Remap fight coming, but questions need to be answered

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.

Winnebago County Proposes Switching to Single Member Districts

The Winnebago County redistricting committee has a plan to reduce the number of county board seats and end the present 14 multiple-members districts currently in place. Get The details from Rockford’s local news, WREX:

What did Santa bring? It’s Redistrictmas!

The new Illinois maps, like Christmas gifts, are beginning to be unwrapped over at Daily Kos:

Illinois Redistricting: Election results by new congressional districts

It’s like 6am on Redistrictmas Morning. Mom and Dad are still asleep, but we know that glorious presents are waiting for us under the tree, ready to be unwrapped any… minute… now. Though the Illinois state House finally passed their new congressional map last night, we’re still waiting on the Senate to follow suit. (Update: The map has now been passed by the state Senate and it’s being sent to Gov. Quinn for his signature.) We know they’re going to do it sometime today, but we just can’t wait any longer, so we’re tearing into the new map right now… (read full)

They have a nifty google doc spreadsheet with a handful of 2010 races under the new congressional maps. While 2010 isn’t a good indicator of what will occur in 2012, it does provide a foggy notion of what the new maps are like (See 2010 Election results by new congressional districts).

Twelve to thirteen Democratic seats are expect under the new map awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Proposed Congressional Map Adjusted in Illinois House

SJ-R reports on some downstate amendments to the new congressional map made as it passed through the Illinois House chamber last night:

Illinois House OKs new congressional district boundaries
May 31, 2011 @ 06:43 AM

The Illinois House approved new boundaries for the state’s U.S. House districts on a party-line vote Monday night, but first it made alterations that would mean U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, is out as a member of the Springfield-area delegation.
In an amendment filed Monday afternoon and voted on roughly two hours later, Shimkus’ home was moved from the proposed 13th Congressional District — which includes most of Springfield, all of Decatur and most of Champaign-Urbana — into the 15th Congressional District, which takes in southern Illinois.

The home of U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, is now in the 13th Congressional District.

The move is a break for Shimkus because it gives him back most of the territory that is in his current district. Johnson will now face an electorate that is more Democratic-leaning. . . (read full)

The latest version can be seen in the google map below:

View Larger Map

Redistricting proposals pass both chambers today

Following some adjustments, the new state political maps flew through both chambers of the General Assembly today. It now awaits the governors signature. Get extra details on the Tribune here.

Draft Congressional Map – SB1178

Late last night they unveiled the new Illinois Congressional map, SB1178:

View Larger Map

Here are some simple pdf maps:

Kane County Board Completes Redistricting

From the St. Charles Patch:

New Map Approved for Kane County Board Districts

Board reduces the number of members from 26 to 24 and is first to complete the sometimes-confrontational redistricting process.

The Kane County Board overwhelmingly approved new boundaries for board districts Monday, making Kane the first metropolitan-area county to complete the decennial remapping process.

The new map is the result of collaboration with outside interest groups and bipartisan cooperation among board members. Kane County’s effort is unique in that it included a reduction in the number of board districts from 26 to 24…(read full)

Meanwhile, here’s a link to the confirmed map:
Download 2010 Kane County Board District Map

Rich Miller: “Redistricting means Revenge”

lol, I love this headline… From the Sun-times:

Redistricting means revenge
By Rich Miller Columnist May 23, 2011 02:03AM

Statehouse paranoia and angst always are at an all-time high every 10 years in Springfield.

Why? The new state legislative district maps are drawn, and that highly political process always involves generous amounts of partisan mischief-making and revenge.

This year is no different. The Democrats control both legislative chambers and the governor’s office, so they can pretty much draw any map they want as long as they follow federal and state voting rights laws which protect minorities and other “communities of interest.”

The Republicans, locked out of power and influence, just knew they were in for a beating, and they got one. In many respects it probably wasn’t as bad as it was 10 years ago, when the Democrats drew a map so solidly partisan that the House and Senate Democratic majorities easily survived one of the biggest Republican landslides in history. . . (read full)

House Bill Passes to Allow Monster Community College District to Redistrict Itself

Community Colleges are getting in on the redistricting fun too. The State Journal-Register reports:

Bill would let LLCC board draw election map itself

The Lincoln Land Community College board of trustees would get the power to redistrict itself under legislation that passed the Illinois House Thursday.

The General Assembly previously drew maps for community colleges where trustees are elected from districts. However, only LLCC and Southwestern Illinois College, based in Belleville have that electoral set-up.

“There are 39 community colleges in this state,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rich Brauer, R-Petersburg. “All but two of them have trustees at large.”

The proposal passed 115-0 with one representative – Rep. Wayne Rosenthal, R-Morrisonville, who also serves on the LLCC board – voting “present.”…

The land mass of this community college blows me away…

“Lincoln Land is the largest physical district – larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware put together,” LLCC trustee Kent Gray said. “It made sense to have geographical representation.… (read full)

Whoa… How many campuses does this community college have? How do you service a land mass like that?… Online classes? lol

Imagine how much they collect in property taxes!

2010 Election Overlay for Draft House Districts in Cook, Kane and Dupage

I thought I’d throw together this rough map with existing data here at

Draft House Districts with 2010 General Election Overlay

Draft House Districts with 2010 General Election Overlay

Download Tabloid Size PDF File (2.26 MB)

Go here to get details on the partisan color statistics.