Many Kane County residents will see new choices on their election ballots next year as county officials this week approved a new map for county board seats.
The map left no existing county board district untouched. But a plethora of phone calls and meetings between Democrats and Republican officials over the last two weeks fueled unanimous bipartisan support for the new districts.
Throughout the process, Aurora-based board members expressed concern about what they believed to be flawed Census numbers showing 18,000 fewer residents than they believe exist. That paired with a need to be mindful of giving Hispanic residents in Aurora, Elgin and Carpentersville a statistically fair chance of electing a candidate of their choice.
The result left almost none of the Aurora contingent on the board happy. In a preliminary vote on amendments, four of the eight Aurora Democrats voted against the new map. But they all supported the map on the final vote.
Likewise, the shifting of several existing voting precincts among districts that border each other left multiple board members unhappy that some voters who historically supported them in the past will now have a different county board member representing them.
One key aspect of the final version of the map all board members agreed to during the drafting process was that no redrawing of district lines would force incumbent county board members to run against each other.
That decision, plus agreeing not to reduce the size of the existing board, avoided much of the political drama from the last redistricting process 10 years ago.
“The map is the final culmination of input from everybody,” said County Board member Ken Shepro. He is also chairman of the Kane County GOP. “I believe it reflects the fairest division of the county and the districts. Nobody got everything they wanted.”
County Board Chair Corinne Pierog must now determine what method officials will use to determine the terms county board members will run for in next year’s election.
Half the 24-member board will run for two-year terms. The other half will run for four-year terms. Pierog said she will use a method of chance to determine whether even- or odd-numbered board seats run for the longer term.
Flipping a coin or picking a number out of a hat are methods used in the past.