Yesterday, Madison’s common council approved new aldermanic districts and wards for the next decade.
The new maps will take effect on New Year’s Day, 2022, but city alders will continue to represent the same district as they are now until spring 2023. That’s when the next round of city council elections will take place.
So if a Madison alder currently represents District 21 — an imaginary district I just made up — they’ll represent District 21 until they’re up for re-election in spring 2023, even if they don’t live in that district after the new maps take effect at the start of 2022.
That also means that, come 2023, some incumbent alders may be pitted against each other as they shift into each other’s districts.
While the final map was unanimously approved, alders debated amendments added in the final days of the redistricting process.
One of the most contentious was a proposal to shift portions of the Town of Madison out of District 14 on the city’s south side. That’s as the Town of Madison, portions of which are scattered across central Dane County, is slated to be absorbed into both Fitchburg and the City of Madison next year.
The amendment, which passed 11-9, would attach portions of the town to District 13, which – under the new maps – includes areas around Lake Wingra and bounded by Lake Monona on the east.
Sheri Carter, who represents District 14, voted against the amendment.
“The Town of Madison, historically, has been part of South Madison, even though it’s another municipality.” Carter said.
Alder Tag Evers, who co-sponsored the amendment and represents the district the parcels will be attached to, pushed back on Carter’s arguments. He pointed out that the town of Madison is discontinuous — and even includes a small parcel on the city’s east side.
Most of the Town of Madison is located on the city’s south side, however.
“There is a parcel all the way over near Maple Bluff, for example,” Evers argued. “It’s just a misnomer to suggest that being formerly in the tTown of Madison is a community of interest.”
In total, thirteen map amendments were approved yesterday. Most of those alterations were relatively minor boundary nudges.
But, four alders — Charles Myadze, Jael Currie, Nasra Wehelie and Barbara Harrington-Mckinney — voted against every single proposed amendment. Myadze took issue with what he said were last minute additions to the map.
“What is the use of the committee if we’re going to make a decision, whether minor or not, after community engagement has been done already,” he asked.
“I mean, I’ve only been through one other redistricting process, but my understanding is that it’s not at all unprecedented to have a robust discussion and amendments at the council level,” responded Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, who participated in the 2011 redistricting process as an alder. “That’s not only not unprecedented for redistricting, but it’s par for the course for every item that comes before you.”
The city had a compressed timeline to complete its redistricting process this year, as exact population counts from the U.S. Census came late.
Now that the city has approved its new wards and aldermanic maps, the county can finalize its supervisory district maps. The county board approved a tentative map last month.