Lawmakers in Illinois have approved new legislative maps despite the objections of Republicans and Latino organizations in the state.
Once signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker, the new maps - which were posted online earlier this week - will be used in state legislative elections for the next 10 years.
Ahead of Tuesday's vote, several prominent Latinos and Latino organizations had voiced their objections to the process, arguing that that the maps were unconstitutional because they largely relied on data from the American Community Survey rather than the 2020 census.
MALDEF president and general counsel Thomas Saenz, for example, warned that "Illinois voters, including the growing Latino community, are entitled to districts that accurately reflect the population as determined by the constitutionally mandated decennial census."
Some Latino leaders, however, sought to defend the process.
Speaking at a special session of the Illinois House and Senate on Tuesday, for example, Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, said that the redistricting effort saw Democrats work "tirelessly to bring stakeholders and communities from across the state together for their input."
"Fifty hearings in the spring, nine hearings in August, multiple ways to testify and submit recommendations, a public mapping portal to submit maps. Did everyone get everything they wanted? No. But everyone was heard. Redistricting is a complex exercise with many competing interests and priorities."
The process, however, was quickly condemned by groups such as Change Illinois, who noted that groups including the Latino Policy Forum and other minority groups had asked that lawmakers draw maps that "would reflect their needs."
"Their maps make a farce of democracy, and their mapmaking process was a charade," Change Illinois executive director Madeline Doubek said. "Illinois lawmakers have effectively demonstrated the clear and compelling need to end gerrymandering once and for all."
Jay Young, the executive director of Common Cause Illinois - which boycotted Tuesday's hearing to protect the redistricting policy - said that the hearings on the issue "were consistently hastily scheduled, poorly noticed to the general public and sparsely attended."
"As a result, the maps to be voted on...will not be crafted of public input, but of pure politics," Young added.
The process was also harshly condemned by Republicans, as state Democrats are now expected to eliminate a Republican district in the state and attempt to re-form districts to be more favorable to the Democrats.
An LPO source with ties to the Republican Party in Illinois said they were not surprised at the outcome of Tuesday's session.
"This whole process lacked transparency. I hear people didn't really show up. There wasn't outreach at all," the source said. "It looks like constituents were cut out of the process entirely."
A second source, however, said there was still chance that Republicans would get what they wanted from a three-judge panel that is set to meet this week.
"From what I understand, a judge could force a correction," the source said. "That would be ideal."
The source's assessment was echoed by Republican Rep. Ryan Spain, who said on Tuesday that "these are hearings that have included locked doors, and no one showing up at all, other than our dedicated Republican spokesperson and other members of the Republican side of the aisle," he was quoted as saying by Capitol new Illinois.
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