Lake County Board wants public input on redistricting

  • Lake County officials are seeking public input on matters like the size of the county board and how board districts should be drawn. It's part of the mandatory reapportionment process that includes a redraw of districts based on new census data.

    Lake County officials are seeking public input on matters like the size of the county board and how board districts should be drawn. It's part of the mandatory reapportionment process that includes a redraw of districts based on new census data. Courtesy of Lake County

  • Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart

    Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart

 
 
Posted5/18/2021 5:30 AM

Lake County residents are being asked for their input to help determine how or if the number of seats on the county and forest preserve district boards should change.

The matter is surfacing now because state law requires government entities every 10 years to redraw district boundary lines, known as reapportionment, using census data.

 

Besides the number of seats, other considerations include whether districts should have single or multiple members; whether board members should be paid a salary, per diem or a combination; and whether the county board chair should be selected by board members or elected at large.

"They're doing the same thing in every county across the state," said county board Chair Sandy Hart.

Reapportionment is mandated to ensure that each district includes approximately the same number of residents.

Hart also heads the county board's reapportionment committee, which was created in February to recommend a plan and map to the full board.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Hart will host four separate virtual public meetings, each focused on a separate quadrant of the county.

Wednesday sessions are from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. for the northeast area and 7:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. for the southeast area. On Thursday, the sessions will be held at the same times for the northwest and southwest areas, respectively.

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Visit www.lakecountyil.gov/4569/Reapportionment-Committee for information on the process and to register for a session.

Groups such as the League of Women Voters, NAACP and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund have shown interest in the process, according to Hart.

"We really want it to be a listening session for us," she said. "What are your thoughts?"

Lake County is divided into 21 separate districts, each with its own elected representative. Members double as Lake County Forest Preserve District commissioners.

There were 23 districts at the start of the last reapportionment process. Because of population changes and the proposed reduction of board size at the time, some members ended up living in the same district as other board members.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The seven-member reapportionment committee has met twice so far.

"I didn't want us to make a decision and then go out to the public," Hart said. "If you put a number (of districts) out there, people respond to the numbers."

The deadline for the county board to approve a new map is July 1 or by the regularly scheduled July board meeting.

But 2020 census data isn't expected until the end of September. Hart said the county is working with state legislators to extend the deadline to ensure everyone is represented and counted in the new district map.

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