Republican map angles to win Latino support, bolster legal case

May 26, 2011
Chicago Tribune

Posted by Rick Pearson

SPRINGFIELD --- Ruling Democrats unveiled a revised legislative redistricting map for the state’s 59 Illinois Senate districts and 118 House districts that attempted to satisfy concerns of some Latino and African-American voting rights groups who complained that a map released last week did not strengthen minority districts.
The new version of the map shows five Senate districts with majority Latino voting-age populations. But the percentage of voting-age Latinos in the least-majority district was increased in one district from barely 50 percent to 58 percent. Latino groups had been seeking districts with 60 percent to 65 percent voting-age populations.

The new version also shows 10 House Districts with at least a 50 percent majority of voting age Latinos — down one district from the proposal of last week. But the plan would create five districts with a Latino-age voting majority of 60 percent compared to only four with Latino voting-age concentrations that high.

The new version of the Senate map also would create eight districts with a majority black voting-age population instead of the seven they previously proposed. It would bring up one district from a 48.6 percent African American voting age population to 50.45 percent. The number of House districts with a black voting-age majority was unchanged at 16.