McHenry County Board chairman postpones vote on new maps
The McHenry County Board will not vote as planned later this month on new maps divvying up the board's membership, McHenry County Board Chairman Mike Buehler announced Thursday.
The move follows votes by the General Assembly Monday to push back the July 1 deadline for counties to submit the new maps, required in the wake of the 2020 Census and meant to ensure county residents are fairly represented on their local county boards.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, final census data isn't expected until at least September -- at least two months after the state's deadline, which meant McHenry County along with other units of government tasked with redrawing their maps were using census estimates developed over the 10 years since the 2010 Census.
McHenry County in particular used the 2019 American Community Survey numbers to develop its proposed map, which not only addresses population changes but also a mandate to reduce the number of county board members to 18 from 24.
Buehler has said the map that had been set to be voted on later this month was a "hybrid of many maps," taking into consideration feedback from a consultant hired by the county.
The map was considered during a public hearing last week, during which it was criticized as partisan and questions were raised about how the village of Algonquin was divided into three separate districts.
"We drew a good map -- a fair map -- and I have no doubt that it will need to change very little, if at all, with the release of the 2020 census data on which we would normally rely," Buehler, a Crystal Lake Republican, said in a statement. "However, delaying the vote until we have the hard data in the fall is an easy decision to make to ensure that the reapportionment, which will determine voter representation on the County Board for the next decade, is the best it can be."
Senate Bill 825, which was passed Monday, the final day of the legislative spring session, would give county boards until the third Wednesday of November to submit new maps.
The bill, which still needs to be signed by the governor, also allows counties to use the American Community Survey data instead of official Census results. Buehler said in a news release Thursday that he intends to use 2020 census data over ACS data and that postponing the vote is the right thing to do.
A link to the proposed maps, both PDF and an interactive version, can be found on the main page of the county website at www.mchenrycountyil.gov.
All 18 county board seats will be up for election in 2022, according to the news release. Senate Bill 825 also pushes back the state's 2022 primary to June 28, and likewise pushes back deadlines to circulate and file candidacy petitions.