Series: Gerrymandering, Wisconsin And The Courts

It's an unsavory truth in American democracy that politicians, to some extent, do get to choose their voters. The party in power often tries to draw state legislative and U.S. House of Representatives district maps to its own advantage, and courts have been reluctant to stop it unless there's strong evidence of racial discrimination. The Republican wave of election victories in 2010, and the increasing sophistication of redistricting software set the stage for an aggressive new batch of legislative maps in Wisconsin and other states. Multiple federal lawsuits challenging this redistricting followed. One court challenge arising from Wisconsin, Gill v. Whitford, set out to prove that partisan gerrymandering could violate voters' rights even if it wasn't racially discriminatory. The case reached the U. S. Supreme Court, and the resulting decision could trigger a seismic change in how political parties consolidate electoral power.
 
When the Supreme Court of the United States returned a closely-followed case on redistricting in Wisconsin to a lower court, the majority's decision suggested that they did not completely accept a specific metric of gerrymandering known as the efficiency gap.
At a glance, Wisconsin's legislative district maps in place since 2011 do not reveal districts with the bizarre shapes and outlines that are classic markers of gerrymandering schemes. But a closer examination of the state Assembly districts reveals a more sophisticated approach to this electoral stratagem.
Prior to 2011, Milwaukee-area residents Marla Stephens and Kris Lennon felt that their votes counted. Now, however, they say the impact of their votes is diminished due to Wisconsin's 2011 redistricting — which is under challenge in a U.S. Supreme Court case.
No matter which way the U.S. Supreme Court decides, change could be coming to Wisconsin's partisan system for redrawing electoral districts.
The arguments driving a potentially landmark court case over partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin may already be outdated.
In the age of big data, it is possible to influence election results by drawing district boundaries without producing the bizarre-looking legislative districts which gave "gerrymandering" its name.
Wisconsin is embroiled in a legal battle that could radically reshape the state's political landscape. Literally.
Months of waiting and guessing are customary in cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, and that cycle is hitting home in Wisconsin.
Where Wisconsin's voters live and which political parties they support is at the heart of a major lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Wisconsin is at the center of what is shaping up to be a landmark legal decision about how electoral districts are determined and the role of partisanship in creating legislative district boundaries.