The new Chicago ward map garnered enough City Council votes to dodge a referendum, but some community organizations say it reflects the same old problems.
Chaundra Van Dyk
Chicago City Council members voted 43 to 7 to approve a new ward map this week. The approval came after a monthslong tug-of-war between the council’s Latino and Black Caucuses over the balance of wards. The approved map has 14 wards with a majority of Latino voters — one short of the 15 wards the Latino Caucus had demanded.
A 5% uptick in the Latino population, a whopping 30% increase in the Asian population, and a 10% decrease in the Black population have translated into factions fighting for wards mapped to maintain racial majorities and all but ensure proportionate racial representation.
Chicago alderpeople are at odds over redrawing the city’s ward map, a procedure that happens every 10 years to account for population changes. The biggest sticking point is the balance of power between Black and Latino Chicagoans.
The final map crafted by the Chicago Ward Advisory Redistricting Commission would increase the number of wards where Latinos make up a majority of residents by one to 14, while reducing the number of wards with a majority of Black voters by three to 15 wards.
It won’t be smoke-filled, but members of the Chicago City Council will head to a backroom at City Hall later this month to start crafting new ward boundaries that could shape Chicago politics for the next decade.
Members of the Chicago City Council are in the early stages of drafting new ward boundaries, but so too are community members hoping to supplant a map drawn by alderpeople. We check in on the drafting process.