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*** UPDATED x1 *** Democrats begin process of muscling through a remap redo

Friday, Aug 27, 2021

* The Center Square

Next year’s primary in Illinois has been moved to June. Filing doesn’t start until January. Regardless, the Democratic supermajority at the state house is preparing to revise maps that community groups say need more time to review.

Maps determining legislative boundaries for the next ten years have been enacted, but they’re being challenged in federal court. With the final Census data out, the Democratic majority has called a special session.

Before the maps were approved, groups were demanding two weeks to review the drafts and provide input. They didn’t get that. It now appears likely that they’re not going to get that now, as the state is moving to pass revised maps for the Aug. 31 special session.

The first hearing on Thursday featured civic groups demanding more time to review maps.

Ami Gandhi with the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights said lawmakers are doing an injustice.

“We’re uncomfortable with this redistricting process, with this huge rush, with this lack of transparency,” Gandhi said. “People are not being assured that their rights are being respected.”

Jay Young with Common Cause said the process resembles the rushed maps in May.

It’s of their own making, of course, but Democrats are now under the gun of a federal judge who essentially paused those lawsuits until after the special session ends. There will be no delays.

* Capitol News Illinois

The mapmaking process that lawmakers have used is already the subject of two federal lawsuits being heard by a three-judge panel in Chicago. One, filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, argues that the maps lawmakers passed in May dilute the voting power of the state’s Latino population. Another filed by Republican leaders in the General Assembly argues, among other things, that lawmakers failed to enact legal maps by the June 30 deadline set out in the Illinois Constitution and, therefore, should be thrown out and redrawn by a bipartisan legislative commission.

Republicans on the committees, meanwhile, alleged Thursday that Democrats who control the General Assembly have already started drawing new maps behind closed doors and that the public hearings now taking place are only for show.

“I literally witnessed with my own eyes a member of the General Assembly looking at the map, talking to staff about whether it was square enough or not, which is what I overheard,” said Rep. Tim Butler, a Springfield Republican. “There was many members of the majority in that room, looking at the maps. And I would ask you, the people who are going to testify today, have you been invited into those meetings so far to look at the maps? Are you having solid input on what these maps are going to be? No. They’re being drawn by the majority as we saw in the spring with partisan intent.”

Later, when asked what data was being used to draw the new maps, House committee chairwoman Lisa Hernandez, D-Cicero, said she didn’t know and that she hadn’t seen the maps that Butler was talking about. But she said Democrats were determined to draw new districts that would reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of Illinois.

Nobody knows anything when it comes to maps. Chasing that story involves a whole lot of brick walls. Even so, subscribers know a bit more.

*** UPDATE *** Press release…

Illinois House Redistricting Committee Spokesperson Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) released the following statement after this morning’s abysmal public hearing on redistricting:

“This morning’s House Redistricting Committee hearing was an abuse of a free and fair democratic process. Despite hearing testimony from countless advocacy groups yesterday asking for more time, the House Democrats, who had no members in attendance [in-person], held a hearing with little notice that resulted in NO public attendance in person or even on Zoom. This continued approach from the Illinois Democrats to jam through yet ANOTHER partisan map to retain control over the state is disgusting and offensive to all the residents of our state. Let’s hope that Governor Pritzker will not lie to voters twice and will veto whatever sham map the General Assembly passes next Tuesday.”

The flip side is that everyone who wanted to say something spoke yesterday and citizens aren’t all that riled up about this as much as the commentariat might have us believe.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

6 Comments
  1. - Basic - Friday, Aug 27, 21 @ 11:14 am:

    Off to a heckuva start! Zero witnesses and the wrong powerpoint. What a joke!


  2. - VerySmallRocks - Friday, Aug 27, 21 @ 11:58 am:

    In view of the nationally coordinated Republican campaign of voter suppression and gerrymandering that doesn’t reflect statewide percentages, my response to the Illinois GOP is - boohoo.


  3. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Friday, Aug 27, 21 @ 12:21 pm:

    I wouldn’t be surprised, among many other things, if a lot of southern and western Illinois districts which lost even more population from the ACS-based May map will see those new districts shifted further north.

    And maybe some ancestral Dem areas where they still do fairly strong (e.g., Canton, Beardstown, Sterling) which were put in solidly GOP new seats might get added to new D-leaning Senate seats (e.g., Beardstown to either the new 36th or Turner’s new 48th; Sterling to the new 36th; Canton to either Koehler’s new 46th or even the new 36th–or even Turner’s new 48th).


  4. - ZC - Friday, Aug 27, 21 @ 1:06 pm:

    I get they’re an interest group, but if MALDEF’s primary goal is another Latino US Rep , vs preventing Republican Jim Jordan taking over at House Judiciary and overseeing immigration bills … well, it’s a plan, I’ll leave it at that.


  5. - Sue - Friday, Aug 27, 21 @ 4:09 pm:

    For some reason Dems are only upset with gerrymandering when it occurs in a Red State. Go figure. I guess we shouldn’t expect complaints here from Eric Holder or Marc Elias


  6. - MyTwoCents - Friday, Aug 27, 21 @ 4:22 pm:

    For some reason Republicans only care about fair maps in blue states. See how that works both ways Sue? Go read up on the states that are more gerrymandered than Illinois, hint they’re mostly conservative.


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