SPRINGFIELD, IL — Statehouse Democrats are ready to take public input on redrawing the state’s congressional districts, but Republicans don’t expect such input to be considered.
Lawmakers could take up congressional maps when they return to the capital for the fall veto session in a few weeks. In a news release, Democrats said they’ll soon announce public hearing dates for October and they’re taking public input at the websites ILSenateRedistricting.com and ILHouseDems.com/redistricting.
State Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, encouraged residents to participate directly.
“Now is the time for residents across Illinois to make their voices heard to ensure our state has strong representation in Washington,” Aquino said. “We encourage residents to take advantage of these opportunities to directly participate in the map-making process, as the best map is one that reflects the diverse voices across our state.”
State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said Democrats may say they want input, but he said they’ve already shown their cards with how they handled public input during the legislative redistricting.
“I think the playbook is already there, the Democrats plan to wash it off and use it again,” Barickman said. “The public ought to hold on for another kangaroo-style court of public transparency that is designed to check a box to say they want your input when everyone knows that they just don’t.”
Several civil groups criticized Democrats for not taking their input during the legislative redistricting process, maps that are embroiled in a federal lawsuit.
Illinois is set to lose a congressional seat because of continued population loss and Barickman fully expects Democrats to control the process to reduce Republican representation.
“When you politicize the mapmaking process in the way that Democrats have, ultimately what you’re doing is you’re removing the choices that voters have and as a result, you’re having less accountable representation in a government that is supposed to hold people accountable,” Barickman said.
Democrats criticized Republicans for not submitting their own legislative maps. Barickman didn’t expect Republicans to submit congressional maps, saying that would go against their principle of not having politicians draw legislative maps. The GOP has been pushing for a nonpartisan commission to take over the process, something that some Democrats supported but have not acted on.
Democrats said they’ll soon announce public hearings for October, heading into the fall veto session which begins Oct. 19.