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Press release: Concerned Citizens File Federal Lawsuit Challenging Illinois Democrats’ Congressional Redistricting Map

The Committee for a Fair and Balanced Map issued the following press release Wednesday:

The Committee for a Fair and Balanced Map today joined Republican members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation and other concerned citizens as plaintiffs in federal court seeking declarative and injunctive relief to prevent the state of Illinois from sanctioning elections under the Democrats’ congressional redistricting map recently passed by the Democratically-controlled legislature and signed by Governor Pat Quinn.

Specifically, the suit alleges that the Democrats’ map violates basic tenets of the United States Constitution, as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and significantly harms Hispanic voters across Illinois by reconfiguring congressional district lines in a manner that substantially dilutes their electoral influence. 

For example, despite explosive growth in the state’s Hispanic population, the Democrats’ map intentionally discriminates against Hispanic voters by providing for only one Hispanic-majority congressional district – the same number the state of Illinois has had since the 1992 election cycle – and further weakens their voting strength by apportioning the rest of the community’s population among a number of other districts drawn to specifically protect non-Hispanic white Democratic incumbents.

In addition, the Democrats’ map fails to recognize communities of interest; splinters counties, towns and populations which historically have been represented by common congressional districts; and blatantly disregards compactness in district design, a standard which is required by federal case law. 

For example, the City of Rockford – the third largest municipality in the state – has been wholly within one congressional district for decades, but now is divided into two districts by the Democrats’ map.  The Democrats also splinter suburban counties, such as DuPage, Kane and Lake, into six, four and three congressional districts, respectively, and push many suburban communities into districts with parts of the City of Chicago.

The suit further describes the Democrats’ map as a “partisan gerrymander designed to ensure a Democratic supermajority” and one that disrespects the will of Illinois voters by attempting to nullify the results of last November’s election.  Specifically, their map draws five incumbent Republican congressional representatives out of their own districts, in many cases denying their constituents decades of service, historical knowledge and increased seniority in the U.S. House.

In spite of these serious flaws, Governor Quinn unfortunately chose to rubber-stamp the Democrats’ partisan power-grab by approving this map – a map that was the product of an inherently unfair and undemocratic process.  The Democrats’ map was passed unilaterally in the shadows of the night by the Democratic-controlled Illinois General Assembly.  Despite repeated promises to the contrary, the Democrats refused to hold public hearings about their actual proposed congressional redistricting plan.  By doing so, they failed to solicit citizens’ input or respond to numerous requests from people across the state for the opportunity to participate in a transparent discussion about the future of their representation in Congress.

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