Republicans Release a Fair Map
(Springfield) — After years of pushing for a Fair Map for the residents of Illinois, House and Senate Republicans released a legislative map today that includes new districts that are equal in population, comply with the United States Constitution, the Federal Voting Rights Act, the Illinois Voting Rights Act and the Illinois Constitution in terms of compactness and contiguity, and maintain county and municipal boundaries without first considering politicians’ addresses or election data.
“This should be a very simple, transparent process,” said Illinois House Republican Leader Cross. “We should take the census data every ten years and draw a Fair Map that is indeed fair to the minority groups in Illinois as well as compact, contiguous, and equal in population taking into account, whenever possible municipal and county lines. We kept the politics out of it. We only used election data at the end of the process to test the effectiveness of the majority-minority districts.”
“Our goal throughout this process has been a Fair Map that complies with the Illinois Constitution and the applicable laws, including the federal Voting Rights Act,” Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno said. “Community organizations and citizens throughout the state have joined us in demanding a legislative district map that complies with the principles of Fair Map – which would lead to fair representation, competitive elections and greater accountability. We are providing that Fair Map.”
Rep. Mike Fortner gave input on the drawing of the Fair Map after attending numerous hearings and listening to hours of testimony from residents around the state. It does not take into account political data such as constituent voting records or the addresses of current politicians, except when complying with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
“We took into consideration as much as we could the public’s requests and observations while complying with all of the rules,” said Rep. Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago). “We worked closely with minority groups such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) to give Latinos in our state a better opportunity to elect candidates of their choice than what was proposed by the democrats. The Latino population grew the most in the last ten years and that should be reflected in the map.”
The Fair Map does creates nine Latino districts with voting age populations (VAP) of 60 percent or more. That's in sharp contrast to the Democrat map that created only four districts with VAPs of 60 percent or more.
Compared to the Democrat map, the Fair Map plan also creates an additional majority Latino district and enhances and equalizes Latino voters in other districts. At the same time, it does not retrogress African-American districts. In fact, it creates two more majority African-American districts than the proposed Democrat map.
“It became clear in analyzing the Democrat map that partisan political advantage was given a higher priority than the rights of Latinos and African-Americans,” said Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon).
“In the Fair Map, as you can see, neither party was spared from the pairings. This is an indication that we did not take into account incumbency when drawing the lines,” said Fortner.
In the Fair Map, 17 incumbent Republicans were paired in the House and 17 Democrats were paired.
The Democrat proposal pairs 19 House Republicans and only 6 House Democrats despite the fact the majority of the population loss occurred in Democrat areas.
In addition, at many of the hearings—community members asked the legislators to respect county and municipal boundaries whenever possible when drawing districts.
The Fair Map maintains the integrity of more counties. The House Democrat plan splits 36% more counties than does the Fair Map.