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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  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.”

kpfarrer July 23, 2011 at 12:39 PM
This is funny! "Republicans also say the Democratic majority used the remapping process as a political maneuver to enhance the likelihood of Democratic re-election" ... so the Republican Party hasn't done that? And "blacks and Hispanics were not given adequate input into the crafting of the new map" ... "“They should be ashamed of themselves," Cross said of the Democratic majority." ... Really??? Where were Tom Cross and all these Republicans when local Kendall County Democrats and citizens loudly objected to the Kendall County remapping by the Republican led Kendall Co. Board that refused to consider any changes that would better represent our changing population? Nowhere. Not a peep. Nothing. The Republicans filing this suit are doing it for political purposes, period. If local Republicans were truly concerned about disenfranchising minority groups they would have done something about the Kendall Co. remapping, but they didn't.
kpfarrer July 23, 2011 at 12:40 PM
Regarding ... "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." ... Again, really? The state level maps were made available a lot longer ,and with mapping software, to citizens, unlike in Kendall Co. where citizens were given an opportunity to provide mapping feedback for a very short time and were denied access to mapping software paid for by tax payers.
Jane Enviere July 23, 2011 at 02:06 PM
Aww...how precious is that.... look at Cross's (mock) indignation and unwavering concern for underrepresented minorities. I'm surprised he could choke that out with a straight face. And I'm 100% positive that if the GOP had been the majority party that they would have lobbied fiercely to have the remap turned over to an "independent body". Oh, wait -- now how did I get that out with a straight face? ; )
Scott Henderson July 25, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Let's face it. The Democrats are doing this at the state level while the Republicans are doing it at the county level all in a collective effort to protect their own jobs. Meanwhile both point fingers at each other while WE THE PEOPLE continue to watch as things around us continue to deteriorate.

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