Republicans legislative leaders filed a federal lawsuit challenging the recently-adopted House and Senate maps, arguing that the use of population estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) instead of U.S. Census data, render the redistricting plan unconstitutional.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Burr Ridge) and Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie (R-Lake Zurich) against Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Westchester), and the Illinois State Board of Elections, in their official capacities.
It calls for the plan to be ruled invalid and for Welch and Harmon to appoint members to a bipartisan redistricting commission or for “other appropriate relief that allows for the drafting and implementation of a redistricting plan based on the official 2020 decennial census counts.”
The suit says the Republicans seek to “protect the fundamental rights of Illinois voters and to invalidate the state legislative re-district plan” signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 4. “In its zeal to rush a plan through the legislature, the General Assembly drew the legislative districts in the plan using population estimates derived from a survey rather than waiting a few months for the U.S. Census Bureau … to provide redistricting data containing official population counts from the 2020 decennial census,” the suit states.
NOTE: It further argues that the U.S. Census Bureau itself states that ACS data is not an official source of population counts.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the release of 2020 census data has been delayed until Aug. 16, 2021, beyond the June 30 constitutional deadline for the General Assembly to approve new maps. Democrats argued that the need to meet that deadline forced them to use data sources other than the 2020 census to draw the maps and said ACS data traditionally vary minimally from census data.