Republicans, who were shut out of the process since Democrats hold a majority in the House and Senate, had considered offering their own proposed changes to the map but were leaning against it. With a Democratic governor and legislature, Republicans instead were looking for grounds in federal court to mount a legal challenge to block a new map.
Each legislative caucus was given $750,000 for remap work. Republicans have spent most of their cash on attorneys.
Sources familiar with the map making process but not authorized to speak about it said the new plan would boost districts with Latino voting age majorities up from 50 percent and above to 60 percent in three areas on the North Side and five on the Southwest Side.
One of those 60 percent Latino districts would be that of House Speaker Michael Madigan, the 40-year Southwest Side lawmaker who also is the state’s longest serving speaker and is state Democratic chairman.
MALDEF officials said the Democrats’ map “does not create a sufficient number of Latino opportunity districts” to meet the federal Voting Rights Act.
And former Sen. Miguel del Valle of Chicago said the proposed map “worries me quite a bit” because the presumed Hispanic districts include many undocumented residents who cannot vote.
“Given that the Hispanic community has a large number of individuals who are not eligible to register to vote — they are voting age but because they are permanent residents or they are undocumented they are not eligible to vote, and so while they are counted in the census the fact of the matter is that they cannot participate — I ask you to take the next few days to amend this proposal and improve the percentages in these districts,” he said.
Political maps for the state House and state Senate released this past week dilutes the black vote in Illinois, some minority interest groups say.
Under the proposed map, the House draws eight seats and the Senate five seats in areas where blacks make up at least 55 percent of the population. Compared to the current map, that means 10 fewer House seats and three fewer Senate seats, according to the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations or United Congress, a grassroots organization that represents about 50 groups advocating for more representation for minority communities in the new legislative maps.
For districts with populations of more than 50 percent black, the total majority-minority districts get bumped up to 16 House seats and seven Senate seats. But Josina Morita, executive coordinator for United Congress, said that’s not enough to get a minority-backed candidate elected.
“Take into account the percentage of turnout in African-American communities; 50 percent alone doesn’t mean that you’ll be the majority of those who actually vote,” Morita said.
As I’ve explained before, the massive population loss recorded by the Census Bureau was mainly centered in black legislative districts. The Black Caucus decided they’d rather keep the same number of African-American seats than drawing a bunch of districts with super-majority black populations. Also, Chicago black voter turnout is usually quite high, so I have to disagree with Morita there.
[The new district] features a swath of Ed Sullivan’s District 51 Democrats (all of downtown Mundelein) herded into a narrow peninsula and given to next-door Rep. Carol Sente in District 59. The loss of those Democrats makes it almost impossible for Rep. Ed Sullivan to ever lose his seat, except in a primary to a fellow Republican or when he retires 75 years from now.
Hmmm. We wonder what Eddie Sullivan did to earn such a wet, sloppy kiss from King Madigan. Luck o’ the Irish?
Nope. The reality is, unless they have to move, many Republicans love this remap (as minority party members often do) because they lost Democratic turf to bolster a neighboring Dem and gained that neighbor’s Republican turf. Sullivan didn’t have to do anything for this “favor.” It’s just the way the big dogs always draw maps.