* Background is here if you need it. AP…
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed off on new electoral maps the Legislature will use for the next decade, despite concerns from certain groups, including some Black and Latino voters, that they weren’t able to weigh in and wouldn’t be fairly represented.
It was the second time Pritzker approved maps drawn up by his fellow Democrats despite promising as a candidate in 2018 that he would veto any made by politicians. He also signed an earlier version that Democrats approved in May but that critics said were flawed because they were based on population estimates. Democrats redrew them last month based on newly released census data and approved them along a straight party-line vote during a one-day special session Aug. 31.
“Gov. Pritzker’s signing of the legislative maps sends a clear picture of the severity of his ‘retrograde amnesia’ and efforts to deceive Illinois citizens,” House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs said in a statement Friday. “The governor now joins the multitude of Democratic legislators who lied to voters by campaigning for and promising ‘fair maps.’”
Republicans and a Latino civil rights group, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, have lawsuits pending in federal court in Chicago that seek to block the new maps from being used in elections. Lawyers for MALDEF say the maps violate the federal Voting Rights Act because they created fewer districts where Latinos of voting age make up a majority, despite Latinos making up a greater percentage of the state’s population than they did a decade ago.
But the Democratic governor insisted the maps drawn up by his party “align with the landmark Voting Rights Act and will help ensure Illinois’ diversity is reflected in the halls of government.” […]
Pritzker’s office said the new state House and Senate district maps “reflect Illinois’ diversity and preserve minority representation” because they’re “crafted in a way that preserves clusters of minority voters if they are of size or cohesion to exert collective electoral power.” […]
But leaders at the anti-corruption group CHANGE Illinois called the Democrats’ new maps “utterly undemocratic,” saying they “steal representation from Latino, Black and other Illinoisans who have repeatedly pleaded for equitable representation.”
“Many major groups agree the new maps reduce the numbers of majority Black voting age population districts and majority Latino voting age population districts,” a statement from CHANGE Illinois reads.
* Capitol News Illinois…
Republican leaders, as well as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, or MALDEF, quickly filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago arguing that they were unconstitutional because they were based on population estimates from survey data rather than official census numbers.
When the official numbers finally came out in mid-August, they did in fact show that population variances between districts were far outside what is allowed under U.S. constitutional law, prompting Democratic leaders to call a special session to adjust the new maps.
Republicans argue, however, that those maps were passed well after the state constitution’s June 30 deadline and, therefore, the task should be given to a bipartisan commission, a process in which Republicans would have a 50-50 chance of gaining a partisan advantage.
That decision will ultimately be up to the courts.
* Leader McConchie probably had the best quote of all last week…
Republican state legislative leaders following the bill signing on Friday reiterated their criticism of Pritzker for failing to follow his original commitment to veto partisan-drawn maps.
“The governor has now twice chosen to actively betray the people he said he was elected to protect. This choice again proves he is more concerned with protecting the political elite than the people of Illinois,” Senate GOP leader Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods said.