A recent news report from WCIA TV showed video outside the Illinois House Democrats’ locked-door redistricting office in the Stratton Office Building in the Capitol Complex. The reporter attempted to interview Democrats on their way in and out of the map room, questioning their claims of an “open process” when the work was being done behind locked doors out of the view of the public.
Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have still refused to clarify exactly what data they are using to draw maps behind closed doors. While the decennial census data is designed for the very purpose of drawing district lines, that data will not be released until at least late summer. Democratic leaders have said that they will at least partly use information from the American Community Survey, a significantly less accurate source of data.
Fifty-nine advocacy organizations, good-government groups, and political experts and activists recently penned a letter to “unequivocally affirm the basic principle that it is not appropriate to implement electoral district lines based primarily on American Community Survey (ACS) data.” The groups taking part in the letter include organizations ranging from the NAACP and Southern Poverty Law Center to the League of Women Voters and National Urban League.
Republican lawmakers from both chambers used the opportunity to remind Gov. JB Pritzker of his campaign promise to veto any legislative map drawn by lawmakers, and called on him to provide leadership in an independent map-making process.
Senator Plummer says there is still time for the Governor to provide leadership on the issue by making it clear that he will veto a map drawn by lawmakers, a promise he explicitly made to voters when he was campaigning for Governor. Pritzker is the one person in the best position to stop the current partisan map-making process from moving forward.