Chicago candidates weigh in on ward remapping reform in first-of-its-kind survey organized by community groups


 

Chicago candidates weigh in on ward remapping reform in first-of-its-kind survey organized by community groups 

Most of the candidates for Chicago mayor and scores of aldermanic candidates who responded to a survey believe it’s time to change the behind-closed-doors, incumbent-controlled approach to ward remapping. 

In a first-of-its-kind survey, CHANGE Illinois and 12 other community organizations jointly asked candidates to publicly share their views on ward remapping, redistricting generally, and prison gerrymandering so that residents can make informed voting decisions. Most of those who completed the survey said they want to take ward mapping out of the hands of elected officials. 

Survey responses are publicly available at https://www.changeil.org/redistricting-survey-2023/. A majority of mayoral and aldermanic candidates completed the survey. The community groups created the survey and worked to encourage answers so voters will know whether and how candidates will use their roles in the city council to change the remapping process into a people-focused process that prioritizes communities over politics. Our goal through the remainder of the campaign season will be to inform voters of candidates' positions on ward remapping so they can use the information as they cast their votes. 

In the mayoral race, 5 out of 9 candidates completed the survey: Ja’mal Green, Brandon Johnson, Roderick Sawyer, Paul Vallas, and Willie Wilson. Candidates Kam Buckner, Chuy Garcia, and Sophia King did not respond. Lori Lightfoot’s campaign declined to participate, despite previously advocating for an independent mapping process. Candidates from 38 of the 50 wards participated in the survey, with a strong majority saying the current ward mapping process that has council members negotiating ward shapes behind closed doors needs reform. In seven out of the 12 wards where candidates did not participate, the incumbent council member is running unopposed. 

Through December and January, numerous attempts were made by phone and email to contact every candidate on the ballot for the February election. Candidates still are welcome to submit responses up until Feb 23rd to inform voters where they stand on this crucial concern that forms the foundation of Chicago government. 

The organizations sponsoring the survey and joining to help raise awareness among Chicago voters include: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the Chicago Urban League, CHANGE Illinois, the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, Common Cause Illinois, Hispanic Federation, the Illinois Alliance for Reentry and Justice, Independent Voters of Illinois - Independent Precinct Organization, the Latino Policy Forum, the Muslim Civic Coalition, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Resident Association of Greater Englewood, and the Union League Club of Chicago. 

CHANGE Illinois is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit that conducts research, educates and advocates for ethical, efficient government and elections. 

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