Midterms use new congressional districts

By Marta Narag and Srikamal Munukutla

In the upcoming November election, Illinois voters are voting with newly drawn congressional maps. 

The population of Illinois decreased by 0.1% from 2010 to 2020, according to the National Census BureauThe shift caused Illinois to lose a congressional district and now has 17 instead of 18. With the census results, the state legislature drew new congressional maps.

“Redistricting is required by the constitution every 10 years for congressional districts. You have to balance the changes in population in order to come up with the right number of members of the House of Representatives,” said Trisha Crowley, president of the League of Women Voters for Champaign County. 

With the census results, the state legislature drew new congressional maps representing roughly the same population size. 

The Democratic-majority legislature changed the boundaries of the 13th District, which contains Champaign and Urbana, to have a voting majority favoring their party. According to Crowley, this practice is known as gerrymandering.

“They try to maximize the likelihood of Democrats winning in these various congressional districts,” Crowley said. 

The 13th District changed from leaning slightly more conservative to leaning more liberal. It’s grouped in the same district as the city of Springfield.

The seat for the 13th District is currently open since the incumbent representative Rodney Davis is running for a different congressional district.

“It makes it particularly impactful, the way students vote … So whatever the student body ends up deciding, whichever way we end up going, it has a higher chance of being ultimately determinative in the election,” said Garrett Forrest, president of Illinois Student Government. 

Voter turnout itself isn’t directly impacted by redistricting. But because this is a midterm election, poll numbers aren’t historically as high. 

“It’s a competitive district; either candidate really has the chance to win,” Forrest said. “I want to emphasize just how important it is that every student vote no matter their political affiliation, because we need to maintain our democracy.”

 

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