Redistricting a Key Part of Illinois Fall General Assembly Session


Published on October 21 2021 10:23 am
Last Updated on October 21 2021 10:23 am


The General Assembly two weeks ago released its draft of proposed congressional districts and held a series of hearings on the draft map during the first week of its fall session. A final vote is expected next week. The proposed map will be sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his action once approved by the General Assembly.

Meanwhile, a federal court in Chicago ruled state legislative district maps developed in June were unconstitutional. Those maps were developed before the release of U.S. Census data.

Based on the 2020 Census, Illinois is losing one congressional district because of population changes. The proposed map contains 17 new districts. The map may be viewed on either the Illinois House or Senate websites. Go to or and then click on the tab that states “Congressional Proposal”.

Some political pundits speculate the proposed map would favor Democratic candidates in 14 and Republican candidates in three of the new districts. The current Illinois delegation includes 13 Democrats and five Republicans.

Most of the current incumbent congressional members are drawn into districts they solely reside. However, in two of the new districts that is not the case. Republican incumbent Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Channahon is put into a district with freshman Democrat Rep. Marie Newman of LaGrange. Also, Republican Reps. Darin LaHood of Peoria and freshman Mary Miller of Oakland were put together in a single district.

Unlike candidates for the Illinois General Assembly who have to live in the district they represent once elected, congressional members do not have to live in their district. They simply must reside in Illinois, but politically this has never been popular.

Redistricting pundits have also publicly projected the congressional map, once it is approved, will undoubtedly be challenged in federal court. It is believed that the challenge of the federal maps will follow similar legal arguments about minority representation, such as the state legislature map challenge based on the federal Voting Rights Act.

While the federal court ruled the first state legislative district maps were unconstitutional and violated the “one-person, one-vote” doctrine, the three judges did not order new maps be drawn by a bipartisan redistricting commission. A second set of state legislative district maps were approved in a special legislative session and signed by Pritzker in September. In their ruling, the judges declared that second set of state district maps to be the point from which to develop new ones.