Immigrant Rights Group Sues Wisconsin Over Redistricting Map

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MILWAUKEE--A Wisconsin immigrant rights group is suing the state's Government Accountability Board over a new redistricting map that they say dilutes the power of the Latino vote. Voces de la Frontera filed a lawsuit on Oct. 31, alleging that Wisconsin's newly-approved legislative redistricting map deprives the Latino community on Milwaukee's south side of an effective voting majority in the 8th Assembly district.

"As a result of the redistricting plan, Latino citizens have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect candidates of their choice to the Legislature of Wisconsin," the lawsuit states. 

The suit argues that the new map violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which "precludes the State of Wisconsin from minimizing the opportunities for minority groups, including Latino citizens, to participate in the political process."

Voces Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz said the Latino population on Milwaukee’s south side had increased by 44 percent, and was now large enough to support a legislative district with a majority of voting age Latinos. The state's new redistricting plan, however, reduces that potential majority to just over 40 percent.

"This dilution of the growing voting influence of Latinos in our state, along with new voter ID requirements," Neumann-Ortiz said, "represents an effort to turn back our state policies to a racist Jim Crow era, which disenfranchised people of color and poor whites from the political process."