The new Senate legislative map shows major shifts in most of the downstate Republican senators’ districts, possibly pitting incumbent against incumbent in the 2012 election.
Every decade, the state undergoes this process so that districts are representative of the population and ethnic changes within that area. Illinois is a unique state, though. Redistricting is done through both the General Assembly and a redistricting commission. Time is given to lawmakers to draw the lines. If they fail to meet the deadline, a back-up commission is used. In this regard, Illinois is one of a few states to enact a hybrid method of redistricting.
The video above features State Sen. David Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) talking about the politics of the process.
The Illinois Statehouse News continues,
Chris Mooney, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois in Springfield, said part of the reason for the changes is population growth in the Chicago suburbs, but the majority of the fresh ink is political gamesmanship.
"Whatever party controls the process, they can manipulate the lines to some extent to give themselves an advantage, and one way to do that is to put two incumbents of the same party together," Mooney said.
Ultimately, what how the lines are drawn can be hugely influential for the next ten years of Illinois politics.