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Will County area Republicans slam Democrats for new state legislative maps

Republicans accused Democrats of drawing new maps ‘behind closed doors’

state government, david allen welter

Republicans in the state legislature representing parts of Will County blasted their Democratic colleagues for passing new legislative district maps which they argued are partisan and were drawn in secret.

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives approved the new maps last week.

The state legislature is tasked with redrawing state and federal legislative districts every 10 years after the U.S. Census count. Through this process, since both chambers have been controlled by Democrats, Republicans have argued its a partisan process and that their colleagues draw districts to benefit their candidates, a tactic referred to as gerrymandering.

State Rep. David Allen Welter, R-Morris, took to the House floor and invoked the words of former President Barack Obama to criticize Democrats. In a speech to the state legislature in 2016, Obama called for “a better politics.”

“I agree with President Barack Obama on that,” Welter said. “Politicians should not be drawing their own maps. You should not be picking your own voters.”

He also referenced the incomplete data Democrats were using to reapportion the districts as the 2020 U.S. Census data won’t be available until late in the summer, well after maps need to be drawn. Welter said Democrats are not willing to wait for more accurate data and want to “rush this sham process.”

Rep. Tim Ozinga, R-Mokena, echoed Welter’s criticisms and tried, like other Republicans, to tie the process to the legal issues surrounding former Speaker Michael Madigan.

“This is a sad day for the people of Illinois,” Ozinga said in a statement. “A state where former senators have been indicted on several corruption charges and the people close to the former speaker have been indicted in relation to a federal bribery scheme, the politicians get to choose their constituents. The process was hidden behind closed doors and used data which is unknown to the public.”

Ozinga also called on Gov. JB Pritzker to veto the maps. Republicans have criticized Pritzker for backtracking on his campaign pledge to veto any unfair maps approved by Democrats in the legislature.