For aspiring alderpeople, the next city election presents plenty of opportunity. With a large portion of the City Council set to turn over in 2023, political organizations are lining up candidates to duke it out and stake their claim in Chicago’s wards to help determine the city’s future.
Chaundra Van Dyk
At least 13 Chicago wards are set for new City Council leadership come next year due to an exodus of alderpeople. And while a few of those existing City Council members are leaving their seats to run for higher office, many are saying they’re opting out simply because it’s time to move on.
Civic engagement groups are ramping up efforts to get voters to the polls for the Illinois primaries on June 28. The effort comes as 73 Chicago precincts remain without a designated polling place due to pandemic-related closures.
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.
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.