Reapportionment Committee chooses to wait for Census data

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic
Henry County courthouse clock

The Ad Hoc Committee for Reapportionment met Thursday June 3. All voting members were in attendance.

Chairman Kippy Breeden brought up recent legislation passed and awaiting the Governor's signature that extends the date for approval of reapportionment maps for Counties to December 31, 2021. The bill also allows the use of American Census Study (ACS) or the decennial Census data which is due to be released in either mid August or September.

Jan May (D) also noted that petitions would be able to start circulating effective January 13, 2022, and the new Illinois primary date is June 28, 2022.

County Clerk Barb Link thought that it would be best that word on the changes get out, in order to get potential candidates and voters aware of the new schedule.

Jan Weber also cautioned that using anything other than the 2020 Census numbers would be disrespecting all the Henry County residents who took the time to fill out and return their Census forms. In some areas, participation was 94%, according to May.

JoAnn Hillman was nominated to fill the position vacated by the death of the former Democrat Party Chairman, and Colona Alderman,  Henry Murphy for purposes of input on the reapportionment issue. Jan Weber will be presented to the full Board June 17, to be  be officially appointed as a voting member.

A review of proposed maps was done. Maps were submitted using either ACS or 2010 Census data. The merits and shortcomings of each proposed map was discussed, including, but not limited to keeping school districts together, imbalances in population, and maps which included both west side and east side townships in the same district.

After considerable discussion, the unanimous decision was made to wait for actual Census numbers. The proposed maps of anywhere from two to five districts will be drawn using ACS data for purposes of comparison. Actual maps will use Census data when presented for ratification by the Board. Proposed maps will be given to Bruce Lang to draw in color for use in the next reapportionment meeting discussion.

The Ad Hoc Reapportionment Committee will meet again July 1, at 3 PM.