Today, U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) joined State Representatives Tim Butler (R-Springfield) and Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) in a press conference at the Illinois State Capitol to discuss the current status of legislative redistricting in Illinois and highlight Governor J.B. Pritzker’s pledge to veto any redistricting map that is drawn by lawmakers. Both Reps. Butler and Bourne serve on the Illinois House Redistricting Committee. Rep. Butler is the lead Republican on the Committee.
“Governor Pritzker ran on a crystal clear commitment to veto any redistricting plan that was drawn by lawmakers,” said Rep. Davis. “That is exactly the type of redistricting process we have happening right now, and the Governor has been AWOL on this issue since the public hearings on redistricting began. The Governor has an obligation to the people of Illinois to keep that pledge and veto whatever map the General Assembly sends to his desk. There’s widespread, bipartisan agreement that politicians shouldn’t be able to pick their own voters. It’s not too late for the General Assembly to establish an independent commission to draw district boundaries for both state legislative and Congressional districts. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s what the people of Illinois want.”
“Redistricting is well underway in Illinois, and Governor Pritzker has yet to speak out on the partisan process the Democrats in the majority are currently taking, even though the Governor campaigned on and made a pledge to veto a map drawn by lawmakers,” said Rep. Butler. “The Governor or a representative from the Governor’s Office must testify at one of our upcoming public hearings because the Governor has an integral role in redistricting. Under current law, the Governor must take executive action on the map that is sent to his desk. The people of Illinois deserve to know if the Governor will keep his pledge and veto the map the Democrats send him.”
“Governor Pritzker should stand by his campaign pledge to veto any legislative map that is drawn by politicians or their staff and political allies,” said Rep. Bourne. “This is our opportunity to provide a truly independent process that results in fair representation for all residents of Illinois, but it won’t happen if the Governor isn’t willing to keep his word.”
Redistricting of state legislative and Congressional district boundaries occurs after each decennial census. You can find information on redistricting and reform efforts Illinois here. State lawmakers are currently conducting public hearings on redistricting and have signaled they plan to pass a redistricting plan through the General Assembly prior to June 30.
In 2018, then-candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker was asked this redistricting question by Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller: “This requires only a simple yes or no response: Will you pledge as governor to veto any state legislative redistricting map proposal that is in any way drafted or created by legislators, political party leaders and/or their staffs or allies? The exception, of course, would be the final official draft by LRB.”
Pritzker’s response was: “Yes, I will pledge to veto. We should amend the constitution to create an independent commission to draw legislative maps, but in the meantime, I would urge Democrats and Republicans to agree to an independent commission to handle creating a new legislative map. That designated body should reflect the gender, racial, and geographic diversity of the state and look to preserve the Voting Rights Act decisions to ensure racial and language minorities are fully represented in the electoral process.”
Since his election and inauguration, Gov. Pritzker has somewhat walked back his clear pledge to veto any map drawn by legislators. His position more recently has been that he “will veto a partisan map” or he would veto a map that he “thought was an unfair one.”
Every Democrat in Illinois’ Congressional delegation voted in favor of H.R. 1, the Democrats’ massive elections bill that grants the federal government more control over the elections process. One provision in H.R. 1 establishes independent redistricting commissions nationwide for the drawing of Congressional districts and also bans partisan gerrymandering.
Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly have proposed an independent redistricting commission that would empower the Illinois Supreme Court to appoint 16 citizen commissioners to determine the legislative district boundaries.