SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois Republicans want Gov. J.B. Pritzker to veto the legislative maps Democrats passed this week.
Maps drafted in May were passed by majority Democrats at the statehouse. Despite calls from civic groups asking that lawmakers wait until the final Census data was released, Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted the maps. Republicans criticized the governor for going against his campaign promise to veto partisan legislative maps.
Democrats said they drafted and passed maps based on estimates to meet a constitutional deadline of June 30 for the legislature to act. Final data from the Census wasn’t released until mid-August, months tardy because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A special session to revise the maps was held Tuesday in Springfield. A status hearing was held Wednesday in the federal lawsuit Republicans filed this summer challenging the legislative maps.
House Deputy Minority Leader Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, noted on the House floor Tuesday Illinois’ population decline. Those remaining, he said, were left out of the process to draw new political lines for the next ten years by the Democratic majority in the House.
“Seventy-three people went behind that closed map room door and 12,812,435 other Illinoisans were literally shut out,” Demmer said.
But there’s one person Republicans say can block the maps: Gov. J.B. Pritzker. They’re again urging the governor to abide by a campaign promise to veto maps drawn by politicians.
“I hope that Gov. Pritzker rights your wrong with a veto of this politician-drawn map, but unfortunately given the recent history I’m not confident of that, because this Democrat majority continues to prove over and over again that you care more about your personal power than the people you represent,” Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie said on the Senate floor.
Pritzker’s office didn’t return messages seeking comment.
Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, said all Republicans have done is sue Democrats.
“We’ve never seen any of your plans, we’ve never seen any of your maps produced by the minority party,” Harmon said. “Where are those maps?”
Republicans say they didn’t draft maps in May because final Census data wasn’t available. They also contend it’s beyond the June 30 deadline for lawmakers to act and a bipartisan commission must take over the process.
Change Illinois Executive Director Madeleine Doubek said in a statement the organization hopes the courts will “force the correction of lawmakers’ callous political mapping calculations.”
“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.”
Democrats contend the maps are fair, in bounds and represent the diversity of the state.