Black Illinois Dems to Defend New Voting Districts From GOP Attack

September 12, 2011  |  

By Alexis Garrett Stodghill

The GOP is gearing up to fight the enactment of a new map that redraws state assembly voting districts in Illinois. Republicans there, which are in a minority in the legislature, have filed a law suit questioning the new map that was created in response to demographic shifts revealed by the U.S. Census. The updated map seeks to preserve an accurate representation of the state’s communities, and has been approved by Illinois’ governor and legislative body. But because Republican state representatives are in the minority, the party has had little input into its boundaries.

The GOP is seeking to overturn the approved map in the hopes of gaining better political footing, in a move that has inspired a coalition of African-American groups to file a motion defending the document. The Chicago Tribune reports:

A coalition of African-American civil rights groups is seeking to join Illinois Democrats in defending a newly drawn legislative district map that Republicans are challenging in federal court.

In a request to a special three-judge federal panel considering the GOP lawsuit, the organization African Americans for Legislative Redistricting asks to be added as a defendant because its members helped Democrats craft new boundary lines for the state’s 59 Senate districts and 118 House districts.

The organization is made up of the Chicago Urban League, the Rainbow Push Coalition founded by Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., the Woodlawn Community Development Corp. led by Rev. Leon Finney and the Cook County Bar Association, an African-American lawyers’ organization.

The coalition said it offered testimony to legislative committees, consulted with groups that focused on minority rights relating to new boundary lines and created its own redistricting plan that was submitted to the General Assembly.

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