(The Center Square) – The block-level data meant to be used by state legislatures to draw new political boundaries following the 2020 Census won’t be released until this summer, and some warn of lawsuits if different data is used to craft new maps.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker wouldn’t say Wednesday if he would sign a map redrawing the state’s political boundaries if it’s based on incomplete or inaccurate data.
Statehouse Democrats are drawing the new boundaries following the decennial Census, but the final numbers are not yet available, and won’t be available until sometime this summer.
After it was revealed Democrats are working on maps behind closed doors, House Majority Leader Greg Harris last week said they’re compiling all the data.
“We’re looking at all the information that has been brought forth in the public hearings just like all the other three caucasus are, each of them evaluating what the differences in our populations might look like,” Harris said.
Some have raised concerns over the use of American Community Survey data which is not accurate at the block level. Pritzker was asked Wednesday if he’d sign legislative maps based on incomplete or inaccurate data.
“I know that that’s still being talked about and worked on, and there is a constitutional requirement that there is a map that passes before June 30 and I know the legislature is working hard to get that done,” Pritzker said.
Republicans, like state Rep. Ryan Spain, are critical of Democrats driving the process with inaccurate data. Spain, R-Peoria, says there’s still time before the final constitutional date of Oct. 5 to get an accurate map.
“There is no reason now to use a mystery map that emanates from a dark clouded room from across the street and that we know will be fundamentally flawed,” Spain said during a news conference outside the governor’s office in Springfield.
At the same news conference, state Sen. Jason Barickman said Republicans aren’t drawing any maps at the moment because they don’t have all the data. He said there could be lawsuits raised about the use of American Community Survey data.
“The stakeholders, again, who’ve testified have importantly noted I think they're preparing lawsuits and they’re preparing them based on potential constitutional violations that can exist from using bad data,” Barickman said.
Republicans expect Democrats to release their draft maps sometime in the next few weeks.
Democrats say they’re crafting maps to meet a June 30 deadline to pass to the governor. The final date for a map to be resolved is Oct. 5.