Barickman: It didn’t have to be this way
As the final federal court hearings over Democrats’ unconstitutional map kick off, Illinois State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) is pointing out that it was the broken promises, sham hearings, and closed-door machinations of the majority party that led to this point. The map, as well as the lawsuit, are the result of Governor J.B. Pritzker and Democrats repeatedly choosing powerful insiders and entrenched politicians over Illinois families.
“It didn’t have to be this way,” said Barickman. “If the governor had kept his promise and actually pushed Democrats to support independent maps, there would be no court case and voters would have better representation in Springfield. Instead, Democrats once again chose political insiders over what’s best for Illinois families.”
The timeline to today’s hearing is littered with broken promises, sham hearings, secret meetings behind closed doors, and the unconstitutional map that was the result.
March 2021: Republican members of the General Assembly gave him that option by introducing legislation that would allow an independent commission, rather than politicians, to draw the map. Gov. Pritzker remained silent as Democrats refused to even grant the legislation a hearing.
Spring 2021: Despite dozens of witness requests for more time and the use of accurate data, Democrats moved forward using flawed ACS data, rather than actual census data, to ensure they could pass a map drawn by entrenched Democratic politicians behind closed doors.
June 2021: A few days later, Gov. Pritzker broke his promise and signed the inaccurate, politician-drawn maps, claiming that they represented the diversity of Illinois and complied with the Voting Rights Act.
June 2021: Following the signing, Illinois Republicans and Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) both filed suit against House Speaker Chris Welch and Senate President Don Harmon for violating the voting rights of the people of Illinois.
August 2021: Official U.S. Census numbers confirmed that the Democrats’ politician-drawn map violated the U.S. Constitution and federal law, as well as comparable provisions of the Illinois Constitution.
August 2021: In an attempt to save their partisan power play, Democrats came back to Springfield to pass a re-do draft of their map.
September 2021: Gov. Pritzker broke his promise a second time and signed the re-do maps.
October 2021: While the legislature was in town to pass a Congressional map in a similar manner, Democrats’ first map was declared unconstitutional in federal court and plaintiffs were asked to submit their own maps in a remedial phase.
December 2021: Final days of court proceedings take place.