County Shape File provided to the Devil’s Advocates, identifies potential incorrectly districted persons (of which 66 are active registered voters) due to LTSB having improper maps with respect to only Municipal Lines (the LTSB did not report on other problems with natural features, ward lines, lower level district lines), which would have significantly altered the variances between the Congressional districts and “probably would have caused the Federal Courts to require the Wisconsin redistricting maps to be redone,” according to legal experts who provided background for this story.
The January 2012 GAB memo further cautioned:
“Regardless of when these corrections occur (pre-Spring 2012 election or after), it is likely that the final districts will not strictly match those prescribed by Acts 43 and 44 because census blocks were attributed to incorrect municipalities or voting districts.”
The GAB does not have the power to simply move voters to reflect the intent of GOP legislators or reassign population between Congressional districts.
A three judge Federal panel ruled prior on narrow issues.
JS Online April 9, 2012-Patrick Marley.
“A panel of federal judges in Milwaukee last month ruled that Assembly Districts 8 and 9 on Milwaukee’s south side violated the Voting Rights Act. This month the panel approved new maps for the two districts drawn by Democrats and Latinos who sued the state over the issue.
Those who sued, including the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera, contended that a host of maps for other legislative and congressional districts violated the law, but the panel did not side with them on those arguments.”
According to the JS Online Oct 16, 2012- Patrick Marley.
“Attorneys hired by Republican lawmakers withheld 34 emails from groups suing them despite three stern court orders to release them, according to a forensic examiner’s report.
The report, filed late Monday as required by a panel of three federal judges, once again highlights that lawyers with Michael Best & Friedrich were not forthcoming with providing subpoenaed documents even after the judges charged them some $17,500 for filing frivolous motions to try to block the release of other records…
The suppressed emails cover the methods Republicans used last year to draw new legislative and congressional maps that will help them tremendously in the Nov. 6 elections and those that follow for the next decade.
A group of Democrats and the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera sued over the maps, and they are now calling for a more detailed review of Michael Best’s computers, as well as those used by consultants and legislative employees .
“We still think there are significant resources out there that haven’t been checked,” said attorney Doug Poland. “There is information that remains to be revealed.”
“The litigation has cost Wisconsin taxpayers more than $1.6 million – $1 million to the law firm Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren to help defend the maps in court, $431,000 to Michael Best for its work drawing the maps and $185,500 to Voces to cover its costs for its successful challenge to the Latino districts.”
On May 2013 JS Online Patrick Marley updated Michael Best & Friedrich settled.
“Groups suing the state over redistricting have reached a settlement with the law firm hired by lawmakers to help draw legislative and congressional maps, according to documents filed in court Wednesday.
Terms of the deal were not made public. Whether there will be any further action in the case remained unclear Wednesday.”
That information Attorney Doug Polland was seeking for the plaintiffs has never been publicly revealed.
Former Wisconsin State Senators D-Tim Cullen and former Majority Leader R-Dale Schultz hold a press conference at the WI State Capitol at 10 am to support a Federal Lawsuit and 12 litigants seeking to overturn unconstitutional gerrymandering of legislative districts in Wisconsin.
Cullen and Schultz lend bi-partisan support to an effort to overturn Wisconsin’s redistricting and the litigants are “asking a federal court to throw out the state legislative Assembly district map as unconstitutional for being drawn to advantage one party” according to a press release.
Former R-Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz will join the Devil’s Advocates at 4:05 pm CT today to discuss the case. Livestream at Darnwi.com or iHeart Radio