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The Mechanics
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Democrats Sat Nov 27 2010

Next Redistricting Likely To Help Democrats

There's a silver lining in the 2010 election for Illinois Democrats. Even though Republicans won a number of congressional seats here like virtually everywhere else, as Roll Call's Tricia Miller notes, on the state legislative level Democrats did just fine. Because the state legislature is in the hands of the Democrats and Illinois is expected to lose a congressional seat after the next census, Democrats will redistrict the state to their advantage.That means that when redistricting time comes around Illinois is more likely to push out a Republican congressman since it's the state legislature that handles redistricting, not the U.S. House of Representatives.

This is how redistricting is done. Miller reports that state Sen. Kwame Raoul doesn't plan on making redistricting this time around a partisan affair but don't be surprised if the "transparent" thing to do just happens to be the thing that helps Democrats. Miller writes:

Raoul, who represents a strip of Chicago's lakefront, chairs the Senate Redistricting Committee and will likely retain that job in the next legislative session.

"Having won both chambers and the governor's race, we could say, 'Oh well, to hell with transparency' and so forth, but that's not what we're doing," he said. "That's not what we were elected to do."

Efforts were made in 2010 to change Illinois' redistricting process, but they fell short. Both [Democrats] (http://www.senatedem.ilga.gov/index.php/sen-raoul-home/909-citizens-first-amendment-will-provide-significant-redistricting-reform) and [Republicans] (http://www.ilfairmap.com/) offered variations on creating an independent commission to draw the lines, subject to the state Legislature's approval. The concept stalled over disagreements about how to form the commission and who should be on it, among other problems.

Nonetheless, Raoul said his committee would do its best to respect the spirit of that conversation, even as it continues to push for changes to the process in future rounds of redistricting.

I think all this is an underappreciated aspect about elections. A lot of people pay attention to how many seats each party gets but just as important are the outcome of state legislature elections which are also an important factor in deciding how many seats each party gets. So with the 2010 elections, things weren't all bad for Illinois Democrats, just mostly.

 
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