Watch now: McLean County’s proposed maps spark mixed feelings from the public | Politics
NORMAL – The five residents who spoke at a public consultation meeting Monday night about proposed district maps for McLean County Council broadly praised the work of the independent committees that drew the maps, but two residents have expressed their concerns.
Three of the speakers currently sit on the McLean County Board of Directors: Vice-Chairman Jim Soeldner (R-District 2), George Wendt (R-District 3) and Chuck Erickson (R-District 10). Another resident signed up to speak, but they did not show up for Monday’s meeting.
Monday’s hearing at Heartland Community College was the last in the county’s redistribution process. The Chairman of the McLean County Board of Directors established the Red, White and Blue Ribbon Committee in May which split into three sub-groups which created three maps.
Patrick Cortesi, who is also the chairman of the McLean County Democrats, and Bloomington resident Jill Blair, who ran as a Democrat for a seat at Illinois State House in 2018, expressed disappointment at the lack of access of the three committees to socio-economic data.
The data would have more accurately shown the racial, economic and other demographics of the county’s residents, Cortesi said.
“In order to honor the Voting Rights Act 1965, in particular section two, we are required not to draw district boundaries in such a way as to inappropriately dilute the voting power of minorities. If committees are unable to see or use this data, how can we be sure that we are in compliance with this law? Said Cortési.
Blair said it was “a little disturbing” that committee members were asked to disregard demographics when setting up maps.
“I hope that before the maps are finalized we can draw more attention to maintaining like-minded communities and ensuring that vulnerable populations have a voice on the county board,” said Blair. .
The two also expressed concerns about some districts cutting township boundaries, as with all proposed maps cutting Heyworth. Most of the border between Districts 2 and 3 on each proposed map conforms to US Route 51, which surrounds the west side of Heyworth.
Chris Spanos, McLean County’s first deputy district attorney, began Monday’s hearing by noting the four requirements for preparing a new district map. One requirement is to avoid as much as possible cutting off municipalities, townships or constituencies.
“These four requirements are listed in order and they start with compactness, then they go to the continuity or contiguous districts, which means they have to touch each other in each place, and then it goes to the cut of municipalities or of townships only if necessary and as far as possible to maintain the population. equalization, ”Spanos said.
Each of the 10 districts of the three maps offered contains a Bloomington or Normal representation. The estimated populations of all proposed districts are within a few hundred of each other.
The red, white and blue committees were headed by three retired judges from the 11th judicial circuit and made up of 21 other members of the community.
The sub-groups met in stand-up meetings for approximately 30 minutes to discuss public comments. The public comment hearing was adjourned immediately after the 30 minutes.
The Red and Blue group will meet once again to consider any changes to the maps on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.
The county must produce new maps every 10 years to reflect new census data.
McLean County Board members will vote to accept one of the three cards at its November 16 meeting and it will be implemented for next year’s election cycle.
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Contact Kade Heather at 309-820-3256. Follow him on Twitter: @kadeheather