Sen. Robert Peter

Redistricting hearings continue to ensure Illinois residents have say in fair map

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) is leading efforts to gather input from communities of interest to create a fair map that reflects the broad racial and geographic diversity of Chicago.

Peters recently chaired one of more than a dozen regional hearings scheduled to be held by the Senate Redistricting Caucus in the coming weeks as lawmakers seek input from the public in order to craft a fair map that reflects the diversity of Illinois. That includes the state’s racial, religious and geographic diversity, among other factors.

“We were fortunate to hear from a variety of different groups that spoke to the diversity of neighbors across the South Side of Chicago,” Peters said. “These hearings provide us an opportunity to hear from organizations that work directly with residents in our communities on a daily basis.”

At the Chicago-South Subcommittee Hearing, committee members heard from representatives from the Blackroots Alliance, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, and the IL Muslim Civic Coalition.

The Senate Democratic Caucus is focused on inclusion, with hearings being held both in person and virtually, allowing for say from stakeholders in all of Illinois’ 102 counties. For the first time, anyone who wishes to propose a new legislative boundary map will soon be able to draw and submit a map online.

“On the South Side, we know the importance of being heard. We must speak up, we must speak out if we want change,” Peters said.  “That’s particularly true when it comes to redistricting, which at its core is about making sure communities have a strong voice in the halls of power.”

Redistricting occurs every ten years following the U.S. Census count, as each state is required to draw new boundaries for legislative districts in response to shifts in population. While each state has a unique process for redistricting, legislative districts must conform to several constitutional and statutory standards, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Voting Rights Act provides that citizens’ right to vote shall not be denied or abridged based on race or color, and prohibits the drawing of redistricting plans that result in the denial or abridgement of the right to vote based on race, color or membership in a language minority.

Building on that federal law, Illinois Senate Democrats spearheaded the passage and implementation of the Illinois Voting Rights Act in 2011, which also ensures redistricting plans are crafted in a way that preserves clusters of minority voters if they are of size or cohesion to exert collective electoral power.

In Illinois, legislative redistricting maps must also meet four requirements, including: districts must be substantially equal in population; districts must be configured in such a way as to provide adequate representation to minorities and other special interests protected by state and federal law; districts must be compact and contiguous; and maps must meet all legal requirements regarding political fairness.

The Democratic members of the Senate Redistricting Committee are dedicated to meeting the Constitutional June 30 deadline for a new redistricting plan to be approved, as it is the best way to ensure the creation of a fair map. Failing to meet that deadline would turn the redistricting process over to a committee of political appointees, resulting in an outcome that puts the wishes of a handful of political insiders ahead of the interests of the citizens of Illinois.

For more information about redistricting hearings or to testify or submit testimony, visit ilsenateredistricting.com or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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