Two weeks ago, late on a Friday night, the majority party in Springfield sprung a brand new state legislative map upon legislators. The map was cooked up behind closed locked doors with only a handful of mapmakers. After version one ruminated for a few days, a new version of the map is now going forward that’s been “tweaked here and there” for reasons not heard in public.
The redistricting process happens every ten years and it follows the national census required by our constitution. The census is important because it equates to each state’s representation level in Congress. There are only 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and these seats are apportioned according to the population of each state. The congressional districts contain about one million people.
This time the maps have been delayed and (of course) COVID-19 is blamed as well as the Trump administration’s effort to not count non-citizens. This is an important debate because states like California who have an estimated six million “non-citizens” essentially get six more Congressional seats. Here in Illinois, we lost a seat proportionally because of its shrinking population and failing policies.
The mapmakers here in Illinois have delayed the maps of the Congressional districts until at least August or September as well as moving the Primary Election from March 15, 2022, to June 28, 2022. The reason for the delay is that the census information is not fully available right now. But for some reason, they find it OK to finalize the state legislative maps without the full census information? The Congressional districts are Federal issues and guided by the United States Constitution.
If the state legislators cobbled together a Congressional map that was not based on the full available information from the census, they would risk a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit that would be decided in Federal court. However, the state legislative maps would be decided in state courts and ultimately a map challenge could make it to the Illinois Supreme Court.
By the way, the majority party in power just redrew the maps for the Supreme Court Districts too. Once again, it looks like there is more than the letter ‘s’ that is silent in the state of Illinois.