Illinois Redistricting Update: Special session to be held on Aug. 31, motion for summary judgment filed

Photo of the Illinois State Capitol building

The Illinois House and Senate Redistricting Committees will hold special sessions on Aug. 31 to “amend the legislative map enacted in June to incorporate the latest Census data.” Lawmakers are holding public hearings ahead of the special session from Aug. 26-29.

The special session is coming after the release of 2020 census data on Aug. 12, and Illinois Senate and House minority leaders McConchie (R) and Durkin’s (R) motion filed Aug. 19 for summary judgment in the consolidated redistricting lawsuit, Contreras et. al. v. Illinois State Board of Elections. The motion argued that the maps signed by Gov. Pritzker (D) on June 4 are unconstitutional because they exceed the maximum 10% deviation permitted, with “29.88% [deviation] for House Districts and 20.25% for Senate Districts.”

Contreras et. al. v. Illinois Board of Elections was consolidated on July 14, from two separate lawsuits filed in June: one by minority leaders McConchie and Durkin on the 9th, and the other by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) on behalf of five registered voters (Contreras, Fuentes, Martinez, Padilla, and Torres).

Plaintiffs alleged that the new district maps did not have substantially equal populations because they relied on data from the American Community Survey.

The Illinois State Board of Elections and the offices of House Speaker Welch (D) and Senate President Harmon (D) filed a motion to dismiss on July 16, alleging the plaintiffs lacked standing and that until the Census Bureau released full data, there was no way to measure the validity of the plaintiffs’ equal protection arguments. On July 28, MALDEF attorneys filed an amended complaint, alleging that because Contreras, Fuentes, Martinez, Padilla, and Torres lived in the allegedly malapportioned districts, the maps would dilute their votes in future elections. As of Aug. 27, litigation on the case is ongoing. A trial was tentatively set for Sept. 27-29.

Additional reading: