Chicago aldermen file petition setting stage for voters to determine new ward map

Craig Wall Image
Friday, December 3, 2021
New Chicago ward map could be decided by voters
The group of aldermen are highly critical of the new Chicago ward map presented on Wednesday, calling it the result of "backroom deals."

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than a dozen Chicago City Council members filed a petition Thursday that sets the stage for voters to determine the map that will decide aldermanic boundaries for the next 10 years. The move could force a compromise, or lead to a costly referendum.

A new Chicago ward map was introduced to city council on Dec. 1, 2021.

Armed with their 500-page petition, a group of aldermen representing the Latino Caucus and two other members marched into the city clerk's office Thursday morning filing for a referendum.

"It seems like it's time for the voters of the city of Chicago to decide," said Ald. Silvana Tabares 23rd Ward, Vice Chair, Latino Caucus. "And that is what we did today."

READ MORE: Black, Latino caucuses battle over new Chicago wards map

The group, which has support from 15 city council members, wants voters to be able to choose the map which will establish the balance of power for the next decade.

They say their proposed map was done fairly and with transparency, based on census data. They are highly critical of the Rules Committee map, calling it the result of "backroom deals." That map was finally made public at Wednesday's city council meeting.

RELATED: Caucuses still arguing over ward maps 2 days before city council vote

"When we got the cartoon coloring book map yesterday that shows our wards when we don't know what the data shows. We're playing hide the ball," said Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th Ward.

"Frankly, I'm appalled by some of the things that I saw happen under the Rules Committee, and I can't support it. And I can't endorse it. It's wrong," said Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward.

But as Latinos flex their political muscle with their referendum petition, they may have an issue at the ballot box.

"The big problem that Latinos have electorally is that a large number of them are not U.S. citizens, and a large number of them don't vote in elections, even if they are U.S. citizens," said Mark Hansen, a political science professor at University of Chicago.

The coalition is hoping for a compromise.

"We're always been willing, so open to negotiations, but the reality is, is that we have to stand up and take a stand here that we're not gonna be pushed around anymore," said Ald. Gil Villegas, 36th Ward, Chair Latino Caucus.

If at any time there are 41 alderman who reach a compromise and vote to support a particular map, that would effectively end the referendum process. If not, voters will chose the map at the June 28 primary election.