WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Illinois Democrats Respond to GOP Lawsuit

Feb 23, 2012

Democrats are telling the Illinois Supreme Court that Republican attempts to toss the legislative map are too little, too late.

In documents made public Thursday, February 23, the Democrats said the case was filed too close to next month's primary  election.

There have only been five new maps since 1970 so it's a small sample  size. But most of those cases were filed within two weeks of the new maps becoming law.

Republican Party leaders were unsuccessful in a federal case filed last year, and they waited until this month -- just six weeks before the  primaries -- to ask for help from the Illinois Supreme Court on the state legislative maps.

Republicans say the new borders unfairly help Democrats. The also contend some of the  districts have such “bizarre” shapes they violate the Illinois  Constitution.

Democratic lawyers say none of that trumps the case's “inexcusable tardiness.”  Democrats say local governments already spent millions preparing for the election.  In addition, candidates have been campaigning in new districts for months and some voters have already cast absentee ballots.

In  a written statement, Republicans said they're aware of the “hardship” caused by the timing of their case. They said the Supreme Court could change the map for the 2014 elections.

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio