MADISON (WKOW) — The two consultants hired by the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued their recommendations after reviewing six proposed sets of new legislative maps.
The consultants are Dr. Jonathan Cervas, a professor at Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy and Technology, and Dr. Bernard Grofman, a professor at UC Irvine School of Social Sciences.
Cervas and Grofman were asked to review six proposals submitted by:
- A group led by Rebecca Clarke (Clarke)
- Governor Tony Evers
- A group led by Billie Johnson (Johnson)
- Democratic senators
- The Wisconsin Legislature
- A group led by Stephen Joseph Wright (Wright)
Cervas and Grofman said, from a social science perspective, the Legislature’s plan does not deserve further consideration. They said the Johnson plan appears to have a substantial number of fails of the “bounded by” constitutional criteria. They also noted the plans from the Legislature and Johnson are “partisan gerrymanders” from a social science perspective.
They said the four other submitted plans are “similar on most criteria” and are “nearly indistinguishable” from a social science point of view.
“On average, each plan, including those submitted by Governor Evers, the Democratic Senators, the Clarke Petitioners, and Wright Intervenors-Respondents plans remain tilted toward the Republicans on all three of our metrics. However, Governor Evers, the Democratic Senators, the Clarke, and Wright plans do create a competitive environment such that most of the time, the party that wins the most votes will win the most seats. These plans reflect the political competitiveness of the state,” the report said.
“The Court can instruct us to take one or more of the plans and improve it with respect to one or more of the court-mandated criteria. Or the Court can instruct us to draw on more than one of the proposed maps and offer the Court a map intended to improve performance on most or all of the Court mandated criteria,” Cervas and Grofman wrote. “In the process of reviewing plans, we have done extensive explorations of the geography of Wisconsin, and we are confident that we can do so. If the Court were to instruct us to create such a map, we are poised to produce it quickly.”
The consultants were given the option of drawing their own maps. According to the report filed Thursday with the Supreme Court, the consultants chose not to do that. “Since it is only the Court that determines whether any map is in compliance with the Wisconsin Constitution and statutory law, we are not offering a plan of our own. We were free to make technical corrections in submitted plans, but we did not feel it necessary to do so,” the report reads.
All parties, including those who submitted maps, have until February 8 to submit briefs in response to the report by Cervas and Grofman. The Wisconsin Elections Commission gave the Wisconsin Supreme Court until March 15 to enact new legislative districts ahead of the primary on August 13.
Read the full report here: