August 31, 2021
For Immediate Release
Illinois majority lawmakers disrespected and disregarded constituents and valuable community input in redrawing and ramming through revised state representative and senate district maps Tuesday after census data revealed their first maps violated the Constitution’s one person, one vote principle.
Despite pleas from diverse racial and ethnic groups to take time to conduct a transparent, meaningful revision process, lawmakers rushed through multiple hearings over a six-day period, revealed new maps Monday, revealed a second set of revised maps Tuesday and approved them hours later. Literally, Illinois House majority lawmakers announced new maps at 10:18 a.m. Tuesday and hosted a hearing about them 27 minutes later, at which people were somehow expected to provide meaningful commentary.
Even more alarming, despite repeated pledges by Illinois majority legislative leaders that they would honor Illinois’ rich diversity, the new maps reduced, from those previously adopted, the numbers of majority Black voting age population districts and majority Latino voting age population districts.
As Aviva Miriam Patt from the Decalogue Society of Lawyers noted in her testimony, the revised maps split up Jewish communities in Chicago and its north suburbs and cracked south suburban majority Black communities, attaching them to majority white districts. Lawmakers would not provide any rationale for changes they made to the maps that are supposed to form the foundation of Illinois’ democracy for the next 10 years.
“Drawing district maps in locked back rooms yet again, Illinois lawmakers underscored their utter disregard for the will of the people and for the bedrock democratic principles of open government by and for the people,” CHANGE Illinois Executive Director Madeleine Doubek said. “Gov. Pritzker said he wanted maps that reflect the state’s rich diversity. These maps fall far short of that request and should be rejected by him. Failing that, we hope the courts will force the correction of lawmakers’ callous political mapping calculations.”
On short notice, constituent after constituent, community group after community group, asked lawmakers to draw maps that would reflect their needs. Representing tens of thousands of Illinoisans, these included the Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition, the United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations, Latino Policy Forum, the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, Common Cause Illinois, Agudath Israel of Illinois, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Nonprofit Utopia, and many more.
“Twice in a matter of months, Illinoisans have seen their overwhelming pleas for independent and transparent mapmaking utterly ignored by those elected to represent them,” Doubek said. “Their maps make a farce of democracy and their mapmaking process was a charade. Illinois lawmakers have effectively demonstrated the clear and compelling need to end gerrymandering once and for all.”