Friday Night Map: Republicans, Democrats lash out over first draft of proposed legislative districts

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Democratic state lawmakers have released the first draft of their proposed legislative map for the next ten years.

While many speculated Democrats would release the map early Friday or Monday, the majority party waited to put the new district lines online around 7:30 p.m. Friday. There’s currently no legislation filed for the proposal, but lawmakers expect that to come later this weekend or on Monday.

Republicans quickly attacked Democrats for releasing the map late on a Friday, saying it proves the “Mike Madigan playbook” continues in the House. That’s why GOP members want Gov. JB Pritzker to veto a map drawn by partisan lawmakers.

“We need to hold everyone accountable – everyone that has stood up – because it’s very popular to say you’re for fair and independent redistricting,” said Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria). “Well now it’s time to prove it because what we’ve seen so far is the opposite.”

Spain also pointed out former Speaker Mike Madigan released maps on the same exact date 10 years ago. Although, Rep. Lisa Hernandez (D-Cicero) says this “fair map” reflects input from grassroots individuals and community organizations.

“I’m thankful for every person who took the time to make their voices heard,” Hernandez said. “I look forward to continued engagement as Illinoisans provide feedback to this proposal in additional public hearings.”

Proposed House districts for the 2021 map. Credit: Illinois House Democrats

Allow for a review period

Good government groups consistently told lawmakers they should allow two weeks for the public to see the map and make suggestions. Democrats answered by planning four hearings over two days next week.

Joint hearings for the House and Senate Redistricting Committees are set for 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday. Meanwhile, House Committee will hold a meeting around 6 p.m. on Tuesday. The Senate Redistricting members plan to do the same on Wednesday night.

“Tonight’s drop of partisan maps is yet another attempt to mislead voters in an effort to block fair elections after so many promises made by Democrats to have an open and transparent process involving the public,” said Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield). “We continue our call upon Governor Pritzker to live up to his pledge to the people of Illinois and veto a map that was drawn by politicians like what we see here today.”

Democrats crafted the map using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and “robust public input.”

Many lawmakers and advocates raised concerns about the ACS data during the 46 hearings held over the past few months. That’s mainly due to the fact that the ACS is a five-year estimate of the population count from 2019. Still, Democrats say the ACS estimate only varies 0.3 percent from Illinois’ official population data released by the Census Bureau in April.

Proposed Senate Districts for the 2021 map. Credit: Illinois Senate Democrats

A “fair map”

“Redistricting is about making sure all voices are heard, and that’s exactly what this map accomplishes,” said Sen. Omar Aquino (D-Chicago). “This is a fair map that reflects the great diversity of our state and ensures every person receives equal representation in the General Assembly.”

Spain calls the entire process a sham and an embarrassment for the state of Illinois. Republicans wanted Democrats to wait to draw the map until states received official data from the 2020 census in mid-August. Spain says Democrats continue to lack transparency for the map.

“Advocates told us don’t use any data besides the 2020 Census data, which we don’t have yet. And they warned us about the use of estimated ACS data,” Spain explained. “They said we shouldn’t use it. It will undercount important communities throughout the state.”

Pritzker campaigned on a goal for an independent redistricting process. He also pledged to veto any map created by lawmakers, political party leaders, and their staff or allies.

The Capitol Bureau asked the governor Wednesday if he still plans to reject a “partisan” map. Pritzker said he’ll veto any “unfair” map. Yet, he also said Democrats and Republicans should work together through this process.

Pritzker also said Republicans participated in each of the redistricting committee hearings held across the state. He claims it was an “open process.”

Democrats plan to vote on the proposed map before session ends on May 31.

The post Friday Night Map: Republicans, Democrats lash out over first draft of proposed legislative districts appeared first on WEEK.

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