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Senate Republicans OK local redistricting delay

June 23, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Senate approved a Republican bill Wednesday that would delay local governments’ redistricting efforts.

The Senate passed the measure 18-12. No Democrats voted for it. The vote sends the measure on to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Wisconsin law requires counties to adopt redistricting plans for supervisors by July 1 and municipalities to adopt new aldermanic wards within the following 60 days.

The new districts would be based on 2020 census data that federal officials were required to deliver to states by March. But the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the data until fall. Local leaders fear that means they can’t draw new maps by the state’s deadlines, a violation of state law.

Under the bill, counties would have until February to adopt new maps. Municipalities would have until May.

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Democrats contend that keeping current districts in place for local elections this year could be unconstitutional. Republicans counter that the bill establishes deadlines that local leaders can meet and Democrats are trying to create an issue where none exists.

The Assembly signed off on the proposal earlier this month.