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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.

Over the next three months, we will be working with Voters Not Politicians in Michigan and other partners 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
Illinois

Process

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

  • 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. 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 law 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.

Public Input

In March 2011, a redistricting transparency law became effective and required four public hearings to be held in geographically distinct areas of the state. This law only applies to state legislative, not congressional, districts. In that cycle, the Senate committee held five 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

Illinois has multiple opportunity-to-elect districts, drawn under the guidance of state law, the Voting Rights Act, and the Constitution. Overall, Illinois does not set off statistical alarms for partisan gerrymandering. 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.

Illinois has a voter initiative process. Reform through such a process would reduce the risk of self-dealing by legislators. However, a constitutional amendment has been introduced in the General Assembly to create a 17-member independent citizen redistricting commission. In order to succeed, the amendment must pass the General Assembly by a three-fifths vote in each chamber. Then, it would need a simple majority of the voters in November.

  • Seven members of the commission would be from each major party with the remaining three commissioners being unaffiliated with either. These commissioners would have to reflect the diversity of the state, and no more than one commissioner may come from a particular congressional district.

  • The commission would have to hold at least 20 public hearings, split evenly before and after the drafting of a proposed plan. Further, these meetings would have to allow for meaningful opportunities for participation, including translation services, live-streaming, and public map submissions. Such live-streaming must include capability for virtual participation and feedback. Once a plan is released, the commission would also have to release related data.

  • Lastly, this amendment would get rid of the requirement of splitting state Senate districts into two state House districts. It also would require counting incarcerated persons at their last-known residences, ending prison gerrymandering in the state. Its criteria also include protections of minority groups, respect for communities of interest, and a prohibition on partisanship.

Based upon a recent estimate of congressional seat changes following the 2020 census, Illinois is estimated to lose one congressional seat.

Actions

Support a ballot initiative or constitutional amendment to establish an independent redistricting process.

  • The Fair Maps Amendment has been proposed in the Illinois Legislature and has bipartisan support.

  • The proposed amendment would need to get a three-fifths vote in both houses before going before going to the voters in November.

In 2021, use public input to identify communities of interest and to persuade the Legislature to draw fair districts.

  • Obtain Illinois redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.

  • 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.

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: Feb 19 2020