ELECT Blog Election Law Essays on Current Topics

Partisan Gerrymandering

By Rob Tyson

In Wisconsin, a challenge to the State’s drawing of its legislative districts based on partisan gerrymandering is moving toward a trial beginning May 24.  The Plaintiffs, generally linked together as Democrats, have challenged the legislative districts drawn by “Republican legislators to maximize Republican wins and minimize Democratic influence over the political process…”  the Plaintiffs allege the 2012 Wisconsin redistricting plan, “is one of the worst partisan gerrymanders in modern American history.”

The Defendant moved for summary judgment which the three-judge panel denied on April 7.  The Order held “there are factual disputes regarding the validity of Plaintiffs’ proposed measurement for determining the existence of a constitutional violation.”

Generally, our courts have allowed gerrymandering done on a partisan basis; thus, the Wisconsin case is worth watching to see if a court rules plans drawn with partisan intentions are constitutionally invalid.

Whitford v. Nichol, April 7, 2016 Slip Copy 2016 WL 1390040.  See here.