Senators Debate Redistricting For Southern Illinois
Legislators debated the procedure for re-drawing Illinois’ legislative and congressional districts at a hearing Thursday night.
The main issue under discussion was the June 30th deadline set forth in the state constitution. Republicans, including Senator Terri Bryant, said the state should wait for full Census data to be available in fall, and that the constitution allows for such a delay, with a final deadline in October.
“Clearly we’re going to have to have a special session to approve the congressional maps. So I’m just wondering why, when that is the case, we have to rush into approving maps when clearly our Constitutional deadline is not June 30, it’s in October,” Bryant said. “Unless we want to use the June 30th deadline so that these will be totally partisan maps.”
Democrats argued that the constitutional deadline can’t be changed, and that census data is flawed, especially for minority communities. Republicans pushed back, noting that Illinois had record high response rates in this past year’s count.
Other issues raised included the need for transparency in the redistricting process, and the desire to avoid splitting counties or municipalities into separate districts.