By Benjamin Yount, of the Illinois Statehouse News
SPRINGFIELD — The battle lines are forming in the coming legal challenges to Illinois’ new political maps.
A number of groups, including coalitions and the Illinois Republican Party, are expected to challenge the 2011 redistricting map drawn by Democrats and approved earlier this week. No lawsuits have been filed, and Gov. Pat Quinn is mum on whether he will approve the congressional and legislative maps.
Voters need to be wary of challenges to the maps by political parties, said Jan Czarnick, executive director of Illinois’ League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization.
A lawsuit is “what you’d expect from political parties. Their job is to benefit that political party. And both Republicans and Democrats do that,” said Czarnick.
The GOP is reviewing the redistricting map with an eye to a challenge, said Illinois Republican Party Deputy Executive Director John Blessing.
“I can take a look at this map and know that it’s wrong, but it will take a while to see how to move forward. That could take weeks or more,” said Blessing.
However, Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said the House Democrats followed state and federal requirements, such as Voting Rights Act, when crafting the redistricting maps.
“That was our goal, and we achieved that goal,” Brown said. “I don’t think they have a basis for a successful lawsuit.”
Czarnick said the League of Women Voters may challenge the maps to give a voice to voters in the newly drawn districts of the maps that are failing in the court of public opinion.
“This should be about people, the citizens of the state or this country, choosing the people who represent them,” Czarnick said.