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Democrats file response to redistricting lawsuits

Monday, Nov 29, 2021

* Peter Hancock at Capitol News Illinois

Lawyers for the General Assembly’s Democratic leaders filed documents in federal court Wednesday denying that newly drawn state legislative district maps amount to racial gerrymandering, instead accusing the plaintiffs in the three lawsuits of trying to use race to redraw districts for their own purposes.

Wednesday’s filings are the Democrats’ response to proposed changes in the district maps submitted last week by Republican leaders, a Latino advocacy group in Chicago and Black civil rights groups in the Metro East region. […]

“The September Redistricting Plan … protects minority voting strength and provides Hispanic and Black voters more than an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice,” their brief states. “The three plaintiffs have failed to provide evidence to support otherwise and have not demonstrated that the September Redistricting Plan violates the Voting Rights Act or the U.S. Constitution.” […]

“The General Assembly, understanding the different political factions in this area [Chicago’s Southwest Side], worked to carefully balance the interest of progressive and moderate factions in separate Senate and House districts to reduce political infighting among Latino groups,” lawyers for the Democrats wrote.

* As subscribers already know, the filing is long, but well worth a read. For instance, here is just one of several examples of what the Republican proposal would allegedly do

The McConchie plan makes additional, unnecessary changes to districts not subject to challenge that result in packing minorities and Democrats in several districts. HDs 35 and 36 both currently represented by Democrats. The plan would swap precincts between the two districts such that HD 35 becomes the most Republican district in Chicago.

That’s Rep. Fran Hurley’s district.

* One more

Plaintiff Republican Leader Durkin’s District. Finally, the McConchie plan’s attempt to proclaim themselves the champions of minority interests are compromised by engaging in a brazen racial gerrymander to create a whiter district for named Plaintiff Republican Leader Jim Durkin. In HD 82, the plan swaps Black and white populations between three districts. White precincts in Proviso Township and Lyons Township are moved into HD 8, a district with a Black incumbent, to reduce the Black VAP of HD 8 from 49.51% to 48.29%. Maxson Decl., Ex. A. Several diverse precincts in Lyons Township are moved from HD 82 into HD 21, and the population loss in HD 82 is replaced by adding white precincts from Palos Township. The changes to Plaintiff Republican Leader Durkin’s district are blatant racial gerrymanders that have the result of creating a whiter district, and therefore more politically stable, district for Rep. Durkin.

* And a sampling of what the Democrats say about the MALDEF proposal

Little Village and Chinatown Communities of Interest. Similar to the McConchie plan, the Contreras plan splits Little Village between three House districts (HDs 21, 23, and 24) and two Senate Districts (SDs 11 and 12), and removes a Latino incumbent from the core of his current district. The Plan fractures the political base for progressive Latinos in Little Village and alters the delicate balance between the moderate and conservative factions in the area.

The Plan also splits the greater Chinatown community between two House Districts (HDs 23 and 24) while pairing the greater Chinatown community and a portion of Little Village in HD 24, which pits two significant political bases against each other and reduces the Asian American influence in the district. Historically, the 11th Ward which contains much of the greater Chinatown community and the Little Village neighborhood (Wards 12 and 22) often support different candidates, and it’s highly unlikely that these communities would coalesce around one candidate of choice. This map creates a situation where candidates would be encouraged to cater to their own political bases at the expense of districtwide representation.

Again, click here to read the rest.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

6 Comments
  1. - Comedy Gold - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 10:05 am:

    ==Finally, the McConchie plan’s attempt to proclaim themselves the champions of minority interests are compromised by engaging in a brazen racial gerrymander to create a whiter district for named Plaintiff Republican Leader Jim Durkin.==

    This line is bleeping golden.


  2. - JB13 - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 10:33 am:

    – worked to carefully balance the interest of progressive and moderate factions in separate Senate and House districts to reduce political infighting among Latino groups –

    Translation: We intentionally drew fewer majority Latino districts to increase the number of safe Democratic districts.
    Thanks for the admission, counsel


  3. - Bruce( no not him) - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 11:03 am:

    My gerrymandering good.
    Your gerrymandering bad.
    This is said by both sides.


  4. - Soo.... - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 11:04 am:

    Translation: We intentionally drew fewer majority Latino districts to increase the number of safe Democratic districts.
    Thanks for the admission, counsel

    Or the counsel understands that “Latinos” do not have a monolithic socio, political or national identity.


  5. - Fav Human - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 11:19 am:

    Does the law really demand balancing among progressive, etc interests within a community?

    Or is that their way of saying “we drew this to elect incumbents and the people we hope will win”?


  6. - Publius - Monday, Nov 29, 21 @ 12:05 pm:

    What we need is at large reps in Chicago. Then each group is able to elect someone to representative across the different groups. Spending time to draw all these lines is not helping.


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