DuPage County Council Releases Redistribution Map Called ‘Very Strong’, With Some Objections
A bipartisan group of DuPage County board members have unveiled a redistribution plan over objections from a few Democrats who have called for another version of a voter map despite a looming deadline.
In a series of forums starting Thursday, a special committee of the council will seek public comment on the proposed redrawing political boundaries that will apply over the next decade.
So far, the committee overseeing the redistribution, the process of reconfiguring the county council’s six districts to reflect population changes, has largely avoided partisan bickering. Some Democrats and Republicans have signed on to the draft map. The board has until November 17 to adopt new district lines.
“We have drawn a very solid legal map,” consultant Josina Morita told board members ahead of Thursday’s open house. “You respect equal population standards. You are not violating the right to vote standards. Some of the attempts to keep particular townships and constituencies intact, respecting major geographic boundaries, have all been taken into account. “
All Roselle, for example, would fall into District 1 instead of keeping part of the village in District 6. In Lombard, Main Street would become the dividing line between District 4 and District 2, straightening a zigzag drawn there. a decade.
The redistribution committee also achieved a self-imposed goal: the draft map shows less than 1% population difference between the districts. The county’s overall population has grown slightly over the past decade, to about 15,000, according to new US Census data.
“I’m very comfortable with the card we have as well,” said Liz Chaplin, board member, District 2 Democrat. “I thought it was a good process. We all did a good job. together.”
However, Amy Chavez, a board member for the first term, argued for an alternative to the card, a request rejected by the rest of the committee, including her fellow Democrats.
“The red flag for me was that it hasn’t changed to look like a lot of changes that DuPage County has had,” Chavez said.
Last week, Chavez sent a one-sentence directive to consultants at Grapple LLC, a company hired by the county to help reshape district lines.
“I would love to see alternative cards using the traditional redistribution parameters, removing the tenure requirements,” Chavez wrote in an email.
But lawyers and Jim Zay, chairman of the redistribution committee and longest-serving board member, said there were no tenure requirements. Cartographers said they did not take into account the place of residence of incumbents.
“You were already under a legal deviation and you were not already in violation of the voting rights law,” Morita said of the existing districts. “So any line that has been moved through this process has been moved under the leadership of the board members through the participatory process. “
Mary Ozog, a Democrat from District 4, also said she was ready to move forward with the proposal.
“Sometimes you just don’t have to reinvent the wheel, even though the neighborhoods still look relatively the way they do,” Ozog said. “It makes sense in terms of communities. It makes sense geographically.”
Still, Chavez and board member Sheila Rutledge said they wanted to consider a separate map created by the Democratic-led council of forest reserve commissioners. This idea has also met with resistance.
“What you are saying is that DuPage County should abdicate its authority to draw a map and give it to another entity that does not have that authority,” said Zay, a Republican from District 6.
District commissioners narrowly decided in August to set their own electoral boundaries, potentially complicating things for voters.
Forest Preserve Commissioners Al Murphy and Linda Painter, both Republicans who attended the county council redistribution meeting on Tuesday, said they had not even seen a proposed map. Painter said the district hired a lawyer to draw it.
“They haven’t given us any input on what they’re trying to draw. I have no idea what they’re trying to draw,” said Brian Krajewski, GOP board member.
The forums, meanwhile, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Monday in the county administration building in Wheaton. Residents can view the map online and provide feedback at dupageco.org/RedistrictingFeedback. The entire county board is expected to review the proposed map on October 26. The 18 seats on the board of directors will be on the ballot in 2022 following the redistribution.