PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois Democrats are using their supermajority to draft maps to strengthen their political power, according to the co-chair of a group that advocates for ethics and efficiency in Illinois government.
Brad McMillan, the co-chair of CHANGE Illinois, said the group has been working on redistricting efforts for more than a decade now, and he is very frustrated with how things turned out.
“We believe that these maps should be drawn in a transparent way, that an independent commission should draw them, that they should be done fairly so we can draw competitive districts…The process has not been good. It hasn’t represented the best interests of the citizens of Illinois and that’s really unfortunate,” he said.
McMillan said Democrats used old data from American Community Survey to draw the maps. The data for the 2020 Census is expected to be released in August. He said other states have “proactively asked courts for extensions of times to draw their maps,” and that Illinois should have done the same.
Moreover, he said the ACS data undercounts Illinois by as many as 100,00 people and hurts communities of color.
“They’ve grown in population over the last 10 years but the new maps are not necessarily going to give them credit for their growing population in the state because they’re using old data,” McMillan said.
Meanwhile, State Rep. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) called on Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-Ill.) to make good on his campaign promises and veto the bill.
“Well governor here’s your chance keep your word, veto the map, we’d love to see the governor lead on this important issue. It’s a historic opportunity, it could be defining to his political career,” he said.
The redistricting committees are holding joint hearings Tuesday and Wednesday to gather feedback from the public before the General Assembly vote on the maps, which McMillan said will be by the end of the month.
WMBD-TV reached out to multiple Democratic lawmakers for comment.