Geenius at Wrok Attempts to Redistrict Illinois

So, on the one hand, I love fairness and justice and support the Voting Rights Act.

On the other hand, I hate stupid gerrymandering and the jiggering of districts to try to make them “safe.” For either party. (I mean, really, it’s fun to pretend to be Tom DeLay for a while . . . but only on Halloween.)

So I decided to use Dave’s Redistricting App to try my hand at redistricting Illinois. Fo’ realz. As in, I wanted to create a map that (a) could actually be adopted, (b) wouldn’t make an outsider gape in horror and (c) within those parameters, does all the things a good liberal would like it to do. Unlike other posters here, I’m not trying to optimize for Democratic interests — I’m trying to optimize for the interests of everyone in the state. A state that happens to contain a lot of Democrats.

One problem, though, is that I don’t know where to find the district-by-district voting data that would tell me which of my districts are solid Democratic, solid Republican or leaners. I can make educated guesses, but I don’t know for sure. This is one of the things I’m hoping you folks will help me with.


Methodology and more maps below the jump.

I began my mapmaking process without reference to existing districts. Outside Chicagoland, I formed districts around Census-recognized metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas. For instance, in my map, IL-15 began as the Peoria MSA. As I saw where districts were forming, and knowing how many districts I ultimately had to create, I made the Springfield MSA part of IL-15 as well, then joined them by adding the counties in between. To my mind, metropolitan areas are “communities of interest,” and stunts like splitting Bloomington in half to dilute its vote burn my ass. (That being said, a large enough city may certainly contain more than one community of interest, but I’ll come to that later.)

Within Chicagoland, I started off with locally recognized super-communities: North Side, Northwest Side, West Side, etc. Because of the need to create majority-minority districts, I drew district lines along sharp ethnic boundaries (which in any case are inseparable from people’s notions of what neighborhoods belong to which “side”). None of these districts was large enough to be contained within the city, so I extended them outward into Cook County in ways that (I hoped) wouldn’t dilute their composition too much. Particularly in western Cook County, this took some jiggering.

As much as possible, I strove to keep these areas intact and my district boundaries in close conformity to county boundaries. Where I couldn’t go by counties, I tried to go by townships. I violated the convexity principle only where necessary to achieve population balance in a district, and I avoided “stringy” districts entirely. I can’t stand those things.

All districts deviate less than 1 percent from equal population share (712,813).

Enough talk. Maps!


Closeup on Chicagoland.


Central and southern Chicago.

IL-01 (South Side Chicago, Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn): 712,314, 62% black, 25% white, 10.3% Latino

IL-02 (Southwest Side Chicago, Burbank, Lemont): 712,295, 56.9% Latino, 31.4% white, 6% black

IL-03 (South Loop, West Side Chicago, Oak Park, La Grange, Burr Ridge, Argonne): 715,690, 41% white, 38.2% black, 14.1% Latino, 5.3% Asian

IL-01 was the easiest to draw. IL-02 was easy to draw in the city and inner suburbs, but became tricker the further out I had to go. Its shape comes in part from southward pressure from IL-03, which was a lot more difficult. The West Side has really emptied out in the last decade, and it was a challenge to include enough African American residents, even reaching out into the majority-black suburbs. I tried to make sure the district comprised the more progressive western suburbs.


Northern Chicago.

IL-04 (Northwest Side Chicago, Bensenville, Addison): 714,664, 49.6% white, 40.8% Latino, 5.4% Asian

IL-05 (North Side Chicago, North Shore): 715,394, 67.7% white, 10.8% Latino, 10.1% Asian, 9.3% black

I wish I could have stretched IL-04 all the way out to Elgin, but it wasn’t to be; any direction I try to expand it in just dilutes the Latino vote further. This seems to be as good as it gets. To compensate, it includes the Albany Park neighborhood, which is home to a large population of immigrants of various ethnicities, who presumably will share certain interests with the Latino community. IL-05 originally included Skokie and Lincolnwood, but then I decided to give those to IL-07 (to give the northwest suburban district more Democrats) and drown wealthy Wilmette, Kenilworth and Winnetka in a sea of lakefront liberals. Ha! (And you can’t say it’s not a community of interest, because if there’s one thing true North Shore residents agree on, it’s that if it’s inland, it’s not the North Shore! If cliquish identity protection doesn’t indicate a community of interest, what does?)


Northern Chicagoland.

IL-07 (Skokie, Northwest Cook): 716,103, 74.2% white, 13.2% Asian, 9.5% Latino

IL-08 (Lake): 710,303, 69.3% white, 16.8% Latino, 6.3% black, 6.2% Asian

IL-09 (McHenry, Elgin, Schaumburg): 710,672, 71.4% white, 16.8% Latino, 7.9% Asian

The northwest suburbs are clearly a community of interest and belong together, though I tried to give the sprawliest parts of Outer Sprawlville to IL-09. Lake County was so close to the necessary population size all by itself that it made sense to make it a single district, with just enough of McHenry County to finish the job.


DuPage County.

IL-10 (DuPage, Geneva-St. Charles): 713,223, 76.3% white, 9.9% Latino, 9.1% Asian

This district’s backbone is the Metra Union Pacific West Line (there’s a bright-line distinction in my mind between streetcar suburbia and sprawl suburbia). Naperville had to be cut out because otherwise the population would just be too darn big, and because I think Napervillians need to be cognizant of the fact that there wouldn’t be a Naperville without Aurora.


Western and Southern Chicagoland.

IL-06 (South Cook, University Park): 712,794, 52.2% black, 36.5% white, 8.9% Latino

IL-11 (Kane, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Oswego): 713,266, 66.5% white, 18% Latino, 7.3% Asian, 7.2% black

IL-12 (Will, Kankakee): 715,230, 77.6% white, 11.3% Latino, 8.2% black

Unfortunately, Orland Hills and Tinley Park are just too populous and too white to include them in IL-06, which is why I violate county borders here to exclude them and include University Park. IL-11 and IL-12 practically drew themselves once the other Chicagoland districts were in place — except for Grundy County, where IL-12 meets IL-14 and even stepping down to township boundaries made it hard to find the right balance. My apologies to Morris. Aurora and Naperville will have to find some way to live together in peace and harmony.


Northwest Illinois.

IL-13 (Rockford, DeKalb, Northwest Illinois): 710,857, 82.7% white, 8.3% Latino, 6.4% black

This is the district I reside in at the moment, and it gives me pleasure to take the McHenry County exurbs away from Don Manzullo. Tool.


Central Illinois.

IL-14 (Quad Cities, Ottawa/La Salle, Western Illinois): 713,441, 89.5% white

IL-15 (Peoria, Springfield, Central Illinois): 707,857, 87.9% white, 7.6% black

IL-16 (Champaign, Bloomington, Decatur, Eastern Illinois): 708,620, 82.8% white, 8.4% black

Eggheads unite! No more shall Champaign and Bloomington be kept apart! (And no more shall one side of Bloomington be kept apart from the other!) Peoria and Springfield grew together organically, and IL-14, which seemed to be too underpopulated no matter what I tried, just sort of seeped into what was left between the other districts I drew, which is how it ended up including so much of the I-80 corridor.


Southern Illinois.

IL-17 (St. Louis MSA): 711,447, 82.1% white, 13.6% black

IL-18 (Southern Illinois): 716,642, 91.6% white, 5% black

I do have some concern about whether East St. Louis will be outshouted by exurban Tea Partiers, but without any voting data to go by, I have no basis for splitting up the Illinois portion of the St. Louis MSA. The highest-numbered district, in my scheme as in the current one, gets everything that’s left.

OK, so . . . does my districting scheme fail to maximize Democratic votes? Absolutely, yes, if maximizing Democratic votes means doing what silver spring did. But I’m not looking to maximize Democratic votes per se, but rather to let that voice come out where it’s naturally strong. If I have any concern on this score, it’s whether the lines I’ve drawn have accidentally amplified the Republican voice. That I wouldn’t want to do. My goal is a map that’s fair to everyone, yet reflects the reality of a majority-Democratic state.

So here’s what I’m asking for:

– Analysis of the likely partisan leanings of each of my districts, since I don’t have the voter data and don’t know where to get it, but obviously many of you do. (Envy! Envy!)

– Observations of where I’ve accidentally undermined my own goals (for instance, if I’ve actually violated the VRA somewhere).

– Suggestions of how I might improve my map without turning it ugly (and I think you know what I mean by “ugly”). My ultimate goal is a map that can be submitted to the state redistricting committee as the serious product of a concerned and involved citizen. Which I’m pretty sure will fall on deaf ears, but I still intend to try.

– Whether there’s any sufficiently large (let’s say, > 70,000 residents) community of interest somewhere that’s so much at odds with the rest of its surroundings that it needs to be part of a different district, and whether there’s any appropriate district near enough to which it could feasibly be joined.

62 thoughts on “Geenius at Wrok Attempts to Redistrict Illinois”

  1. But let me thank you for trying to make a map from a different perspective–neither partisan-oriented nor entirely naively visual/aesthetic-oriented.

  2. Taking under advisement some of the information above, combined with looking at county-by-county results for 2004 and 2008 in Wikipedia:


    New downstate districts IL-14 through IL-18.


    Close-up of IL-16.

    Any better?

  3. I appreciate the detailed analysis and the well-thought-out maps but this is just too unfair to minorities. You went from 3 black-majority districts to 2 black-majority and one black-influence district (which is plurality white). Worse still, your IL-03 draws together Lipinski and Davis, I believe. Davis clearly isn’t wedded to his job (as the toying with Cook County Board President shows) and Lipinski would have the machine behind him. Hence there’s a good chance Lipinski would wind up representing the district.

    The Hispanic community would also be screwed over in this map, I think. The current IL-04 is ugly, but it assures that Hispanics are properly represented. Your IL-02 drops the Hispanic % considerably (is that total population or 18+, btw?) and most of those Hispanics are Mexicans, who may not be citizens, so the % of the electorate which is Hispanic could very well be under 50%. Although your IL-04 contains lots of Puerto Ricans (who are citizens), it is nearly majority white. Albany Park is mostly Koreans and Middle Easterners AFAIK, and wouldn’t necessarily help in the representation of Latino interests.

    While some of your districts are quite pleasing aesthetically (especially IL-08), as others have said I don’t think we should screw ourselves by not gerrymandering, and if we’re going to not gerrymander we should at least maximize minority representation.

  4. CDs 1-6 would be safe for them, as would 17 with Costello staying in the seat, but the Republicans would have a good shot at winning every other district. All of the other districts with the possible exception of 7 would have voted for Bush in 2004.

  5. For instance, how did you figure that IL-15 and IL-16, say, would be majority-R? Not challenging, just inquiring.

  6. Look again at jsramek’s recent diary. Do you see how his IL-12 takes in all of the urban areas of your IL-15 and IL-16? And how that’s a 52% Kerry district? If you break that district in half, like you do, and combine those halves the surrounding rural hinterland, you end up with two Republican districts.

    To put that all another way, the mid-sized cities in central Illinois aren’t all that Democratic to start with. Once you throw in their hinterlands, you drown them out really quick.

  7. IL-14 is about 52% Bush, up from the existing district’s 48%. It’s possible a Democrat could win here, but it’s harder than before.

    IL-15 is about 57% Bush and IL-16 is about 56% Bush. They’re slightly less Republican, but still pretty safe.

    IL-13 is slightly better; it was 55% Bush, now about 53% Bush. Still Republican-leaning, though.

    IL-12, formerly IL-11, is about 53% Bush, no change there.

    IL-08, formerly IL-10, goes from 47% Bush to about 50-51% Bush. Democrats have had a lot of trouble trying to win this seat as a Kerry district, it’d be even more difficult now.

    I couldn’t tell you the numbers for IL-07, but it includes all of Palatine, a Republican-heavy suburb. Currently it’s split between IL-08 and IL-10. IL-11, formerly IL-14, might actually be slightly better for the Dems. IL-10, formerly IL-06 or IL-13, would be pretty safe for the Republicans.

    I get that you’re going for a nonpartisan approach, but this would seriously screw the Democrats over.

  8. I could never in good conscience draw a district like that.

    So if you can’t get the Democrats from those cities without excluding everything else around them, where do you get them from?

  9. Photobucket

    I tried to draw a clean looking 15th, that links all the cities which you think should be able to elect a Democrat in this part of the state.  Perhaps they can if a good candidate runs, but the Republicans have a good congressman in Tim Johnson, who is from Urbana.  And they have a seat that Bush carried convincingly in 2004 although Obama carried it nicely in 2008.  But then again, what didn’t Obama carry nicely in Illinois?

    2008: 168,655 Obama – 142,877 McCain (54.13% Obama of two-party vote)

    2004: 140,436 Kerry – 165,932 Bush (45.84% Kerry of two-party vote)

    You could get a bit uglier and go up to Peoria, but if you do that you start drawing a thin-tendril partisan gerrymander.  Illinois by regions is for the most part a natural GOP gerrymander (the one exception being a Rock Island to Peoria seat which is a community of interest seat too: John Deere and Catapillar!  If that seat got drawn, and nothing else, Schock and/or Schilling

    would be screwed.  Alternatively you cut out most of Rockford and connect it through some of Stephenson County to get to Rock Island.  

    Besides the 17th, the only other district that can be held Democratic while looking reasonably shaped is the 12th, so long as you cut Madison roughly as it is done now and stretch it down to parts of Southern Illinois that are still Democratic like my home town of Carbondale, IL.

    The only way that geographic-based districting might work for the Democrats is if we went to multi-member districts.  Otherwise, given how Democrats are so concentrated in cities, unless you unpack them, or find creative ways of connecting islands of Democratic votes surrounded by seas of GOP voters in the farm areas, you end up with a GOP gerrymander whether you intend to or not.

    But welcome to SSP!

  10. Let this be a lesson to you: districts that “look nice” are often unfair from a partisan perspective.  

  11. IL-07: It does include all of Palatine, but it also includes all of Skokie, Lincolnwood and Mount Prospect. Not enough?

    IL-08: Is there any adjacent portion of McHenry County that would add Democrats? I have a feeling that it leaned against Bush before only because it included Wilmette, which is more Democratic than its neighbors to the north, and I don’t want to put every North Shore suburb from Wilmette to Lake Forest in one district.

    IL-10: Safe R is a given for DuPage. I figured I’d take the most hard-core parts and keep them out of other districts.

    IL-13: Not sure how to make this one any more Democratic. Can’t reach into the Quad Cities without giving up a lot of population somewhere else — all of DeKalb County and then some.

    IL-14: It’s that damn I-80 corridor, isn’t it? But I didn’t want to give that to IL-15 or IL-16.

    IL-15/16: Which of the cities in that district are most D-leaning and which are the most R-leaning?

    To help me out in my next pass, where are the non-obvious concentrations of Democrats outside Chicago?

  12. I don’t know Cook well enough to tell you how IL-07 voted. McHenry is pretty universally Republican, unfortunately.

    For the downstate districts, pretty much all the Democrat-friendly places are going to be the cities. Decatur, Champaign-Urbana, Springfield, Peoria, East St. Louis, Rockford, etc. The problem is they’re so spread out.

  13. Concentrations of Democrats outside Chicago…

    Winnebago is 50/50 most years, Rockford needs to be cut though because the eastern outskirts of the city around the Boone County border are very, very Republican (even in 2008).

    Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Carroll weren’t terrible in 2004 although Bush still carried all 3.  Whitehead is a Democratic county, Henry is 50/50, as is Bureau and Lasalle.  Rock Island and its surrounding counties are reasonably Democratic provided you could get the unionized labor out to vote.  Peoria is also reasonably Democratic.

    When you get to the middle part of the state, you start running out of good territory.  Springfield believe it or not voted for Bush in 2004, ditto with Bloomington and Normal.  Even in 2008, Obama only carried Bloomington about 17k to 15k and only Normal by about 11k to 9k.  The rest of McLean County is like its neighbors Iroquois and Ford Counties, it is deep, deep red.  Champaign and Danville suffer from the same problems.  Champaign-Urbana is very deep blue, to the point that the county as a whole usually ends up in the Democratic column for president every 4 years.  But look closely.  Every township other than Urbana or Champaign votes deeply Republican, sometimes by 65-35 or 70-30 margins.  Same thing goes for Vermillion.

    Macon is at best 50/50, what you do there is scoop out Decatur and skim off the really Republican areas north and south of it.  

    When you get to Southern Illinois, most of it has left its ancestral dixicrat roots behind but there are still some good pockets here and there.  St. Clair and Madison usually end up in the Democratic column for anything because of Alton, East St. Louis, and Belleville.  Then you have Jackson County (home of SIUC, where I teach), and some scattered Democrats here and there.  

    A good place to get started is to go to the State Board of Elections website and look up elections statistics.  Alternatively, Roguemapper is working on getting Obama data entered into the redistricting application.

  14. If this is considered good for Democrats outside the city, no wonder downstate is a lost cause.

  15. Downstate is not a lost cause because the Democrats in Springfield (wisely and rightly) will have no compunction about gerrymandering.

  16. Plus, Stephenson is not good but Freeport is…. Jo Daviess and Carroll are less red than Ogle or Lee so if you have to find extra population for the 17th, I would go there than some other places.  Sometimes, good gerrymandering is about swapping less-GOP areas in for even more atrocious areas.

  17. more easily available? Those would be perfectly serviceable to work with in Dave’s App. Arguably, they’d be even better than 2008.

  18. The voting districts on Dave’s App are are those supplied by the Census Bureau and he does not want to change them. Whatever the case, I’ve been able to reconcile them everywhere except for Hickory Point Township in Macon County (north of Decatur), and that’s mainly because I cannot find a map. I’ve left them out for the moment, and I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it (might require a lengthy phone call).

  19. FWIW, I found a map of Macon County so I’ve basically figured out the Hickory Point precincts. Not perfectly, granted, because two of the election precincts overlap three of the voting districts, but well enough.

    That means for downstate I just need to enter the Peoria precincts and figure out some of the St Clair precincts (the latter will be a challenge..)

    Then I’m just waiting on the counties I listed, minus Alexander (which I’ve now received) and plus White (which I realized they sent me only partial data not including the parts in the 15th district).

    Hopefully my mailbox will be full today!

  20. 2004 Kerry vs. Bush: about right regarding generic Democratic performance in the state as a whole, but misses a bit of the demographic changes that have occurred in the Collar Counties since then.  (FWIW, though, not all that much when compared to 2010 results).  So if I can come up with a suburban district that voted 51-52% Kerry (and 61-63% Obama), that seems to me to be a good enough seat that I would count on for flipping.  In this assumption, of course, there are always Mark Kirks who can stubbornly hold down IL-10 (which voted 53% Kerry) election cycle after election cycle.  I think the GOP is running out of such candidates.

    2008 Obama vs. McCain is grossly unreliable north of I-80, where the swings between 2004 and 2008 range between 10-15 points (McHenry in particularly needs to be ignored).  South of Springfield, you run into a slightly different issue in that Obama gained less than he did nationally between the two elections.  

    2010 congressional: I am using this to draw the Chicago 7 districts out.  This will result in a more conservative map than what some people have been drawing, but one I think is ultimately closer to the one that will get drawn.  For example, I doubt that the IL-9 will be altered all that much: Jan only got 61% last fall and I doubt she wants to have a much closer election than that.  Even if 2010 was an aberration, try telling that to members of Congress who ran much closer elections than they have ever experienced in their careers.

    So, a benchmark figure for me before I do anything else is to ensure that 7 Chicago seats voted 60% Democratic last fall in the congressional ballot.  That still then allows you to play creatively with the burbs and create 3 Kerry seats (call them the 10th, the 14th for a Foster comeback, and probably a new 6th/13th centered in the southern Dupage/northern Will area that allows for John Atkinson to not primary Lipinski and instead have a good seat to run in).  It would mean giving up on the 8th completely (Melissa Bean isn’t running though so we should give up on it – we have no bench) and smashing the 8th together with really GOP areas of the 6th in a super-GOP vote sink.  

  21. Ajusted Obama numbers are the most useful. I tried a variety of methods to find a good adjustment using 2010 figures and none of them work in my view. The main problems are that third party or independent candidates got an unusually high percentage of the vote (6% & 7% respectively for senator and governor) and regional distortions based on two in-state candidates with variable appeal across the state for reasons peculiar to them.

    Of all the methods I’ve tried, the one that I find to be most useful is using the Obama figures adjusted by the Kerry/Obama differential by county.

  22. Personally, I would just take the average of the two party vote for 2010 across all races. The assumption that 3rd party votes would split evenly is crude, but usually not far wrong.

    I worry that Dave isn’t going to want to put up “adjusted” 2008 numbers, and lots of otherwise informed people will assume more Democratic strength than there exists in reality.  

  23. because I’m not sure where to get more Democrats from. I tried stretching a long arm out to Elgin, but the result was a little bit abominable.

  24. But this district would still have voted for Bush in 2004.  Eyeballing it I would guess about 53-54% Bush in 2004 but about 55% Obama in 2008.

  25. No Democratic candidate in the history of presidential elections in Illinois (save perhaps FDR and LBJ) ever got 61% of the vote before.  Obama’s 61%-36% McCain margin was an exaggerated home-town hero vote.  It only applies to Obama personally – this is evidenced by the fact that Illinois had one of the largest swings away from the Democrats in 2010 (resulting in 5 seats being lost a state with just a 19 seat delegation).  Only Ohio had a larger proportionate swing I believe in its delegation.

  26. You create a 17th that voted a bit higher for Kerry than it does now by giving it Rockford.  Alternatively, if Springfield Democrats get really skiddish, they might need Rockford for the 14th, in which case the 17th goes to Peoria for the Democrats.  So, minimally, a 12-6 map I would think is doable in a risk-averse gerrymander.  You get to 13 by then drawing the new Downstate cities district that Roguemapper, myself, and others have been proposing.  It needs Peoria, however, to guarantee it voted for Kerry in 2004; otherwise, you end up no matter how many tries I have at it, drawing a Bush/Obama swing district.  That would not be a “13-5” in my mind; it would be a “12-5-1” map.  I don’t think that is tolerable given how much ground we have to make up to recapture the House.  That being said, a 14-4 is not possible unless the Chicago 7 agree to radically altered districts than what they currently have.  I don’t foresee that happening; thus I stand by my original argument that a 13-5 is possible although not necessary probable – a 12-6 is probably the best bet but too timid in my view.

  27. Multiple cycles would be optimal, and if anyone can collect the data statewide then I’m all for it – whether Kerry 2004 or 2010 races.

    As for me, it’s been a huge undertaking to put together the 2008 presidential data alone so that’ll have to do. LOL For one thing, the Illinois maps are due at the end of May so I’m rushing to get this done as fast as I can so people have plenty of time to play with mapping schemes ahead of the unveiling (assuming it’s on schedule).

    So, by example, with Rockford (city & township) I was unable to find a decent map (the one I found had precinct names so crammed together you couldn’t tell where the label was meant to be), so I had to look up many of the precincts by finding a list of polling locations, and then figuring out which census voting district that location was in.

    With St. Clair, the issue is that there are way more election precincts than voting districts in Belleville, Caseyville, O’Fallon, and St. Clair (and other townships too, but I’ve already done them). Granted, it’s obviously more reliable to combine election precincts into districts than to split apart precinct numbers, but I still have to match them up which, in the absence of a map, generally requires mapping out all the polling places.

    I have Peoria matched up, I just need to enter them.

    So, I’m still waiting for six downstate counties (Bond, Brown, DeWitt, Richland, Scott, White) and three more where I realized I have the unofficial numbers not the final canvass (Iroquois, Jackson, and Vermilion). The latter three aren’t as crucial, because I’ll roll with the unofficial numbers if need be.

    I doublecheck everything against the Secretary of State website before the final transfer to the CSV file for Dave’s App, which then reveals any issues that may not be obvious.

    So, by Monday, I plan to get Cook and the collar counties done as well (DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will). I’ve been leaving those aside because (a) I know I have accurate numbers readily available online, and (b) they all have precinct maps available here: Illinois Precinct Maps.

    But, getting back to the point, once these Obama/McCain numbers are uploaded to Dave’s App, it will then be drastically easier to draw maximized Democratic districts. If one then wants to figure out Kerry numbers or 2010 numbers, they simply need to save the CSV file and apply whatever numbers are available. Whatever the swing between election cycles, the relative Democratic strength between given precincts should nonetheless be the same.

  28. When I’m done with this, I will have individually cross-checked 11560 precincts, and I’m only going to do that once! I’m wanting to do California afterward (don’t know yet if that’s viable), and I’ve also got my promised VRA Guide to post (which will be delayed a couple days due to this Illinois project). However, if someone else collects numbers for a different year/race then I’ll be happy to enter the numbers into the CSV file for them (since I will have already gone through the challenge of doing it, and I’m recording on my master spreadsheet each precinct that I have to split or merge or change the numbering along with what I have to do to it).

  29. Do you have any idea about how Ogle County broke in 2008?  I know Manzullo lives in the western part of the county so I am liable to leave most of it in his district, but I am curious whether Rochelle in the southeast area is worthwhile trying to squeeze votes out of if I need a connector between Rockford and Dekalb to then continue on to Schaumburg/Elgin for a modified 14th.

  30. The landscape is fairly inhospitable to Democrats, but may be worth exchanging for more heavily GOP parts elsewhere.

  31. I am playing with possibilities for a “neat” gerrymander, in a kind of worst-case scenario where the provisions of the 1970 Illinois constitution relating to “contiguous and compact” apply to the congressional map.

  32. There were three suits dismissed in the 2001 redistricting cycle that claimed the districts were not “reasonably compact” – including one by former congressman Phelps. If the courts held that the 2001 districts were “reasonably compact” it’s difficult to see by what standard they would suddenly have a problem with anything I’ve seen proposed for this cycle.

    In any case, here are the Boone numbers. The Democratic parts of Belvidere are definitely worth picking up, so long as the GOP areas of Rockford are efficiently bypassed.

  33. I don’t recall that McHenry was a county you ever asked me for – and it’s readily available online – but if it was then I just realized that I had the Obama & McCain numbers reversed on my master spreadsheet, which would obviously make a huge difference.

  34. And it is the siren that all good Democratic mapmakers need to beware.  Areas you think based on the 2008 Obama numbers might be hospitable, when you look at 2004 Kerry, prove catastrophic.  Off the top of my head, Kerry carried a total of maybe 10 precincts in the entire county!

  35. But it says you registered April 19, which I guess means the one-week waiting period to post diaries has been abolished.

    Not that I mind. In fact, despise any criticism may have, I’m pleased that you posted this map. Welcome to SSP!

  36. of African-American residents, you can’t get three majority-black districts anymore without splitting the South Side three ways. One of those has to be lumped with the West Side and Maywood, and one with the south suburbs.

    As for Latinos, you can’t get a supermajority Latino district on the Southwest Side — there just aren’t enough of them. And on the Northwest Side, the only way to get a Latino majority at all is a crazy gerrymander that reaches out to Elgin. I did it in another map, but it’s a nose-holder.

  37. Considering I had the Obama/McCain numbers reversed on my spreadsheet and had adjusted the erroneous Obama numbers downward 12.43% for my partisan map (the McHenry difference between Obama & Kerry), it was looking like the pit of Republican hell to me anyhow.

    At least now I know part of why I was having such trouble getting the districts to work out in the northern suburbs of Chicago..

  38. For a time I thought that I might be able to salvage a few spare townships out of Algonquin, Dorr, even parts of Grafton, glancing over the Obama data.  Then when I crunched the Kerry numbers for the very same precincts, my heart sank.  In some places Obama did 20% better than Kerry did.  This trend was not cemented in place – were it not for McHenry County, Melissa Bean would still be in Congress.

  39. She recently announced she isn’t running again for Congress in 2012.  In the current Il-3, meanwhile, there’s lots of buzz about John Atkinson launching a primary challenge to Lipinski for, among other things, his atrocious vote against health care reform last year.  Knowing how Illinois (Chicago) Democrats operate, I wouldn’t be half-shocked if a new district were created for Atkinson going out to Joliet and then some to get him out of the way.  He’s a self-funder, working in the health care industry, so he would work for a suburban seat anyway.

  40. So, I am now done with everything except these eight counties I’m awaiting to get at least in part through the mail (Bond, Brown, DeWitt, Jackson, Richland, Scott, White, Vermilion), three townships in St Clair where I’ve still got to map out the precincts (Belleville, Caseyville, St Clair), and Cook County.

    I just thought I’d mention that the votes from the following City of Aurora precincts need to be added to the Wheatland 32 voting district in Will County on Dave’s App.

  41. This makes Wheatland seem less terrible than I had assumed going off of the totals provided by the Will County clerk.  It still is one of the GOP strongholds (relatively) in Will.  Unlike Homer, Frankfort, and New Lenox, however, it is at least amenable to voting for a Democrat.  Even in 2008, the aforementioned townships in eastern Will voted for McCain.

  42. I’ve also seen maps before of a ~60% Latino district that doesn’t go south of the Loop. Nonetheless, with the VRA taking precedence, I can’t see even a compact map being acceptable if it weakens minority voting power. Even supposing that you can’t create two relatively compact Latino districts, the courts would probably just force the earmuffs again.

  43. At this point, it seems reasonable to wait & post my VRA Guide next week on May 3 once SSP moves to dKos.

    On the Illinois data front, I’m now done except for five counties that I’m awaiting (Bond, Brown, Richland, Scott, White) and five suburban Cook County townships where I need 2008 precinct maps that I’ve requested (Bloom, Norwood Park, Thornton, Wheeling, Worth).

    In other news, it looks viable to me to insert the California precinct data into the csv format at Dave’s App, and so that will be my next project.

  44. I need just three counties (Bond, Brown, Richland) and two townships (Norwood Park, Worth)!

  45. Which was a major pain in the @$$. So, all I have left to do now is harass the remaining counties (Bond, Brown, Richland) until they give me their data.

    For anyone who just can’t wait, here are the errata for Worth.

    Precinct 25 covers precincts 25 & 109 on Dave’s App.

    Precinct 39 covers precincts 39 & 143 on Dave’s App.

    Precinct 58 covers precincts 58 & 114 on Dave’s App.

    Precinct 70 covers precincts 70 & 149 on Dave’s App.

    Precinct 85 covers precincts 85 & 90 on Dave’s App.

    Precinct 100 covers precincts 100 & 129 on Dave’s App.

    Precinct 90 is precinct 163 on Dave’s App.

    Precinct 109 is precinct 164 on Dave’s App.

    Precinct 114 is precinct 159 on Dave’s App.

    Precinct 129 is precinct 162 on Dave’s App.

    Precinct 143 is precinct 161 on Dave’s App.

    Precinct 149 is precinct 160 on Dave’s App.

    And, finally, the votes in precincts 65 & 147 should be added together and redistributed proportional to their respective precinct VAPs.

  46. Richland County is all I need, and the county clerk tells me it went out in today’s mail.

  47. When the South Side is split three ways, and the Southwest Side and Northwest Side Latinos grouped separately, there aren’t enough minority voters to both retain majorities in all of them and make sufficiently populous districts. I think the best you can hope for is three majority-minority districts (two African-American, one Latino) and two districts with minority kingmaker blocs.

    Further news as events warrant.

  48. I guess those maps I saw which preserved the majorities in all of them were based on ACS data. either way, you can still get the third black district to something like 46-47% black VAP while only being about 35% white VAP, so that should be enough to ensure that AAs are a majority of the D primary electorate. I don’t have the time right now to try drawing Latino districts, but in a worst-case scenario you’d just have to continue the earmuffs or make one 60%+ district and another influence district.

  49. I thought districts that concentrated were frowned upon because they diluted minority influence elsewhere in the state. Have I got it wrong?

  50. while there’s no hard-and-fast requirement, you have to account for lower citizenship rates (in the case of Mexicans) and lower turnout. 60%+ is probably a decent guideline to ensure that Latinos dominate the electorate. FWIW the current district is 3/4 Hispanic.

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