Slay the Dragon Logo

SLAY THE DRAGON follows everyday people, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally. This election year, we’re joining together with grassroots partners to put an end to gerrymandering. Because this issue impacts each state differently, we’ve created a map to help you navigate how gerrymandering affects your state and community. SLAY THE DRAGON arrives on demand April 3.

 

GET CAUGHT UP

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

us map

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

Slay the Dragon Logo

SLAY THE DRAGON follows everyday people, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally. This election year, we’re joining together with grassroots partners to put an end to gerrymandering. Because this issue impacts each state differently, we’ve created a map to help you navigate how gerrymandering affects your state and community. SLAY THE DRAGON arrives on demand April 3.

 

GET CAUGHT UP

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

us map

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

Illinois

Process

State Legislature

Illinois's state legislative and congressional districts are drawn by the state Legislature by ordinary statute, and are subject to the Governor's veto. The Legislature can override vetoes with a three-fifths vote in each chamber.

Back-Up Legislative Commission

  • Per the state constitution (Art. IV, § 3), if the state fails to adopt state legislative lines by June 30, 2021, a backup commission will be formed by July 10 to draw those lines. These dates will assuredly be affected by the proposed Census delay. There is no backup commission in the event of a failure to adopt congressional district lines.
  • The Commission is made up of eight members, with a maximum of four per political party. The four legislative leaders each appoint one member of the General Assembly and one non-member to serve on the Commission.
  • A plan must be approved by August 10 by a vote of at least five commissioners. If this deadline is not met, the state Supreme Court submits the names of two people of different political parties. The Secretary of State randomly chooses one of these names to serve as the ninth commissioner. The nine-member commission will have until October 5 to approve a plan.

Criteria

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Illinois’s state constitution (Art. IV, § 3) requires that state legislative districts be compact and contiguous. When drawing state legislative lines, each "Legislative District" elects state senators, and these get divided into two "Representative Districts," which elect state representatives. There are no state law requirements for drawing congressional districts.

In addition, the Illinois Voting Rights Act of 2011 further mandates the creation of state legislative districts that allow racial or language minority groups to elect their candidates of choice when possible, beyond the requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Public Input

Enacted in March 2011, a redistricting transparency law requires four public hearings to be held in geographically distinct areas of the state. This law only applies to the state legislative, not congressional, redistricting process. In the 2011 cycle, the Senate committee held nine public hearings while the House held fifteen. No hearings were held on the congressional map before it was adopted. Without a change in the law, the public can count on at least four hearings on the state legislative maps.

Issues

Pitfalls

Overall, Illinois does not set off statistical alarms for partisan gerrymandering. Illinois has multiple opportunity-to-elect districts, drawn under the guidance of state law, the Voting Rights Act, and the Constitution. Even so, both chambers of the Legislature and the Governorship are controlled by Democrats. If the party has this same unified control when it is time to draw new maps, there will be an increased risk of partisan gerrymandering. Legal battles over redistricting every decade have been the norm in Illinois since the 1980s, and numerous calls for reform in recent years have failed.

Congressional Seats

Based upon a recent estimate of congressional seat changes following the 2020 census, Illinois is estimated to lose one congressional seat. In states like Illinois with unified party control, the loss of a congressional seat may lead to the pairing of congressional incumbents from the opposing party.

Census Delays

  • State legislative redistricting plans deadlines:
    • General Assembly plans deadline: June 30, 2021 (Art. IV, § 3)
    • Eight-member commission plans deadline: August 10, 2021 (Art. IV, § 3)
    • Nine-member commission plans deadline: October 5, 2021 (Art. IV, § 3)
  • Congressional redistricting plans deadline: no statutory deadline

The Census Bureau may delay sending population data to states until as late as July 31, 2021. In the case of delay, Illinois would likely have to skip over the General Assembly and place state legislative redistricting directly in the hands of the commission. Formal change would be necessary to alter the process; primary deadlines may also be affected. Though there is no statutory deadline for congressional redistricting, Illinois may still need to hold a special session to complete redistricting.

Reform

In 2020, bipartisan sponsors proposed the Fair Maps Amendment to the Legislature, which would create a 17-member independent citizen redistricting commission. The idea behind the amendment received 67% support. PGP organized a coalition letter of state-level reform organizations in support of the amendment. Although the campaign had gained momentum, the pandemic led to stagnation, causing the deadline for putting a constitutional amendment on the November 2020 ballot to pass without a hearing.

  • In 2014, citizens attempted to place a Redistricting Initiative on the ballot to create an independent commission. However, the initiative was struck down in the Cook County Circuit Court for containing provisions that were “neither structural nor procedural.” In essence, this ruling deemed redistricting a proper subject for a citizen initiative but largely closed that path for reform.

More modest legislative reforms are still possible in the upcoming redistricting cycle. There have been calls to create an advisory commission to draw maps subject to the Legislature’s approval and enshrining more fairness criteria and transparency requirements. Additionally, Governor J.B. Pritzker has repeatedly pledged to veto any unfair map.

History

In the 2011 redistricting cycle, there were several legal challenges brought against the legislative maps on the basis of unconstitutional partisan and racial gerrymandering. All cases were dismissed, and the maps were upheld.

Actions

In 2020, advocate for legislation creating fairness criteria and increasing public input and transparency, while also supporting state legislative candidates who favor fair districting. 

In 2021, participate in the Legislature’s public input process.

  • Obtain Illinois redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.
  • Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the Legislature starts collecting feedback.
  • Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.   Read the Common Cause Activist Handbook on Redistricting Reform to learn about what reforms have been successful in the past, and what steps to take to enact reform in the future. While the deadline to change the constitutional process for this redistricting cycle has passed, it is never too early to plan and organize for reforms.

Contacts

Princeton Gerrymandering Project Data provided by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project

State Info

Congressional Boundaries: Drawn by legislature
State Boundaries: Drawn by legislature
Legislative Control: Democratic
Governor's Political Party: Democratic
Last Updated: Oct 21 2020