Republicans, Democrats continue battle over redistricting process with more hearings on the way

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As lawmakers return to Springfield this week, all eyes are on the new maps for the next decade. Democrats dropped their proposed districts for the House and Senate late Friday night. Republicans are still reeling about the lack of transparency.

GOP members compare the first draft of maps to Kindergarten artwork. The House and Senate Redistricting Committees have four hearings scheduled this week. Leaders scheduled the meetings for Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving little time for the public to look at the maps and make suggestions for changes.

Republicans worry Democrats will “ramrod” the maps through both chambers of the General Assembly before the scheduled end of session next Monday. Democrats crafted the new lines without data from the 2020 census. That information won’t be available for statues until mid-August.

“If we aren’t counting all of Illinois’ residents, the map is inherently flawed and we are not adequately representing them in the legislature. This error in their process will have lasting effects on Illinois residents if it’s allowed to pass,” said Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville).

Republicans also said the undercount is a “slap in the face” to Illinoisans who want fair representation. At the same time, Democrats call the process transparent since lawmakers held over 40 hearings over the last few months.

Leader Lisa Hernandez (D-Cicero) told the Capitol Bureau that Republicans and Democrats heard the same information during those hearings.

You win some, you lose some

Redistricting is always a very political process, no matter the state you live in. The majority party can expand its power, and the minority party is just out of luck. That’s why Republicans wanted Illinois to move to an independent process. That clearly won’t happen this year as Democrats used data from the American Community Survey from 2019 instead of waiting for the 2020 Census data.

“We may have ACS data, but all of these points and pieces that communities also submitted have a lot to do with the map we put together,” said Hernandez.

Still, GOP members can’t believe Democrats would want to call the process transparent.

“It’s a ruse,” said Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield). “They’re using the same playbook they used 10 years ago to draw partisan maps. The die was cast the day this redistricting committee was formed. It’s why they forged ahead with ACS data from the beginning.”

Hernandez said GOP members will say what they want to try and shift things their way. Still, she’s not surprised Republicans continue to blame former Speaker Mike Madigan, even though the Chicago Democrat is no longer in office.

“I guess they have to blame somebody,” Hernandez said. “It’s the most, I guess, easy way to point the finger I guess. I just see that it’s absurd to come up with that.”

The Capitol Bureau also asked Hernandez if Madigan or close associates played a role in drafting the map.

“No, they did not,” Hernandez said. “Absolutely not.”

You can watch the redistricting hearings at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. by clicking here.

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