Illinois Democrats Sued By GOP Over New Legislative Map

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Republican lawmakers in Illinois filed a federal lawsuit accusing Democrats who control the state legislature of illegally using population estimates to craft a new legislative map instead of waiting for the delayed results of the 2020 U.S. census.

The Republicans claim state Democrats including Senate President Don Harmon and Emanuel Christopher Welch, who this year became the state’s first Black speaker of the House, used a redistricting process that will “undercount minority, rural and growing communities” and violate the constitutional principal of “one person, one vote.”

“The tone deaf Democratic party of Illinois has robbed citizens of a fair and transparent legislative map-making process, and I plan to be a conduit for Illinois citizens who demand honesty by ensuring they also have their day in court,” Jim Durkin, minority leader of the Illinois House, said in a statement.

The legislative redistricting plan was passed by the state lawmakers on May 28 and signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker on June 4. The Republicans note that state officials spent millions of dollars to encourage people to participate in the census in order to get an accurate count, and that the U.S. Census Bureau has previously said that estimates “are not appropriate for drawing legislative boundaries.”

Omar Aquino and Elgie Sims, chair and vice chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee, said in a statement that they’re disappointed “but not surprised” Republicans sued over maps that “reflect the great racial and geographic diversity of our state.”

“Throughout this process, they have done nothing but delay and obstruct efforts to ensure our communities are fairly represented, as seen by their refusal to even draft their own proposals,” the lawmakers said. “We stand by our work to ensure everyone has a voice in state government.”

Officials in Welch’s and Harmon’s offices didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Chicago. The Illinois State Board of Elections, which was also named in the suit, declined to comment.

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