Below is an update from the Illinois League of Women Voters (LWVIL) on redistricting events for the state of Illinois. There's information upcoming deadlines and how you can help. (Source here.)
Redistricting. Once a decade, legislative maps all over the US are redrawn based on new federal census numbers. Once a decade, voting districts can, and do, shift on local, state and federal lines.
COVID-delayed Census counts will not be available until September, yet the Illinois Constitution requires that maps be drawn and approved by the state legislature by June 30—so Illinois lawmakers are moving forward. Both the House and Senate Redistricting Committees are currently in the midst of a month of more than 40 public redistricting hearings being held statewide.
Public hearings allow community members to provide input about their interests, needs, and demographics that might have shifted in the past decade.
LWVIL’s mission to protect voter representation puts it squarely in support of fair and equitable map drawing. For the past decade, LWVIL has advocated unsuccessfully for a legally-mandated independent mapping commission as a way to provide permanent protection from partisan gerrymandering, ensuring that the needs of a community precede the political goals of legislators.
In the absence of an independent commission, transparency and community input must be part of the redistricting process. LWVIL’s testimony during current hearings suggests that additional public hearings should be held after maps are drawn, so adjustments can be made based on public input prior to voting on the final maps.
However, unless things change, once hearings are completed on April 24, the Illinois General Assembly will begin drawing maps. If approved by the House and Senate, these can be sent directly to the Governor. Illinois voters will have to rely on Governor Pritzker’s repeated public statements that he will veto any partisan map.
Elected representatives are the voice of their communities, and the impact of new maps and new districts will be felt for another decade. Voters must speak up now while the maps are being drawn.
Contact your legislator--let them know you want a district that reflects your community of interest.
Set aside April 29 for an LWV Day of Action. More information coming soon.
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