The Senate and House Redistricting Committees have released a proposed map of new legislative boundaries designed to comply with federal and state law and ensure the broad racial and geographic diversity of Illinois is reflected in the General Assembly.
The proposed map incorporates suggestions gathered during more than 45 public hearings held across the state as legislators sought input on how to best ensure communities across Illinois receive fair and equal representation. The proposal can be viewed at www.ilsenateredistricting.com and www.ilhousedems.com/redistricting. The public is encouraged to provide feedback during additional hearings that will take place next week before a map is voted on by the General Assembly.
“Redistricting is about making sure all voices are heard, and that’s exactly what this map accomplishes. This is a fair map that reflects the great diversity of our state and ensures every person receives equal representation in the General Assembly,” said Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, Chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee. “I’m grateful to all of the community groups and organizations who engaged in this process in a meaningful way and look forward to continuing those conversations in the coming days.”
“This proposed map amplifies the diverse voices of the people of Illinois, allows communities to be represented by people of their choice and ensures that every person in our state has a say in their government,” said Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-Cicero, Chairperson of the House Redistricting Committee. “This fair map reflects input from grassroots individuals and community organizations across our state and I’m thankful for every person who took the time to make their voices heard. I look forward to continued engagement as Illinoisans provide feedback to this proposal in additional public hearings.”
Next week, there will be four hearings on the proposed map:
- Tuesday, May 25 at 4:00 PM – Joint House and Senate Hearing
- Tuesday, May 25 at 6:00 PM – House Hearing
- Wednesday, May 26 at 4:00 PM – Joint House and Senate Hearing
- Wednesday, May 26 at 6:00 PM – Senate Hearing
These will be hybrid hearings with the opportunity for in-person and virtual testimony. Details can be found online at www.ilga.gov.
Redistricting occurs every ten years as each state is required to draw new boundaries for legislative districts in response to shifts in population. While the Illinois Constitution does not require the use of U.S. Census data to draft a map, the Constitution does contain a June 30 deadline for the General Assembly to craft a map.
To fulfill this constitutional obligation and prevent the redistricting process from being turned over to a committee of partisan, political appointees, the proposed map was drafted using population information from the American Community Survey’s (ACS) 5-year estimate for 2019, in addition to robust public input. The ACS estimate varies by just 0.3 percent from the state’s official population count released by the U.S. Census Bureau in April.
Top of mind for the Redistricting Committee is conforming to several constitutional and statutory standards, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Voting Rights Act prohibits the drawing of redistricting plans that results in the denial or abridgment of the right to vote based on race, color, or membership in a language minority. Building on that federal law, Illinois Democrats spearheaded the passage and implementation of the Illinois Voting Rights Act in 2011, which also ensures redistricting plans are crafted in a way that preserves clusters of minority voters if they are of size or cohesion to exert collective electoral power.
In Illinois, legislative redistricting maps must also meet three requirements: districts must be substantially equal in population, compact and contiguous.