facebook linkedin twitter

Illinois GOP Claims Census Data Proves New Maps Illegal

August 19, 2021 by Dan McCue
Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin.

Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly say newly released census numbers reveal the legislative maps that Democrats pushed to complete in the spring are unconstitutional.

The Census Bureau released the data Thursday, Aug. 12, months later than usual, due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. 

The numbers show population counts down to the block level, which is what lawmakers need in order to draw districts that are as close to equal in population as possible.

A number of states delayed or slow-walked their redistricting efforts until they received the detailed data.

However, others, feeling they faced immovable constitutional deadlines, went ahead and either carried out or began the process, relying on less specific American Community Survey information from the Census Bureau.

Such was the case in Illinois, where Democrats, who control the General Assembly there, said that they had to get the maps done and enacted by June 30, or give Republicans a 50-50 chance of drawing the new boundary lines. 

“Just as we predicted, the maps that were drawn by Illinois Democrats in a closed room and without public input, and signed by Gov. JB Pritzker, have proven to be unusable and unlawful given the release of the U.S. Census data,” House Minority Leader Jim Durkin said in a statement Monday.

In this file photo from May 2011, redistricting maps are displayed at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. (Seth Perlman / Associated Press, File Photo)

“It is now up to the Legislative Redistricting Commission to draw the fair maps our state so desperately needs,” Durkin added.

In June, Durkin and Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago seeking to have the maps overturned and asking the court either to order the formation of the bipartisan redistricting commission or appoint a special master to draw new maps. 

In their lawsuit, Durkin and McConchie maintain the community survey numbers were “not intended to be, and are not, a proper substitute for the official census counts.” 

The Republicans maintain the proposed House districts have population counts ranging from 92,390 to 124,836 — a difference of 32,446. 

“Based on a test directed by the U.S. Supreme Court, that difference represents a total population range of 29.88%, which is three times the maximum range allowed by federal law. Because the Democrats’ plan unequivocally violates federal law, it is and will be declared void,” they said in a press release announcing the lawsuit.

A hearing in that case is currently set for Tuesday, Aug. 24. Trial in the case is set for Sept. 27-29.

“Despite bipartisan pleas to wait for the census numbers like 48 other states, Illinois Democratic politicians that were led by Gov. Pritzker ignored the voting rights of their own constituents in an attempt to hold absolute power for another decade,” said McConchie. “By breaking his promise and signing this map that has now been proven to be wildly inaccurate, Gov. Pritzker once again sided with political insiders against the people of Illinois.”

If the maps are found to be unconstitutional, though, it is not certain that the court would invoke the state constitution’s provision calling for the bipartisan commission.

Democrats could argue that they met the constitution’s June 30 deadline and, therefore, only need to go back and make adjustments to the maps to bring them into compliance.

Democratic Sens. Omar Aquino and Elgie Sims, the chair and vice chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee, issued a joint statement Monday saying they are still reviewing the census data.

“While we continue to analyze the information released by the U.S. Census Bureau, our commitment to the people of Illinois remains the same: We support a fair map that reflects the broad racial and geographic diversity of Illinois,” the senators said. “As we go through this review process, if it becomes clear that updates need to be made, we will take the appropriate steps to do so.”

In The States

Texas AG Paxton Now Suing 15 School Districts Over Masking Guidance

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has expanded litigation efforts against a swath of school districts that defied... Read More

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has expanded litigation efforts against a swath of school districts that defied Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates. Paxton announced on Tuesday his office had filed lawsuits against the Paris, Diboll, Honey Grove, La Vega, Longview, Lufkin,... Read More

Democrats Push for Changes to California Recall Efforts

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom handily defeated a recall election that could have removed him from office,... Read More

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom handily defeated a recall election that could have removed him from office, but his Democratic allies in the Legislature already are seeking changes that could make it harder to mount such a challenge in the future. Those changes... Read More

States Learning How Many Afghan Evacuees Coming Their Way

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration began notifying governors and state refugee coordinators across the country about how many Afghan... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration began notifying governors and state refugee coordinators across the country about how many Afghan evacuees from among the first group of nearly 37,000 arrivals are slated to be resettled in their states. California is projected to take more arrivals than... Read More

California Gov. Newsom Crushes Republican-led Recall Effort

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Despite warnings the race would be close, California Gov. Gavin Newsom decisively defeated efforts to kick... Read More

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Despite warnings the race would be close, California Gov. Gavin Newsom decisively defeated efforts to kick him out of office, a win the Democrat cast as an endorsement of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his party's liberal values.  Newsom cruised... Read More

September 14, 2021
by Victoria Turner
State and Local Governments Will Drive Broadband Deployment Success

States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed... Read More

States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed for nationwide high-speed broadband within President Biden’s infrastructure bill.  The broadband-related funding of the bill itself shows the federal government recognizes broadband as essential as a... Read More

September 14, 2021
by TWN Staff
State Pension Funds in Peak Health, Despite Pandemic

The nation’s state retirement systems finished the 2021 fiscal year in their best condition since the Great Recession of 2007-09,... Read More

The nation’s state retirement systems finished the 2021 fiscal year in their best condition since the Great Recession of 2007-09, according to projections compiled by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The public policy nonprofit found the gap between the cost of pension benefits that states have promised... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top