Illinois GOP Leaders Sue Over Legislative Remap
Lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court claims newly drawn districts disenfranchise blacks, Hispanics.
Illinois Republicans filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday challenging the recently adopted legislative map drawn by state Democrats, claiming the new boundaries disenfranchise minority groups.
The suit was filed against the State Board of Elections by Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno of Lemont, Republican Assembly leader Tom Cross of Oswego and several black and Hispanic residents, Illinois Statehouse News reports.
Chief among the issues raised in the suit is that blacks and Hispanics were not given adequate input into the crafting of the new map, which Republicans say is a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The suit also claims the process violated the Illinois Constitution because the map was not made available for a sufficient amount of time for review and because 34 districts aren't compact enough.
“They should be ashamed of themselves," Cross said of the Democratic majority. "We are optimistic that the court will agree with us and will help give our residents a fair map that accurately reflects our population, especially our growing Latino population.”
Republicans also say the Democratic majority used the remapping process as a political maneuver to enhance the likelihood of Democratic re-election, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The new map pits 19 House Republicans and eight Senate Republicans against other GOP incumbents. No Democratic incumbents face a challenge from other sitting Democrats, the Tribune said.
Legislative maps are redrawn every 10 years by the majority party in the Illinois General Assembly to reflect population changes in the U.S. census. Gov. Pat Quinn signed off on the new map last month.
“The majority party denied Illinois citizens the opportunity to vote for a constitutional amendment that would have taken the redistricting process out of the hands of politicians and given it to an independent body," Radogno said in a news release. "Had that occurred, I am confident a fair map that meets the requirements of the Federal Voting Rights Act would have been adopted.
"Instead, Illinois citizens must turn to the courts to protect their right to have their votes count.”