SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — It’s one of the most complicated and controversial tasks legislators face – redistricting.
Once a decade, Illinois lawmakers redraw the state’s legislative and congressional districts. The stakes are enormous as lawmakers draw district boundaries with an eye towards future elections.
In Illinois, Democrats control both the state House and Senate and the governor’s mansion. In theory, they could draw the new maps to favor their party.
But the party says it’s committed to “fair maps.”
“House Democrats are dedicated to transparency and public participation in the redistricting process,” State Rep. Lisa Hernandez (D-Cicero) said.
Illinois currently has 18 congressional districts, but that number is expected to decrease by one or two due to population loss.
There is speculation Democrats will erase GOP Congressman Rodney Davis’ 13th district. Davis said Democrats have longed targeted his seat.
Democrats are going to play politics with redistricting, they can’t help themselves.
Republicans are pushing a bill that would give ordinary Illinoisans the power to draws the maps. Under the plan, the Supreme Court would appoint citizens to a redistricting commission.
“There’s a way to do it, a way to do it constitutionally and a way that we can do it in a bipartisan manner that actually returns power to the people,” Senate Republican Leader Dan McConachie said.
In the past, Governor Pritzker and House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch have both expressed support for fair maps.
“It’s time for Democrat leaders to stand behind the promises they make, the promises they use to get elected — to make sure that this process is truly fair,” House GOP Leader Jim Durkin said.
Once the legislature approves a map, Governor Pritzker must sign off on it. He vows to veto a partisan map.
The state constitution sets June 30 as the deadline for new maps. If the legislature fails to meet the deadline, a bipartisan commission is appointed.
To meet the deadline, the maps would have to be drawn without federal census data which would accurately reflect population changes.