Illinois congressional map proposal redraws political lines ahead of fall veto session

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SPRINGFIELD – Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly on Friday released a proposal for new congressional district maps, just days before lawmakers return to the Statehouse for the start of their fall veto session, which starts October 19.

All states redraw their congressional districts after each decennial census. The proposed new maps reflect the fact that Illinois will only have 17 congressional districts after the 2022 election, down from its current 18 districts, due to the state’s population loss since the census of 2010.

The draft proposal includes a number of oddly shaped districts, many of which would create entirely new constituencies for outgoing members of Congress, especially Republicans.

As expected, southern Illinois, which has seen the most dramatic population declines, would essentially be reduced from having two districts to one. Representative Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, would see his 12th The district has nearly doubled in size geographically to encompass almost the entire southern end of the state, from an area just east of the Eastern metropolitan area to the Ohio River.

Meanwhile, Representative Mary Miller, R-Oakland, which currently represents what is currently known as the 15th District in South and East Central Illinois, would be placed in a brand new 16th District that encompasses Oakland, wraps around the town of Champaign and stretches west through much of central Illinois to an area just south of the Quad Cities.

The Quad Cities are currently located in the 17th arrondissement which also includes Rockford. He is represented by Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, who has announced that she will not run again in 2022. This area would be part of a new 17th district which includes Rockford, extends west to Mississippi River, then meanders south to Galesburg and back east to take Bloomington and Peoria, the hometown of Republican Representative Darin LaHood, which represents what is now the 18th District.

Representative Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, who represents what is currently the 13e District in central Illinois that includes Champaign, Decatur and part of Springfield, would be placed in a new 15e District that begins in Litchfield and stretches east to the Indiana border, then winds north to take Danville, then back west and north to include Pontiac, Sterling, Dixon and Freeport in northern Illinois.

Davis has previously indicated he may consider running for governor in 2022, depending on how his district is redesigned.

In a statement Friday, Davis did not indicate he had made a decision, but he severely criticized the proposed new cards.

“As expected, our lying governor has teamed up with state Democrats to draw a shameful partisan gerrymander in a desperate attempt to keep (US House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi in power,” he said. he declares. “This proposed map, and this whole redistribution process, is a complete joke.”

Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Channahon, southwest of Joliet, would also be transferred to a very different neighborhood. It represents what is currently the 16th borough west of the Chicago metro area. It would be placed in a new 3rd district stretching from Oak Lawn south and west to LaSalle.

Illinois could play a central role in the 2022 legislative election as Democrats try to retain their slim majority. The US House is split 220-212 in favor of Democrats with three seats currently vacant – the last two held by Democrats and one held by a Republican.

Historically, however, the party that occupies the White House loses seats in Congress in the first midterm election for a new president, a trend that does not bode well for Democrats.

In Illinois, however, Democrats currently hold a 13-5 majority in the state’s congressional delegation, and Democrats firmly control the redistribution process in the state’s General Assembly, so it’s likely that they will do whatever they can to keep as many Democrats seats as possible.

“Call this new map of Illinois the Nancy Pelosi Protection Plan,” Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy said in a statement. “It is appalling that fair representation, keeping communities of interest together, and transparency in the map-making process in Illinois have all had to take a back seat to the demands of national policy.”

The proposed new maps were released after the Illinois House and Senate held a series of public hearings in the state that drew surprisingly little public participation. In fact, several hearings drew no input from the public while others saw only one or two witnesses speak.

Many non-partisan advocacy groups that were active during the legislative redistribution process earlier this year took no part in the Congressional redistribution process, and some of them cited their frustration with the previous process as a reason to stay away.

“I’m not surprised to see so few people in recent redistribution hearings, given the state of Illinois exclusion process that took place this year, which resulted in a card that harms people. communities of color, ”Ami Gandhi, Senior Counsel, Chicago Lawyers. Civil Rights Committee said in an email. “Even community members who made the effort to analyze and speak out on the maps – especially people of color – said they did not feel heard and that their contribution had not been heard. of importance. It’s a shame because these cards will absolutely affect the options, resources and rights of our communities for the next ten years. “

Jay Young, executive director of Common Cause Illinois, said in an interview that there was a general sense of frustration among many advocacy groups who took part in the legislative redistribution process that continued in the redistribution of Congress. .

“I don’t know if ‘jaded’ is the right word,” he said. “I mean, there are people who are just angry. You know, I have friends that I worked with in their previous lives who are now part of the General Assembly. I believe they are still my friends. I know they care. But even the people I had the most hope for, I think, didn’t do what I had hoped for.

Democrats said at the time that the new legislative maps were designed to reflect the state’s racial and ethnic diversity. But those cards are now the subject of two ongoing federal lawsuits, including one by a leading Latin American advocacy group, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

In addition, a group of black Chicago leaders called Illinois African Americans for a Fair Redistribution recently called on the Justice Department to conduct a civil rights inquiry into the policies and practices that led to the cards, which it says they dilute the voting power of blacks.

The proposed new maps that were released on Friday may just be the first draft of a redistribution plan. The House Redistricting Committee held a hearing on Friday after the proposal was released, and it drew more public participation than most previous hearings. He will hold another Wednesday at 9 a.m. in Springfield.

The Senate Redistribution Committee canceled its Friday meeting and scheduled another Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Statehouse.

Capitol News Illinois is a non-profit, non-partisan news service covering state government and distributed to over 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.


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