Civic groups tell Illinois Democrats to not rush legislative maps

Civic groups tell Illinois Democrats to not rush legislative maps

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Next year’s primary in Illinois has been moved to June. Filing doesn’t start until January. Regardless, the Democratic supermajority at the state house is preparing to revise maps that community groups say need more time to review.

Maps determining legislative boundaries for the next ten years have been enacted, but they’re being challenged in federal court. With the final Census data out, the Democratic majority has called a special session.

Before the maps were approved, groups were demanding two weeks to review the drafts and provide input. They didn’t get that. It now appears likely that they’re not going to get that now, as the state is moving to pass revised maps for the Aug. 31 special session.

The first hearing on Thursday featured civic groups demanding more time to review maps.

Ami Gandhi with the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights said lawmakers are doing an injustice.

“We’re uncomfortable with this redistricting process, with this huge rush, with this lack of transparency,” Gandhi said. “People are not being assured that their rights are being respected.”

Jay Young with Common Cause said the process resembles the rushed maps in May.

“Today, we return because the districts were in fact malappropriation, because the rescheduled primary affords us the luxury of some time and because we are once again witnessing a process that’s unlikely to see much in the sense of true community engagement,” Young said.

House Deputy Minority Leader Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, asked the Redistricting co-Chair Assistant Majority Leader Elizabeth Hernandez, D-Cicero, who is going to draw the legislative maps, but didn’t get an answer.

“This lack of transparency is astounding,” Demmer said. “The refusal to identify data sources, the refusal to identify who’s making decisions about what data and how that data is incorporated into these legislative maps is astounding.”

Republicans are challenging the maps enacted in June. The federal court is awaiting action on Aug. 31 special session. Meanwhile, Republicans are demanding the constitutional provision having a bipartisan commission draw the maps.

More hearings are expected Saturday, Sunday and possibly Monday leading to a possible vote Aug. 31.

More information can be found at the Democrats’ websites ILSenateRedistricting.com or ILHouseDems.com/redistricting.

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