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THIS WEEK: Challenging the Democrat's map

Illinois' new redistricting map is drawing criticism and lawsuits

MOLINE, Ill. — Let the lawsuits begin.

Now that Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed into law the state redistricting plan put together by Democrats in the legislature, groups are filing suit complaining about where the lines are drawn.

First, Republicans filed suit against their Democratic counterparts in the legislature.

And Hispanic groups are suing saying they are being under-represented by Illinois reapportionment.

"This is a blatant effort to kill democracy in Illinois and it will not go unanswered," said Illinois Senate Minority Leader Daniel McConkie.

Not so, says Democrats.

"I think that we did a reasonable job of meeting our obligation," said State Representative Mike Halpin on "News 8 THIS WEEK with Jim Mertens."

"I think it was important that we met the timeline, got the maps passed in a way that reflects the diversity of the state," he said.

You can hear our entire interview with State Rep. Mike Halpin (D-Moline, Illinois) on the THE CITIES PODCAST.

Republicans say the redrawing of Illinois legislative districts, called redistricting, was done with little public input and heavily favors the people who drew up the lines: Democrats.

"Their goal through this whole process was to retain control of Springfield, to keep the strangle hold on Illinois and on Illinoisians," said House Minority Leader Rep. Jim Durkin.

Part of the Republican criticism is that the Democrats only got public input before the maps were made, not after.

"The final maps were introduced less than 24 hours before they were called for a vote," said Rep. Durkin.

"Finally they passed it in the 11th hour citing an end of June deadline that we all know is fake," he added.

That deadline is set by the Constitution.  If no political agreement were to be made by the end of June 2021, an independent commission would take over.

But Rep. Halpin says there were statewide hearings.  Just not a lot of public interest.

"Honestly, there weren't a lot of people who participated locally," he said.

"But one thing that we heard was that we wanted to maintain the diversity of our representation here in the state of Illinois and make sure that carries through."

In the Quad Cities, one House district keeps much of Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline in one district.

Another district makes a slim stretch from Moline, through Galesburg, and includes Macomb, the home of Western Illinois University.

"I do think Macomb and Galesburg and the Quad Cities share some university populations, some manufacturing populations, other urban populations that are consistent and important," said Rep. Halpin.

Republicans also complain Democrats didn't use official Census numbers.

"Using inaccurate, flawed data clearly deviates from the practice of one person, one vote," said Sen. McConchie.

The release of those numbers isn't expected until August 2021, a delay blamed on the pandemic.

Instead, Democrats used statistics from the American Community Survey.

"The deviation is miniscule, if any," said Rep. Halpin.

You can watch "News 8 THIS WEEK with Jim Mertens" Sundays at 10 a.m. on WQAD News 8.

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