City Council Redistricting Updates

Redistricting Map.jpeg

December 17, 2021

The Committee on Committees and Rules will host a series of public hearings on the City Council's redistricting process in January. The hearings are scheduled for:

  • Thursday, January 6, at 10 am

  • Tuesday, January 11, at 1 pm

  • Thursday, January 14, at 10 am

  • Friday, January 21, at 10 am
     

Residents may submit written feedback ahead of a public hearing. Written feedback should be submitted via email to committeeoncommitteesandrules@cityofchicago.org. Specific deadlines for public comment will be detailed on the notices for the meetings, which are available to view on the City's Legistar website. 

Additionally, residents can sign up to speak during the public comment period at a hearing. To sign up for the public comment period, individuals should call 312-744-6800 and leave a voice message with their name and telephone number. Requests for public comments are accepted from 12:01 am the Monday before the scheduled meeting until 8 am on the day before the scheduled meeting. Anyone who wants to participate in the public comment period must be available at 10 am on the day of the meeting and have access to a touch-tone telephone. More information on how to sign up for public comments for a committee meeting is available on the City Clerk's website.

Finally, you can stream the public hearing on the City Clerk's website at chicityclerk.com.

December 6, 2021

On Wednesday, December 1, Chairman Michele Harris of the Committee on Committee and Rules introduced a proposed ward map, just meeting the December 1 deadline to introduce an ordinance. 

The map(s) in question:

The map introduced by Chairman Harris is the product of 36 members of the City Council who signed on to the Committee's remapping process, which is the same process that has been used in previous redistricting processes. The proposed map includes 16 Black wards (decreasing by 2), 14 Latinx wards (increasing by 1), 15 white wards, 4 plurality wards, and 1 Asian ward (for the first time ever). 

In October, the Latino Caucus unveiled their own proposed map, which includes 15 Latinx wards (increasing by 2), 16 Black wards (decreasing by 2), 15 white wards, 3 plurality wards, and 1 Asian ward (for the first time ever).

Another map that has been in discussion is the Peoples Map. The Peoples Map is an effort that was spearheaded by Change Illinois to have Chicagoans draw maps in an effort to take some of the politics out of the process. The coalition formed a commission and held public meetings to gain input and feedback on how the new map should be drawn.

So what now?

While the map was introduced this week, no vote was taken. Chairman Harris has called for additional public hearings on the proposed map in the coming weeks and months to solicit further feedback from City Council and the public. Public hearings will begin next week in the Committee on Rules, recess through the holidays, then resume in January. 

City Council has up until 40 days before the primary election in June to ratify a new ward boundary map. If City Council fails to pass a map, any 10 members of the City Council may file a petition to have their proposed map included as a ballot referendum. That petition must also be filed at least 40 days before the primary in June. 

Between now and the primary in June, 10 aldermen could file a petition with the Office of the City Clerk calling for a referendum.  On Thursday, the Latino Caucus filed a petition with City Clerk Anna Valencia to have the new boundaries determined by ballot referendum during the Primary Election in June. However, if 41 aldermen vote on a map before the primary, it would nullify the referendum, and the new map would be codified.

If City Council votes on the map, it would need at least 41 votes to ensure that it doesn't go to a ballot referendum (the map only requires  26 votes to pass and 34 votes to avoid a veto by the mayor). Should less than 41 aldermen vote to approve the map, 10 aldermen could file a petition with the Office of the City Clerk to have the item go before voters as a ballot referendum. They would be required to file the petition within 15 days of the passage of a map in accordance with state statute, and they cannot also vote in favor of the map during the City Council meeting. 

How can I submit feedback?

The map introduced by Chairman Harris is available to review by clicking here. The Committee on Committees and Rules has also created a website, where the map is available to review. Residents may use a redistricting tool housed on the website to create and submit their own ward maps for consideration. 

Residents may submit written feedback ahead of a public hearing. Written feedback should be submitted via email to committeeoncommitteesandrules@cityofchicago.org. Specific deadlines for public comment will be detailed on the notices for the meetings, which are available to view on the City's Legistar website

Finally, residents can sign up to speak during the public comment period at a hearing. To sign up for the public comment period, individuals should call 312-744-6800 and leave a voice message with their name and telephone number. Requests for public comments are accepted from 12:01 am the Monday before the scheduled meeting until 8 am on the day before the scheduled meeting. Anyone who wants to participate in the public comment period must be available at 10 am on the day of the meeting and have access to a touch-tone telephone. More information on how to sign up for public comments for a committee meeting is available on the City Clerk's website.

When are the next hearings?

Per conversations with the Committee on Rules, there will be two hearings next week.

  • Tuesday, December 7, at 3 pm; and

  • Friday, December 10, at 1 pm. 

Written public comments can be submitted to Michelle.Evans@cityofchicago.org until 10 am the day before each hearing. Official notices of the public hearing containing information on how to submit written comments are available on the City's Legistar website.

The future of remapping:

One of the frequent comments heard throughout this process was that it lacked transparency. While the Peoples Map solved the most significant issue of Chicago's remapping process by bringing more participation and transparency to the process, the coalition failed to include the input of alderpeople in guiding the process. Alderpeople have a unique lens into their wards that go beyond politics.  Alderpeople have historical context for communities and their different needs, they're aware of infrastructure and development projects in the pipeline, and they have connections to city services.

The redistricting process has been the most collaborative process that City Council has undertaken this term, and a part of what guided that process was the unique lens that alderpeople have into their communities. The solution to creating better processes and more transparency around redistricting would be a marriage of the two. The redistricting process has been a learning experience; I will take the feedback and what I learned to work with the Committee on Committee and Rules to improve the process and make it more participatory and transparent for the public.