-fresh from the Illinois Issues blog:
Legislative maps face another legal challenge
By Jamey Dunn
Illinois’ new Congressional and state legislative district maps face yet another lawsuit.
The League of Women Voters of Illinois sued to have both maps tossed out, claiming they violate the First Amendment rights of voters by trying to control their political voices. “By considering the partisan composition of the districts and the political competitiveness of election campaigns in such districts, the General Assembly is unlawfully attempting to control or influence the kinds of views, opinions and speech that residents placed in those districts are likely to express or hear and receive,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit says that trying to make districts politically competitive — something that would require voting history and information on party affiliations — is a valid goal. But it says that Democratic mapmakers were more concerned with maximizing political benefits than ensuring that races would be competitive. “ By use of methods to control or influence the kind of views that residents are likely to hear and receive, without safeguards ensuring such action is narrowly tailored to serve legitimate state interests, there is a significant risk that the General Assembly and Congressional delegation will become less accountable and responsive to changes in public opinion and less under popular control,” the complaint said.
“The problem is the usual gerrymandering. It doesn’t matter who is in office. They just do it,” said Jan Dorner, president of the League of Women Voters of Illinois. “It isn’t specifically about these maps. … our hope is to change it from now on.” … (read full)