Redistricting in Illinois
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|Redistricting in Illinois|
|Current legislative control: |
|Congressional process: |
|State legislature process: |
|State Senate: 59|
|State House: 118|
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|Redistricting • State-by-state redistricting procedures • State legislative and congressional redistricting after the 2010 Census|
- 1 Background
- 2 State process
- 3 District maps
- 4 Competitiveness
- 5 Race and ethnicity
- 6 Redistricting after the 2010 census
- 7 Redistricting after the 2000 census
- 8 Redistricting ballot measures
- 9 Recent news
- 10 See also
- 11 External links
- 12 References
Redistricting is a fiercely-contested issue, primarily due to gerrymandering, the practice of drawing district lines to favor one political party or constituency over another. Two areas of contention include the following:
- Competitiveness: Political parties and incumbents sometimes draw district lines for their benefit at the expense of proportionality and fair representation. Some argue that this phenomenon contributes to the present lack of competitive elections. Uncompetitive elections can in turn discourage participation.
- Race and ethnicity: District lines sometimes minimize the influence of minority voters by disproportionately consolidating them within single districts or splitting them across several districts. These practices are known as "packing" and "cracking," respectively.
- See also: Redistricting
Federal law stipulates that all districts, whether congressional or state legislative, must meet two primary criteria.
- Equal population: According to All About Redistricting, federal law "requires that each district have about the same population: each federal district within a state must have about the same number of people [and] each state district within a state must have about the same number of people." Specific standards for determining whether populations are sufficiently equal vary for congressional and state legislative districts. See below for further details.
- Race and ethnicity: Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 states that district lines must not dilute the voting power of racial or ethnic minority groups. This provision "applies whether the denial is intentional, or an unintended end result. Courts essentially test whether the way that districts are drawn takes decisive political power away from a cohesive minority bloc otherwise at risk for discrimination."
In most states, the legislatures are primarily responsible for both congressional and state legislative redistricting. However, reformers argue that partisan legislators are incapable of establishing fair district lines because they have a vested interest in the outcome. Instead, reformers advocate using different redistricting processes, including independent commissions or electronic methods. Opponents of these reforms argue that alternative processes are less accountable to voters, subject to partisan abuse, and perhaps unconstitutional.
Key terms and concepts
- A community of interest is a "group of people in a geographical area, such as a specific region or neighborhood, who have common political, social or economic interests." A total of 24 states require that the maintenance of communities of interest be considered in the drawing of state legislative districts. A total of 13 states impose similar requirements for congressional districts.
- Compactness refers to the general principle that "the distance between all parts of a district" ought to be minimized. The United States Supreme Court has "construed compacted to indicate that residents have some sort of cultural cohesion in common." A total of 37 states "require their legislative districts to be reasonably compact." A total of 18 states impose similar requirements for congressional districts.
- Contiguity refers to the principle that all areas within a district should be "physically adjacent." A total of 49 states require that districts of at least one state legislative chamber be contiguous. A total of 23 states require that congressional districts meet contiguity requirements.
- Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing district lines to favor one political party or constituency over another.
- A total of 42 states require that state legislative district lines be drawn to account for political boundaries (e.g., the limits of counties, cities and towns). A total of 19 states require that similar considerations be made in the drawing of congressional districts. Typically, these requirements are quite flexible.
According to Article 1, Section 4, of the United States Constitution, the states and their legislatures have primary authority in determining the "times, places and manner" of congressional elections. Congress may also pass laws regulating congressional elections. Section 4 explicitly vests the authority to regulate congressional elections with the legislative branches of the states and the federal government and not with the executive or judicial branches.
|“||The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.||”|
—United States Constitution
Article 1, Section 2, of the United States Constitution stipulates that congressional representatives be apportioned to the states on the basis of population. There are 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives. Each state is allotted a portion of these seats based on the size of its population relative to the other states. Consequently, a state may gain seats in the House if its population grows, or lose seats if its population decreases, relative to populations in other states. In 1964, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Wesberry v. Sanders that the populations of House districts must be equal "as nearly as practicable."
The equal population requirement for congressional districts is strict. According to All About Redistricting, "any district with more or fewer people than the average (also know as the 'ideal' population), must be specifically justified by a consistent state policy. And even consistent policies that cause a 1 percent spread from largest to smallest district will likely be unconstitutional."
State legislative redistricting
The United States Constitution is silent on the issue of state legislative redistricting. In the mid-1960s, the United States Supreme Court issued a series of rulings in an effort to clarify standards for state legislative redistricting. In Reynolds v. Sims, the court ruled that "the Equal Protection Clause [of the United States Constitution] demands no less than substantially equal state legislative representation for all citizens, of all places as well as of all races." According to All About Redistricting, "it has become accepted that a [redistricting] plan will be constitutionally suspect if the largest and smallest districts [within a state or jurisdiction] are more than 10 percent apart."
- See also: State-by-state redistricting procedures
In 37 states, legislatures are primarily responsible for drawing congressional district lines. Seven states have only one congressional district each, so congressional redistricting is not necessary. Four states employ independent commissions to draw the district maps. In two states, politician commissions draw congressional district lines.
State legislative district lines are primarily the province of the state legislatures themselves in 37 states. In seven states, politician commissions draw state legislative district lines. In the remaining six states, independent commissions draw the lines.
The Illinois General Assembly is responsible for drawing both congressional and state legislative district lines. Both chambers of the state legislature must approve a redistricting plan. The governor may veto the lines drawn by the state legislature.
In the event that both chambers of the state legislature do not approve a legislative redistricting plan, a backup commission must draw the lines. The majority and minority leaders of each chamber must appoint two members each to the commission (one legislator and one general citizen). Of the eight commission members, no more than four may belong to the same political party. In the event that these eight members cannot approve a plan, the Illinois Supreme Court must select two individuals (from different political parties) as potential tiebreakers. The Secretary of State of Illinois secretary of state must then appoint one of these individuals to the backup commission to break the tie.
State law also mandates the establishment of state legislative districts "that allow racial or language minority communities to elect--or influence the election of--the candidates of their choice, even if no comparable district would be required by the federal Voting Rights Act."
Illinois comprises 18 congressional districts. The map to the right depicts Illinois's congressional district lines as drawn following the 2010 United States Census. The table below lists Illinois's current House representatives.
|Illinois delegation to the United States House of Representatives|
|Name||Party||Position||Assumed office||Term ends|
|Adam Kinzinger||District 16||2011||January 3, 2017|
|Bill Foster||District 11||2013||January 3, 2017|
|Bobby L. Rush||District 1||1993||January 3, 2017|
|Cheri Bustos||District 17||2013||January 3, 2017|
|Daniel Lipinski||District 3||2005||January 3, 2017|
|Danny K. Davis||District 7||1997||January 3, 2017|
|Jan Schakowsky||District 9||1999||January 3, 2017|
|John Shimkus||District 15||1997||January 3, 2017|
|Luis V. Gutierrez||District 4||1993||January 3, 2017|
|Mike Bost||District 12||2015||January 3, 2017|
|Mike Quigley||District 5||2009||January 3, 2017|
|Peter J. Roskam||District 6||2007||January 3, 2017|
|Randy Hultgren||District 14||2011||January 3, 2017|
|Robert J. Dold||District 10||2015||January 3, 2017|
|Robin Kelly||District 2||2013||January 3, 2015|
|Rodney Davis||District 13||2013||January 3, 2017|
|Tammy Duckworth||District 8||2013||January 3, 2017|
State legislative maps
Illinois comprises 59 state Senate districts and 118 state House districts. State senators are elected every four years in partisan elections. State representatives are elected every two years in partisan elections. To access images of the state legislative district maps, click here.
Some critics contend that the dominant redistricting methods result in a lack of competitive elections. Jennifer Clark, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said, "The redistricting process has important consequences for voters. In some states, incumbent legislators work together to protect their own seats, which produces less competition in the political system. Voters may feel as though they do not have a meaningful alternative to the incumbent legislator. Legislators who lack competition in their districts have less incentive to adhere to their constituents’ opinions."
The individuals involved in redistricting must balance the desire for increased competitiveness with other principles that might conflict with that goal, such as compactness, contiguity, and maintaining communities of interest. For instance, it may at times be impossible to draw a competitive district that is both compact and preserves communities of interest.
In 2011, James Cottrill, a professor of political science at Santa Clara University, published a study of the effect of "non-legislative approaches" to redistricting on the competitiveness of congressional elections. Cottrill found that "particular types of [non-legislative approaches] encourage the appearance in congressional elections of experienced and well-financed challengers." Cottrill cautioned, however, that non-legislative approaches "contribute neither to decreased vote percentages when incumbents win elections nor to a greater probability of their defeat."
In 2014, Ballotpedia analyzed the margins of victory in all 435 contests for the United States House of Representatives. Ballotpedia found that the average margin of victory was 35.8 percent, compared to 31.8 percent in 2012. A total of 318 elections (73 percent of all House elections) were won by margins of victory of 20 percent or more. Only 26 elections (6 percent of the total) were won by margins of victory of 5 percent or less.
In Illinois, 12 elections for the United States House of Representatives were won by margins of victory of 20 percent or greater. The smallest margin of victory occurred in District 10, where Bob Dold Jr. (R) won by 2.6 percent. The largest margin of victory occurred in District 7, where Danny K. Davis (D) won by 70.2 percent. The average margin of victory was 32.7 percent. See the table below for full details.
|Electoral margins of victory in 2014 United States House of Representatives elections, Illinois|
|District||Winner||Margin of victory||Total votes cast||Top opponent|
|District 1||Bobby Rush||46.2%||222,017||Jimmy Lee Tillman|
|District 2||Robin Kelly||57.1%||204,266||Eric Wallace|
|District 3||Dan Lipinski||29.1%||180,855||Sharon Brannigan|
|District 4||Luis Gutierrez||56.3%||101,944||Hector Concepcion|
|District 5||Mike Quigley||32.6%||184,019||Vince Kolber|
|District 6||Peter Roskam||34.3%||238,743||Michael Mason|
|District 7||Danny K. Davis||70.2%||182,278||Robert Bumpers|
|District 8||Tammy Duckworth||11.5%||151,056||Lawrence Kaifesh|
|District 9||Jan Schakowsky||32.1%||213,450||Susanne Atanus|
|District 10||Bob Dold Jr.||2.6%||187,128||Brad Schneider|
|District 11||Bill Foster||6.9%||174,771||Darlene Senger|
|District 12||Mike Bost||10.6%||209,738||Bill Enyart|
|District 13||Rodney Davis||17.3%||210,272||Ann Callis|
|District 14||Randy Hultgren||30.8%||222,230||Dennis Anderson|
|District 15||John Shimkus||49.8%||221,926||Eric Thorsland|
|District 16||Adam Kinzinger||41.2%||217,198||Randall Olsen|
|District 17||Cheri Bustos||10.9%||199,345||Bobby Schilling|
|District 18||Aaron Schock||49.5%||247,013||Darrel Miller|
In 2014, Ballotpedia conducted a study of competitive districts in 46 state legislative chambers between 2010 and 2012. The most recent United States Census was conducted in 2010. This triggered the drawing of the district lines that were in place for elections in 2012. Ballotpedia found that there were 61 fewer competitive general election contests in 2012 than in 2010. Of the 44 chambers studied, 25 experienced a net loss in the number of competitive elections. A total of 17 experienced a net increase. In total, 16.2 percent of the 3,842 legislative contests studied saw competitive general elections in 2010. In 2012, only 14.6 percent of the contests studied saw competitive general elections. For more information regarding this report, including methodology, click here.
There were four competitive races in the Illinois House of Representatives in 2012, the same as in 2010. There were only two mildly competitive races for the state House in 2012, compared to 6 in 2010. This amounted to a net loss of four competitive races.
|Party||As of April 2015|
|Party||As of April 2015|
Race and ethnicity
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 mandates that electoral district lines cannot be drawn in such a manner as to "improperly dilute minorities' voting power."
|“||No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.||”|
—Voting Rights Act of 1965
States and other political subdivisions may create majority-minority districts in order to comply with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. A majority-minority district (sometimes called a minority opportunity district) is a district in which a minority group comprises a majority of the district's total population. As of 2013, Illinois was home to four congressional majority-minority districts: District 1, District 2, District 4 and District 7.
Proponents of majority-minority districts maintain that these districts are a necessary hindrance to the practice of "cracking." Cracking occurs when a constituency is divided between several districts in order to prevent it from achieving a majority in any one district. In addition, supporters argue that the drawing of majority-minority districts has resulted in an increased number of minority representatives in state legislatures and Congress.
Critics, meanwhile, contend that the establishment of majority-minority districts results in "packing." Packing occurs when a constituency or voting group is placed within a single district, thereby minimizing its influence in other districts. Because minority groups tend to vote Democratic, critics argue that majority-minority districts ultimately present an unfair advantage to Republicans by consolidating Democratic votes into a smaller number of districts.
The tables below provide demographic information for each of Illinois's congressional districts as of 2013. At that time, the population of the largest congressional district, District 5, totaled 725,210, and the population of the smallest, District 4, totaled 703,545, which represented a difference of 3.1 percent.
|Demographics of Illinois's congressional districts (as percentages)|
|Source: United States Census Bureau, "2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates," accessed April 8, 2015|
|Demographics of Illinois's congressional districts|
|Source: United States Census Bureau, "2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates," accessed April 8, 2015|
Redistricting after the 2010 census
Following the completion of the 2010 United States Census, Illinois lost one congressional seat. At the time of redistricting, Democrats held majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. On May 30, 2011, the Illinois House of Representatives approved a congressional redistricting plan. The Illinois State Senate approved the plan on May 31, 2011 and Governor Pat Quinn (D) signed it into law on June 24, 2011. Some argued that the maps had been improperly drawn to threaten Republican incumbents. In 2010, Republicans had won a majority of Illinois's House seats. Legal suits were filed challenging the new congressional district map, but these were all ultimately dismissed.
The state legislative redistricting plan was passed by the legislature on May 27, 2011. Quinn signed the map into law on June 3, 2011. As with the congressional map, lawsuits were filed challenging the new state legislative districts. These suits were ultimately dismissed.
Redistricting after the 2000 census
As a result of the 2000 United States Census, Illinois lost one congressional seat. At the time of redistricting, control of the Illinois General Assembly was split; Democrats held a majority in the Illinois House of Representatives and Republicans held a majority in the Illinois State Senate. According to The Almanac of American Politics, legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle "fashioned a [congressional] plan to protect every incumbent except one unlucky junior Democrat in far downstate Illinois." In spite of legislators' efforts to maintain the status quo, "the map produced a fair share of competition: Democrats, who held 12 of 19 seats after 2008, fell to just eight after 2010."
Redistricting ballot measures
elections and campaigns
|Not on ballot|
Ballotpedia has tracked the following ballot measure(s) relating to redistricting in Illinois.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms "Redistricting Illinois."
- Some of the stories below may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of Google's news search engine.
- Redistricting in Illinois after the 2010 census
- State-by-state redistricting procedures
- State legislative and congressional redistricting after the 2010 census
- Margin of victory in state legislative elections before and after the 2010 census
- Margin of victory analysis for the 2014 congressional elections
- All About Redistricting
- National Conference of State Legislatures, "Redistricting Process"
- FairVote, "Redistricting"
- The Redistricting Game
- A backup commission draws state legislative district lines in the event that the legislature cannot approve a plan.
- All About Redistricting, "Why does it matter?" accessed April 8, 2015
- Indy Week, "Cracked, stacked and packed: Initial redistricting maps met with skepticism and dismay," June 29, 2011
- The Atlantic, "How the Voting Rights Act Hurts Democrats and Minorities," June 17, 2013
- Redrawing the Lines, "The Role of Section 2 - Majority Minority Districts," accessed April 6, 2015
- All About Redistricting, "Where are the lines drawn?" accessed April 9, 2015
- FairVote, "Redistricting Glossary," accessed April 9, 2015
- The Atlantic, "The Twisted History of Gerrymandering in American Politics," September 19, 2012
- Encyclopædia Britannica, "Gerrymandering," November 4, 2014
- The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, "Election Regulations," accessed April 13, 2015
- Brookings, "Redistricting and the United States Constitution," March 22, 2011
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Brennan Center for Justice, "A Citizen's Guide to Redistricting," accessed March 25, 2015
- The Constitution of the United States of America, "Article 1, Section 2," accessed March 25, 2015
- All About Redistricting, "Who draws the lines?" accessed March 25, 2015
- All About Redistricting, "Illinois," accessed April 16, 2015
- Illinois Redistricting, "2011 Adopted Maps," accessed April 17, 2015
- The Daily Cougar, "Redistricting will affect November election," October 16, 2012
- Polity, "The Effects of Non-Legislative Approaches to Redistricting on Competition in Congressional Elections," October 3, 2011
- Yale Law School, The Avalon Project, "Voting Rights Act of 1965; August 6, 1965," accessed April 6, 2015
- United States Census Bureau, "2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates," accessed April 8, 2015
- The Huffington Post, "Illinois Redistricting: Quinn Signs Plan To Add Democratic Seats," June 24, 2011
- The Huffington Post, "Illinois Redistricting: Democrat-Backed Maps Head To Quinn's Desk, Threaten Republican Gains," May 31, 2011
- Barone, M. & McCutcheon, C. (2013). The almanac of American politics 2014 : the senators, the representatives and the governors : their records and election results, their states and districts. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.