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Cook County Board Approves New Commissioner District Maps
LWV CC Takes Issue with the Process
The Cook County Board of Commissioners approved new district maps at the September 23 Board meeting, adopting the ordinance and maps recommended by the 2020 Census Redistricting Committee, composed of all Board members.To see the new maps, clickhere.
The new maps utilize the 2020 Census numbers and included a few minor changes made by the outside consultant from that which had been the subject of a public hearing on September 14.At that public hearing, no one from the public appeared or objected to the maps.
The maps have 5 majority African American Districts (1-5) and 3 majority Hispanic Districts (7,8, and 16), as do the current maps.All 17 districts comply with the requirement that the population within a district be no greater than 5% lower or higher than the target of 310,326.
One of the provisions of the ordinance enacting the maps makes clear that the existing Commissioners will continue to represent those who live in the existing districts prior to the November 2022 election, when all 17 Commissioner positions will be on the ballot.The new districts will be used for the 2022 elections and thereafter.
The process included 3 public hearings in June at which only a handful of people spoke.Following those hearings, the consultants hired by the County started from the existing districts and adjusted them utilizing data from different sources to prepare “draft framework maps,” pending the release of the Census data in mid-August.The consultants then further adjusted the boundaries of the districts in those framework maps to reflect the actual Census numbers, with the goal of maintaining 5 African American majority and 3 Hispanic majority districts.
Both the framework and final maps were drawn in consultation with the Commissioners.During the public discussion by the Commissioners regarding the maps, it was clear that the Commissioners of adjoining districts had met privately in groups of 2 or 3 with the consultants and agreed on what portions of existing districts would be “given to” districts needing more population.
The League of Women Voters of Cook County submitted a letter for the Board meeting on Sept. 23 expressing its concerns about the redistricting process.At the request of Comm. Miller, the letter was read aloud for the record of 2020 Census Redistricting Committee meeting the day before. Among other things, the League reiterated its position that an independent commission should draw districts, rather than government officials who have a vested interest in the outcome. The League also urged that for the next redistricting in 10 years, the process begin with a blank slate, rather than starting from then existing districts, in order to better reflect communities of interest and the significant changes in population distribution in the County. To read the full League letter, click here.
Cook County League Newsletter October 2021 Edition
Highlights from the October 2021 LWVCC Observer newsletter: Forest Preserve Walks, Criminal Justice Update, Redistricting Info & More Check it out here.
For recent issues of the newsletter, click here.