A class at the Columbia University law school has developed a new congressional district map for Illinois that throws Champaign and Vermilion counties into a district with Macon and Sangamon counties.
The new 15th Congressional District would be much more compact than the current map, including just 14 counties that essentially would follow the Interstate 74/Interstate 72 corridor right across central Illinois from Danville to Springfield. It would have a population of 712,813.
The district would include Vermilion, Champaign, Douglas, DeWitt, Piatt, Moultrie, Macon, Christian and Sangamon counties, plus smaller portions of Ford, Iroquois, Macoupin, Montgomery and Shelby counties. Thus it would have the cities of Danville, Champaign, Urbana, Decatur and Springfield.
Under the proposal the 14th Congressional District north of Champaign-Urbana would include most of McLean, Ford, Iroquois and Will counties, and about 376 people in Champaign County.
The 18th District south of Champaign-Urbana would include Edgar, Coles and most of Shelby counties and almost every southern Illinois county down to the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. It appears to include about sparsely populated 30 counties.
The map proposal was drawn by students in a first-of-its-kind class at Columbia Law School.
According to a press release, "DrawCongress.org offers to states the efforts of students who have used state-of-the-art software to come up with new district boundaries that reflect changes in demographics, party affiliation and population shifts.
The maps for Illinois, "are both non-partisan and legally defensible," according to Columbia Professor Nathaniel Persily.
The maps can be seen here ...
The Illinois House and Senate are in the process of taking testimony about state legislative and congressional maps. The maps are expected to be drawn and approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature in the next six weeks.
So far, however, no map has been presented at the numerous public hearings held by state lawmakers in the last 10 days.