(The Center Square) – Without complete Census data, partisan-drawn legislative maps are now law for the next ten years in Illinois.
It’s possible there could be adjustments. It’s also possible there could be lawsuits.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 2777 Friday. What initially started as a bill for cemetery oversight was changed to legislative maps in the final days of session. Those maps passed just before the Memorial Day holiday.
“Illinois’ strength is in our diversity, and these maps help to ensure that communities that have been left out and left behind have fair representation in our government,” Pritzker said in a statement Friday. “These district boundaries align with both the federal and state Voting Rights Acts, which help to ensure our diverse communities have electoral power and fair representation.”
There was immediate reaction from legislative leaders. Some in the minority party had urged the governor to veto the maps, saying he promised on the campaign trail to veto maps drawn by politicians.
“Not only does this map adhere to state and federal laws, but it is a product of more than 50 public hearings where citizens came to tell us what their communities look like to them,” said Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside.
Welch also noted the new Illinois Supreme Court boundaries Democrats drew were also approved. The sponsor of those maps said he was unaware of any public input for the maps.
Republicans say the governor broke his promise to veto partisan-drawn maps.
“The people of Illinois deserve a fair, transparent process that allows them to choose their representatives in Government,” said state Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, a member of the Senate redistricting committee. “Pritzker turned his back on them and chose instead to use his signature to further enshrine the broken status quo of politicians picking their voters.”
During the past month as hearings were being held, a number of groups and associations representing ethnic and religious minorities had pleaded with lawmakers to not pass maps based on American Community Survey data, as the full Census data was delayed by the pandemic. That Census data is still not available. Democrats said the ACS data wasn’t as precise, but by just 0.3%.
Earlier in the week, Pritzker had said there could be adjustments made when all the data is out.
“I think there will be Census data that comes out and I think there may need to be some adjustments that get made as a result of that Census data,” Pritzker saidTuesday when asked why not wait for the complete and accurate Census data.
It’s unclear if there will be litigation challenging the maps.
One group that opposed the process, Change Illinois, said all options will be explored.
There’s an ultimate deadline in the Illinois constitution to have maps in place by Oct. 5.