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Friday, February 17, 2012

 8:31 AM 

Redistricting emails show GOP aides, lawyers coordinating testimony

The redistricting emails Republicans tried to keep secret show the Legislature’s attorneys and GOP aides coordinated testimony with witnesses on the maps and considered requiring special elections in some Senate districts where voters would go six years without voting for their state senator.

The emails were released yesterday after a federal court slammed GOP lawmakers for trying to shield them under attorney-client privilege and ordered their release in advance of a trial next week on a lawsuit by Dem voters.

Many of the emails focused on the Hispanic populations in two Assembly districts that are at the heart of one legal challenge of the legislative maps. The disenfranchisement of some voters in Senate districts is also an issue in the lawsuit. Some emails show a GOP aide and a lawyer for Republicans discussed countering that issue by pointing to last summer’s recall elections, which they theorized could be used to lower the number of voters truly disenfranchised.

They also the coordination on testimony with witnesses who testified on the maps included talking points and prepping them on specifics.

Those witnesses included Dane County Supv. Eileen Bruskewitz, a conservative who lost a race for county exec last year. The emails include an outline of draft testimony for her.

Others Republicans coordinated with, according to the emails, include Milwaukee Elections Commissioner Bob Spindell, former UW Regent Gerard Randall, who is African-American, and former DWD Secretary Manny Perez, who is Hispanic.

The emails also include an outline of criteria that should be used for comparing various proposed maps.

The list includes ensuring no minority legislators are paired, “incumbent protection,” whether any leaders are paired with other lawmakers in the newly drawn districts, and making sure districts meet population criteria as closely as possible when “there are other issues about criteria, e.g. political gerrymandering & race.”

Among the emails are some involving former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, whose input was sought on the Hispanic Assembly districts, and what appears to be a draft of a floor speech for an unnamed Senate Republican who opposed the process by which the maps were drawn and favored an independent commission to undertake the task.

Read the emails:

-- By Staff


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