The deadline for a city ward map is Wednesday, and City Council members are expected to deliver a map that fairly represents Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.
But an organization called CHANGE Illinois believes a map should be independently made by community members who reflect the city’s growing population and not by alderpeople who draw lines inside a secret map room. The map they propose is called the People's Map, which gives communities the opportunity to draw their own maps and elect council members of their choosing.
The organization is aiming to get 10 council members to sponsor the map, though it could result in high turnover in the City Council and likely have 17 council members against each other.
“The stakes are very big,” said Madeleine Doubek, executive director of CHANGE Illinois. “This is the foundation for the democracy of the city of Chicago, and the people deserve to have a voice and a vote — and they are not getting it from this council process that we have seen play out here. The People’s Map creates 37 majority minority wards — more than any other [map], and it was the first to create the Asian American majority ward. But beyond that there were real people from the city of Chicago who had a stake and a voice in this process.”
The public wants to be involved in remapping discussions, said Doubek, adding the map-making process has not been transparent.
“The fact that we have not seen a map yet is reprehensible and nothing in the least transparent,” she said. “As Ald. [Gilbert] Villegas said, it’s the worst transparency ever. And that is saying something.”
If 41 alderpeople do not approve of a map before midnight, the final decision could be made by voters for the first time in 30 years via a referendum. Even after a referendum is triggered, a vote of 41 alderpeople could approve a map and avoid asking voters to pick from all of the submitted maps as part of the June 28, 2022, primary election.