Congressional and Legislative
Congressional and legislative maps are enacted by the General Assembly. The Governor can veto the plans.
The General Assembly can override a veto with a three-fifths vote. Democrats currently have veto-proof majorities in both chambers.
Challenges to the maps are litigated in the State Supreme Court.
If the General Assembly fails to pass a legislative plan, responsibility falls to a backup commission. The Illinois Legislative Redistricting Commission is made up of eight members. Four members are appointed by the Speaker and Minority Leader of the Illinois House of Representatives, who each appoint one Representative and one individual who is not a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. Four members are appointed by the President and Minority Leader of the Illinois Senate, each appoint one Senator and one person who is not a member of the Senate. The Secretary of State certifies the new Commission members. The Commission members, by majority vote, select a chairman and vice chairman. No more than 4 may be from the same party.
The Legislative Redistricting Commission is assembled only if the General Assembly of Illinois fails to pass new maps by June 30 of years ending in one. The Commission must be in place by July 10 and submit maps to the Secretary of State by August 10. If maps are not submitted by August 10, a ninth member is added to the Commission. If a ninth member is needed, the Supreme Court of Illinois selects two people of different political parties before September 1. By September 5, the Secretary must publicly select one of the submitted names at random. This person becomes the ninth member. By October 5, the nine-member Commission must send their map plans to the Secretary, who publishes the maps, which become law immediately. Maps are passed by simple majority.
Challenges to the maps are litigated in the State Supreme Court.
Source: Ill. Const. art. IV, § 3(b).
Previous Redistricting Cycles
- Original Plan – SB 1178
- Passed = May 31, 2011 (D-controlled)
- Signed = June 24, 2011
- Litigation History
- Committee for a Fair & Balanced Map v. Ill. State Board of Elections, 835 F.Supp.2d 563 (N.D. Ill. 2011): A coalition of non-profit organizations, members of Congress, and voters challenged the General Assembly’s congressional plan on several grounds, including vote dilution in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, racial gerrymandering in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments, and partisan gerrymandering in violation of the 1st and 14th Amendments. On December 15, 2011, the district court ruled in favor of the defendants and upheld the map, finding that there was no justiciable standard to judge the partisan gerrymandering claims and that the plaintiffs failed to prove the existence of a racial gerrymander or violations of the Voting Rights Act.
- Original Plan – SB 1177
- Passed = May 27, 2011 (D-controlled)
- Signed = June 3, 2011
- Litigation History
- League of Women Voters v. Quinn, No. 1:11-cv-5569 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 28, 2011): Plaintiff organization filed a federal lawsuit challenging the General Assembly’s enacted legislative plans as unconstitutional on the grounds it violated their members’ First Amendment rights of expression. On October 28, 2011, the district court dismissed the lawsuit after finding the plan in no way burdened the exercise of LWV or its members’ First Amendment rights.
- Aff’d, 132 S.Ct. 2430 (2012).
- Radogno v. Ill. State Bd. of Elections, 836 F.Supp.2d 759 (N.D. Ill. 2011): A group of Illinois voters and republican state legislators filed a challenge to the General Assembly’s enacted legislative plans, asserting claims of racial gerrymandering and vote dilution in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. On December 7, 2011, the district court granted summary judgment for the defendants and upheld the plans after finding the plaintiffs failed to sufficiently establish their claims.
- Aff’d, 133 S.Ct. 103 (2012).
- Cross v. Ill. State Bd. of Elections, No. 113840 (Ill. June 7, 2012): Plaintiff attempted to file a redistricting challenge pursuant to the Illinois Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction under the state constitution. On June 7, 2012, the Illinois Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs’ request for leave to file his complaint on the grounds the action was not timely and thus barred.
- Original Plan – HB 2917
- Passed = May 30, 2001 (Split-control)
- Signed = May 31, 2001
- Backup Commission’s Plan (General Assembly failed)
- Adopted = September 25, 2001
- Litigation History
- Cole-Randazzo v. Ryan, 762 N.E.2d 485 (Ill. 2001): A group of registered Illinois voters invoked the Illinois Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to challenge the commission’s adopted legislative plans on the grounds certain districts violated the state’s constitutional compactness requirement. On November 28, 2001, the court ruled in favor of the defendants and upheld the plans, finding that the challenged districts were sufficiently compact.
- Beaubien v. Ryan, 762 N.E.2d 501 (Ill. 2001): Eight different plaintiffs filed actions challenging the commission’s adopted legislative plans on the grounds various districts violated the state’s constitutional compactness requirement, which were all consolidated. On December 27, 2001, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of the defendants and upheld the plans, finding the challenged districts were sufficiently compact.
- Campuzano v. Ill. State Bd. of Elections, 200 F.Supp.2d 905 (N.D. Ill. 2002): Plaintiffs challenged the commission’s adopted legislative plans alleging they violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and that the drafting process violated the 14th Amendment’s guarantees of procedural due process and equal protection. On May 3, 2002, the district court ruled in favor of the defendants and upheld the plans after finding they did not dilute the voting strength of Latino voters or African-American voters.
Ballot Measure Process
Kinds of Ballot Measures
Direct initiatives are permitted to amend the state Constitution. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend both statutes and the Constitution.
There is not a single-subject rule.
Initiative Subject Restrictions
Initiatives may only amend constitutional Article IV, relating to structural and procedural subjects concerning the legislative branch.
The signature requirement for constitutional amendments is 8% of all votes cast for all candidates for governor in the previous gubernatorial election. 4,547,657 people voted for a candidate for governor in the 2018 General Election in Illinois, so 363,813 signatures are required for constitutional amendments.
Initiative petitions must be submitted six months prior to the election in which the petition is to appear on the ballot (May 8, 2022, delayed to May 9, 2022 due to non-business days).
The circulation period for initiative petitions is 18 months.
Ballot Title and Summary
The Ballot Title and Summary are written by the proponent, subject to approval by the Attorney General. Expedited reviews for Titles and Summaries are not permitted.
A fiscal impact statement is not required. Circulators are required to be a citizen of the United States, and at least 18 years of age. One of two events must happen for amendments to be approved: either a majority of those who cast ballots vote for the amendment or three-fifths of ballots cast for or against the amendment vote yes. The General Assembly cannot repeal an amendment unless through a legislatively-initiated ballot measure. Initiatives are permitted on general election ballots, but not on primary, special or odd-year election ballots.
Source: Ill. Const. art. XIV, §3. 5 Ill. Comp. Stat. 20/ (2019); 10 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/ (2019).
In The News
- Federal Court Panel Upholds Democratic-Drawn State Legislative Districts, Chicago Tribune (12/30/21)
- Pritzker Enacts New Congressional Map After Illinois Loses Seat in U.S. House, The Center Square (11/23/21)
- Illinois Dems Embrace Gerrymandering in Fight for US House, AP (10/28/21)
- Federal Panel Tosses Initial Democratic State Legislative Map and Will Consider Alternatives to Revised Plan, Chicago Tribune (10/19/21)
- New Congressional Maps from Illinois Democrats Seek to Extend House Majority, Putting Adam Kinzinger in a Left-Leaning District with Marie Newman, Chicago Tribune (10/15/22)
- Illinois Democrats OK New Legislative Maps over Criticism, AP (8/31/21)
- General Assembly Leaders to Convene Special Session for Potential Legislative Map Changes, The State Journal-Register (8/20/21)
- Illinois Democrats Look to Eliminate GOP House District, AP (8/13/21)
- Lawsuit Over Redistricting Amended, Capitol News Illinois (7/29/21)
- Democratic Leaders Seek to Dismiss Redistricting Lawsuits, Capitol News Illinois (7/20/21)
- Federal 3-Judge Panel to Decide Whether State Redistricting Plan is Constitutional, Capitol News Illinois (7/14/21)
- Elections Update Continues Democrat Control of Redistricting, Republican Says, The Center Square (6/21/21)
- Latino Group Sues to Block Democrat-Drawn Maps in Illinois, AP (6/11/21)
- Republicans File Federal Lawsuit over Pritzker-Enacted Maps, The Center Square (6/9/21)
- Mr. Pritzker Breaks his Promise, Wall Street Journal (6/8/21)
- Pritzker Flips on Map Promise, Signs Democrats’ Version, AP (6/4/21)
- Democratic Maps Fail Compactness Test, The Courier (5/28/21)
- Democrats Unveil Second Legislative Redistricting Effort, but GOP Still not Satisfied, Calling the Maps ‘Dishonest’, Chicago Tribune (5/27/21)
- Democrats Redraw Illinois Supreme Court Districts to Maintain Majority, The Southern Illinoisan (5/25/21)
- Illinois Lawmakers Continue Battle Over Redistricting Process, WREX (5/24/21)
- Illinois Minorities Feel Unseen, Forgotten by New Redistricting Maps, News Channel 20 (5/24/21)
- Newly Proposed Illinois Legislative Maps Already Being Blasted as Inaccurate, Unfair, Daily Herald (5/22/21)
- Illinois Democrats Release Proposed Legislative Maps, AP (5/22/21)
- GOP Leaders Again Call Out House Dems for Redistricting 'Hypocrisy', Daily Herald (5/6/21)
- GOP Cries ‘Flip-Flop’ on Pritzker, Wants Independent Map, AP (4/28/21)
- Census Population Figures Cost Illinois a Congressional Seat, AP (4/26/21)
- Illinois Democrats Ignore Obama on Gerrymandering, WSJ (4/23/21)
- Efforts to Seek Independent Redistricting in Illinois Continue, The Center Square (1/21/21)
- Illinois GOP Pushes for Citizen Commission to Redraw Legislative Maps, The Center Square (1/5/21)
- Madigan's Influence on New Political Maps Unclear, Uncertain, The Center Square (11/28/20)
- Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker Urges Southern Illinoisans to Complete the 2020 Census, WPSD Local 6 (9/24/20)
- State's Top Lawmakers Remind Residents of Census Deadline in Two Weeks, Chicago Sun Times (9/16/20)
- Illinois Low Census Response Puts Federal Dollars at Risk, AP (8/23/20)
- Redistricting Reformers Seek Change to Mapping Process, Capitol News Illinois (8/17/20)
- Census Outreach 'Incredibly Stymied' by COVID-19 Pandemic, Quad-City Times (5/15/20)
- Too late to put ‘fair map’ amendment on Nov. 3 ballot — but never too late for reform, Chicago Sun Times (5/3/20)
- Lawmakers face May deadline on change to redistricting, AP (4/25/20)
- Bipartisan group of lawmakers, advocacy groups push for Illinois fair map amendment, The Center Square (2/13/20)
- Illinois poised to lose rural Congress seat after census, AP (2/9/20)