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Prof. Justin Levitt's Doug Spencer's Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines

State Summary

Illinois’ congressional lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.  The legislature is also primarily responsible for drawing state legislative lines — but if it fails to pass a plan, authority falls to an eight-member backup commission.  If a majority of those eight backup commissioners cannot agree on a plan, the Supreme Court submits two individuals from different political parties to the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of State will randomly choose one of the two to serve as a tiebreaker on the commission. In the 2000 cycle, the name of the commission’s tiebreaker was selected by pulling a commissioner’s name from a replica of Lincoln’s stovepipe hat.

In the 2010 cycle, the legislature passed congressional plans on May 31, 2011, and state legislative plans on May 27, 2011.

A 2014 ballot initiative attempting to change the redistricting process, and another in 2016, were both rejected by the state courts.  [Hooker v. Ill. State Bd. of Elections, 63 N.E. 3d 824 (Ill. 2016); Clark v. Ill. State Bd. of Elections, No. 2014-CH-07356 (Ill. Cir. Ct., Cook Cnty. June 27, 2014)]  In 2021, the legislature passed a statute adjusting census data for congressional and state legislative districts in order to count incarcerated individuals at their last known residence before incarceration, effective starting 2025.  [Ill. Pub. Act. 101-0652, arts. 2, 99]

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Seats: (projected)

Institution:

Drawn by:

Plan Status:

Party Control:
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The Latest Updates

Jun 18, 2021
Gov. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 825 amending the election code and extending the candidate filing deadline in Illinois from November 29, 2021 to March 14, 2022.
Jun 10, 2021
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund has filed a federal court challenge against the Illinois state legislature redistricting plans.
Jun 9, 2021
Illinois republicans filed a federal court challenge against Illinois state legislature redistricting plans.
Jun 4, 2021
Illinois Governor signed HB 2777 approving new state legislative maps for the Illinois House and Senate.
May 28, 2021
Illinois House and Senate passed HB 2777 approving the state legislative plans (House map; Senate map). The plan will be sent to Governor Pritzker for signing.
May 22, 2021
Illinois released their proposed legislative maps for state Senate and House districts.
Mar 13, 2021
Illinois Senate Redistricting Committee will be hosting three public hearings next week on March 17 (Statewide), March 18 (DuPage County), and March 19 (Northern Illinois)

Institution

Illinois’ congressional lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

Illinois’ legislature is also primarily responsible for drawing state legislative lines.  If the legislature fails to pass a plan, authority falls to an eight-member backup commission, in place since 1980. Each of the four legislative leaders (majority and minority leader in each legislative house) chooses two commissioners apiece: one legislator and one member of the public; at most four may have the same party affiliation.   If a majority of those eight commissioners cannot agree on a plan, the state Supreme Court submits two individuals from different political parties to the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of State will randomly choose one of the two to serve as a tiebreaker on the commission. In the 2000 cycle, the name of the commission’s tiebreaker was selected by pulling a commissioner’s name from a replica of Lincoln’s stovepipe hat. [Ill. Const. art. IV, § 3]

The Illinois Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear challenges to state legislative plans in state court. [Ill. Const. art. IV, § 3]

Timing

Illinois state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines, though candidates must file for congressional primary elections by Mar. 14, 2022. [10 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/7-12(1)]  The legislative session began on Jan. 13, 2021, and runs through the end of the calendar year.

The legislature’s deadline for drawing state legislative lines is June 30, 2021; if the legislature fails to pass a plan by then, the backup commission will be convened. The commission’s first eight members have until August 10, 2021, to produce a plan, whereupon the tiebreaker will be appointed. The final deadline for the nine-member backup commission is Oct. 5, 2021. [Ill. Const. art. IV, § 3(b)]  Candidates must file for state legislative primary elections by Mar. 14, 2022. [10 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/7-12(1)]

Illinois prohibits redrawing state legislative lines mid-decade, before the next Census; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Ill. Const. art. IV, § 3(b); Mooney v. Hutchinson, 50 N.E. 599 (Ill. 1898)]

Public input

Legislative redistricting committees must hold at least one public hearing in each of four distinct geographic regions of the state, in order to receive testimony from the public. [10 Ill. Cons. Stat. § 125/10-5]  The legislature may alter these requirements by statute.

The Illinois Senate Redistricting Committee’s public hearing schedule can be found here.

Criteria

Like all states, Illinois must comply with constitutional equal population requirements.  Starting in 2025, Illinois will also adjust census data for congressional and state legislative districts in order to count incarcerated individuals at their last known residence before incarceration.  [Ill. Pub. Act. 101-0652, arts. 2, 99]

Also like all states, Illinois must abide by the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.  For state legislative districts, state law further directs the redistricting body to create, where legally and pragmatically possible, districts that allow racial or language minority communities to elect — or influence the election of — the candidates of their choice, even if no comparable district would be required by the federal Voting Rights Act.  That requirement was implemented after the last cycle’s redistricting, and has not yet been interpreted by the courts.  [10 Ill. Cons. Stat. §§ 120/5-5]  The legislature may alter these requirements by statute.

For Illinois’ state legislative lines, the state constitution further requires that districts be contiguous and reasonably compact. There are no similar requirements for congressional lines. [Ill. Const. art. IV, § 3(a); People ex rel. Burris v. Ryan, 588 N.E.2d 1023, 1028 (Ill. 1991); Schrage v. State Bd. of Elections, 430 N.E.2d 483 (Ill. 1981)]

2010 cycle

The Illinois legislature passed a congressional plan (SB 1178) on May 31, 2011, which was signed by the Governor on June 24, 2011.

The Illinois legislature passed a state legislative plan (SB 1177) on May 27, 2011, which was signed by the Governor on June 3, 2011.

The congressional plan was challenged in federal court, and the state legislative plan was challenged in federal and state court. Both plans were ultimately upheld. [Cross v. Ill. State Bd. of Elections, No. 113840 (Ill. June 7, 2012); Radogno v. Ill. State Bd. of Elections, 836 F. Supp. 3d 759 (N.D. Ill. 2011), aff’d, 133 S. Ct. 103 (2012); Comm. for a Fair and Balanced Map v. Ill. State Bd. of Elections, 835 F. Supp. 2d 563 (N.D. Ill. 2011); League of Women Voters v. Quinn, No. 1:11-cv-05569, 2011 WL 5143044 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 28, 2011), aff’d, 132 S. Ct. 2430 (2012)]

2000 cycle

The Illinois legislature enacted congressional plans on 5/31/01. It could not agree on a state legislative plan, however, and the process fell to a backup commission. That commission — with its ninth member appointed by drawing a name from a replica of Lincoln’s stovepipe hat — approved a state legislative plan on 9/25/01.

The congressional plan and state legislative plan were both challenged in state court, and the state legislative plan was challenged in federal court. Both plans were ultimately upheld. [Campuzano v. Ill. State Bd. of Elections, 200 F. Supp. 2d 905 (N.D. Ill. 2002); Beaubien v. Ryan, 762 N.E.2d 501 (Ill. 2001); Cole-Randazzo v. Ryan, 762 N.E.2d 485 (Ill. 2001)]

Redistricting Cases in Illinois

Search all Illinois Cases >

Illinois | Federal Trial | State Upper | State Lower
McConchie v. Ill. State Board of Elections
PENDING - federal court challenge to state legislature redistricting plan
Last Updated Jun 28, 2021
Case Number

No. 1:21-cv-03091 (N.D. Ill.)

Cycle 2020
Illinois | Federal Trial | State Upper | State Lower
Contreras v. Ill. State Board of Elections
PENDING - federal court challenge to state legislature redistricting plan
Last Updated Jun 10, 2021
Case Number

No. 1:21-cv-03139 (N.D. Ill.)

Cycle 2020