McLean County Democrats Chairman Says New County Maps Should Have Considered Demographics

The leader of the McLean County Democratic Party hailed the county’s decision to remove the creation of political maps from the hands of county council members in a public hearing on Monday, but the party criticized the panel for omitting socio-data. economic when defining council districts.

Five people, including three members of the Republican County Board of Directors, spoke at the uncrowded hearing at Heartland Community College. It was one of the last steps before the county council approved the maps that will be in effect for the next decade.

Twenty-four members of the county’s so-called “Red, White and Blue” advisory committee met for several weeks to set the boundaries of the county’s 10 districts. Each of the three teams developed a map for the county council to review. The chosen card that will take effect with the 2022 elections.

Patrick Cortesi, Chairman of the McLean County Democrats, said he “can’t help but brag” to party officials in other counties about what McLean County is doing to draw its maps, but said he was surprised at how alike the three cards look. to each other and to the current map based on the 2010 census.

Cortesi said the committee should have had access to more detailed census data that would show the racial and economic makeup of each chamber. He suggested that the proposed cards could dilute the voting power of minorities. “If committees weren’t able to see or use this data, how can we be sure that we are following the (voting rights) law? Cortesi asked.

Cortesi added that he was disappointed to see how often the boundaries and constituencies of the towns of Bloomington and Normal were split on each of the maps and that voters in Heyworth were split into two districts.

Emilie Bollinger

Christophe Spanos

McLean County First Deputy Attorney Christopher Spanos took the research committee away from these demographics and urged members to focus on the “one person, one vote” concept.

Jill Blair of Bloomington, a Democrat who had previously attended Illinois House, also raised concerns that committees did not have access to demographics. “The importance of ensuring that the voices of the most vulnerable populations among us are assured of being represented in County Council should have been one of the goals of this process,” said Blair.

Blair said committees should also have had access to constituency data to better anticipate constituencies most likely to be redrawn next year.

County board members Chuck Erickson and Jim Soeldner praised the committees for their work, but said little about the maps themselves.

“It’s a very interesting meeting. We will have to see as far as the (county) council is concerned and then we will have our decision to make, ”said George Wendt, member of the county council.

The Red and Blue teams have decided that they are happy with the maps they have created and will not be making any changes. Retired judge and leader of the Blue Team, John Freese, said the committee was aware that the county wall was likely to be redesigned next year.

“It was obviously not our responsibility to redesign the ridings. Our goal was essentially to comply with the law and draw maps that were relatively equal in population (and) compact and contiguous. We think we’ve done it, ”Freese said.

Retired judge Kevin Fitzgerald, who led the White team, said his team did not have enough members present to decide whether they wanted to meet later to consider changes to their map.

The county council is due to vote on the cards at its November 16 meeting.


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