(WORT)–An attorney representing several Democratic Party voters is challenging the constitutionality of a Republican-led plan for redrawing voting districts in Wisconsin in 2011. The plaintiffs’ attorney, Nicholas Stephanopoulos, is arguing that GOP legislators redrew voting maps in secret and with “discriminatory intent” in order to disenfranchise the state’s Democratic voters.
The three-day trial in front of a panel of federal judges got underway Tuesday in Madison.
In the past, the U.S. Supreme Court has not taken up gerrymander cases when partisan bias is the basis for the challenge. But many experts believe the Wisconsin case, if appealed, could be different.
Barry Burden, Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says the trial is being watched closely around the country because the plaintiffs’ case rests on a potentially game-changing way of mathematically calculating the amount of partisan bias in a given redistricting.
Burden spoke with WORT’s Darien Lamen about why the so-called “efficiency gap” measure could set a new precedent in the way voting maps are drawn across the country.