Illinois Republicans fight back against Dems' 'unfair' voting map

At a hearing Tuesday on new political district boundaries, Republicans posed hundreds of hard questions about how exactly Illinois’ super-majority Democrats drew them. The Democratic co-chairs usually declined to answer.

When Rep. Lisa Hernandez (D) Cicero, said for the umpteenth time, "I’ll have to get back to you," a Republican lawmaker exploded.

"That's the same answer that we've heard for weeks. Again and again! And guess what, we never get the answer."


After meeting for months behind sealed doors, Democrats now hope to lock in their Springfield super-majorities for another ten years. They are declining to answer questions because they fear anything they say publicly will be used against them when Republicans inevitably challenge the new district boundaries in court.

In previous years, some judges overturned new district maps based on issues related to minority representation. On that count, the Democrats' remap expert called Illinois a model for the nation, not least because Illinois is one of the few places in the country where large groups of white voters regularly support minority candidates.

"A little under a third of the members of the state House and the state Senate are African-American, Asian-American or Hispanic," said Prof. Allan Lichtman of American University. "That’s right in line with the citizen minority voting age population in the state."

With Democrats in the General Assembly poised to pass partisan district boundaries for themselves, members of Congress and justices of the state Supreme Court, Republicans’ last hope is that Gov. JB Pritzker honors his campaign promise to sign only a "fair map."

"If this thing passes, Gov. Pritzker has to veto this unfair map," declared Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R) Beecher City.

Democrats are now rushing to approve a redistricting plan because of a deadline imposed by the Illinois Constitution. Unless the job is done by the end of next month, random chance will decide which party gets to finish the process. That means Republicans would have a 50-50 chance.