PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Thursday afternoon, an Illinois House committee held its first legislative hearing on congressional redistricting.
Under the U.S. Constitution, every 10 years, states must redraw their congressional maps.
According to 2020 Census data, the population in Illinois decreased by 18,124 residents over the last decade. This brings the state’s total population to 12,812,508.
The decline in population means Illinois will lose one seat in Congress, dropping from its current 18 seats to 17.
During Thursday afternoon’s hearing, some criticized the process used to draw the state’s legislative maps.
During testimony, a policy director with Change Illinois asked for a process that encourages community involvement.
“We encourage this committee to align its congressional remapping work more closely with federal lawmakers who are pushing for the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act making sure to prioritize community interests, removing partisan gerrymandering from the process, and not prioritizing incumbents,” said Ryan Trolley, policy director for Change Illinois.
87th District State Representative Tim Butler (R) also said Illinois had a chance to be a national example during the congressional redistricting process, but that hasn’t been the case.
“We had the time to do it. We don’t have the same state constitutional restraints on congressional maps that we have on legislative maps. Yet, here we are two months after the data came out, finally getting around to having a hearing in a process where nobody knows how it’s going to work. It’s probably going to result in a hugely partisan map” Butler said.
A new congressional map is expected to be voted on during the Illinois fall veto session.