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State Rep. Jeff Keicher backs veto for newly-drawn statewide district maps

Keicher’s comments come after late Tuesday night House of Representatives party-line vote passed the new maps, which heads to governor’s office

SPRINGFIELD - State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, is calling on capital leadership to veto a newly-drawn district map bill after the Illinois House of Representatives voted late Tuesday night to pass newly drawn legislative boundaries expected to be used in elections for the next decade.

Keicher issued a social media statement around 9 p.m. Tuesday after the House voted 73-43 along party lines to pass the newly drawn maps for the State of Illinois, an effort backed by Democrats. Keicher, a Republican, asked Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker to veto the bill when it gets to his desk.

“Moments ago, the House voted 73-43 along party lines to pass the Democrats’ partisan-drawn maps for the State of Illinois. I share the sentiments Leader Jim Durkin expressed tonight. Politicians should not be drawing maps. Period. I join those urging Governor Pritzker to stand by his campaign promise and veto this bill.”

Moments ago, the House voted 73-43 along party lines to pass the Democrats' partisan-drawn maps for the State of...

Posted by State Representative Jeff Keicher on Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Illinois Democrats on Tuesday were expected to approve new legislative boundaries over objections from Republicans and some community groups that the process was unnecessarily rushed and maps drawn behind closed doors to keep Democrats in power.

Tuesday’s vote was a do-over of maps that majority Democrats approved and Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed earlier this year. Those maps prompted lawsuits from top Illinois Republicans and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a Latino civil rights organization, who argued they were flawed and unconstitutional because they were based on population estimates from the American Community Survey rather than the 2020 census.

With the release of census data this month, Democratic leaders said the maps would be adjusted and the Illinois Legislature would return to Springfield for another vote. That could ensure Democrats continue to control the map-making process, rather than risk having a judge throw out the maps or allow a bipartisan commission to take over the job — a process that could end with Republicans having the final say.

The new maps, which House and Senate Democrats posted online for the first time Monday afternoon, will be used in elections for the next decade.

Legislators have historically used census data for redistricting, or the process of redrawing political maps every 10 years to reflect changes in population and ensure, among other things, that districts are roughly equal in population. But with the release of 2020 census data delayed this year because of the pandemic, Democrats opted to use the American Community Survey to meet a June 30 deadline set in the state constitution.

If the Legislature didn’t meet that deadline, an eight-member commission would be created with an equal number of Democrat and GOP lawmakers. If that group were unable to approve a map, a ninth member would be picked at random to break the tie.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.