Illinois lawmakers set to discuss new congressional map this week

The redistricting comes every decade following the census
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 11:10 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KWQC) - On Tuesday Illinois lawmakers will be in session with one of the major topics being congressional redistricting. The process is done following each census, Illinois will lose one seat, going from 18 seats to 17 seats, because of a decline in population.

Proposed Illinois congressional districts
Proposed Illinois congressional districts(none)

University of Illinois political science professor Brian Gaines sees the proposed democratic-constructed map as a way to maximize the number of seats ahead of a tight, nationwide race for the U.S. House.

“In a state where Democrats control everything they feel like they’re getting pressure from, it’s not Nancy Pelosi drawing the map but she’s going to look over her shoulder and think ‘we’re going to need all the Illinois seats we can get, draw me a map that gets me 14 Illinois Democrats if you can do it,’” Gaines said, “Getting the Democrats together is a function of trying to squeeze 14 or even 13 seats out of a 17-seat delegation in a state that’s pretty Democratic but not that Democratic, it’s not an 80% Democratic state.”

With a Democratic majority constructing the map as well as holding a majority in the statehouse, senate, and governor positions, lawmakers would not need republican approval on the final map.

“Nobody is trying to make the Republican caucus happy, this is still going to be a map that Democrats draw with some variety of Democratic purpose but it might not be all just about getting the most possible seats and again the pressure to get the most possible seats because the U.S. House is very closely divided and both parties think either party can take control,” Gaines said.

Gaines said the map Democrats designed is not different from what’s seen across the country

“There will be other states were republicans will draw other party charts and gerrymanders,” Gaines said, “The public doesn’t actually like gerrymanders, I’ve done surveys over the years and it’s pretty consistent if you show ordinary voters a set of maps and ask which ones they like and they like simple shapes.”

“The districts aren’t at all compact and it’s pretty clear that they weren’t drawn with any consideration towards compactness, they were drawn with totally different criteria,” Gaines.

If the state legislature is unable to come up with a congressional map, then a bipartisan backup commission would step in to complete the map. There is no deadline for the map to be complete, however, congressional candidates must register for congressional primary elections by March 14.

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