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No Evidence of Chicago Ward Card Referendum Will Cost Taxpayers Millions Despite Claims | Chicago News

A new city map for Chicago is to come into force in time for the local elections in 2023. (WTTW news via Google Maps)

There is no available evidence that, despite claims made by Regulatory Committee Chairman Ald, it will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars to ask Chicago voters to decide what the boundaries of the city’s 50 counties will be for the next decade should. Michelle Harris (8th Ward) is supported by the Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus.

The likelihood that voters will have to decide what the map of Chicago should look like in the June 28 primary for the first time in 30 years has risen in the last week as the sharpness between black and Latino factions over the map escalated considerably. The final map will shape Chicago politics for the next decade and determine the balance of power between blacks, Latinos, and Asian Chicagoans.

Harris, who oversees the city’s official map-making process as chairman of the rules committee and a member of the Black Caucus, has said repeatedly that the referendum would cost taxpayers about $ 40 million. However, despite repeated inquiries from WTTW News, Harris has provided no evidence in support of this claim.

In a letter to Ald. Silvana Tabares (23rd district), vice-chairwoman of the city council’s Latino Caucus, Harris said an estimate she received from the city’s budgetary office showed a parish card referendum removed the $ 20 million the community card The 1992 referendum cost “would double”. Taxpayer.

However, a spokesman for the city’s budget bureau did not respond to a request from WTTW News requesting a copy of that estimate. During a virtual press conference held Tuesday, Harris told a WTTW News reporter that she had only asked the city’s budget bureau to prepare such an analysis and agreed to make it publicly available when it was completed.

A Harris spokesman did not respond to a request for additional documentation to support the cost estimates of a WTTW News referendum shared by Harris.

This lack of evidence did not prevent Harris from telling reporters that the actions of the Latino caucus would “hook” Chicago taxpayers for tens of millions of dollars and urge reporters to ask members of the Latino caucus, ” to explain why they are going to do it “. Let Chicagoans pay the bill. “

Harris was unable to specify what specific referendum-related costs would have to be borne by taxpayers if 41 city councilors cannot agree on a card before May 19, enforcing the referendum. Instead, Harris said the city may incur legal costs to defend the map created by the rules committee in court.

The rules committee has not voted on any of the proposed cards, and it is not clear how the city would be forced to defend a card that was not approved by a majority of the city council.

A proposed Chicago Ward Map from the Chicago City Council's Latino Caucus. [Provided]A proposed Chicago Ward Map from the Chicago City Council’s Latino Caucus. [Provided]

Max Bever, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, which administers the Chicago election, said the cost of adding another page to every 3.5 million ballot papers to be printed for the primaries to address the parish plan issue to take into account would cost no more than $ 550,000.

The board’s existing budget for 2022 is enough to cover these costs, and the board does not need to ask Chicago city council for additional funding, Bever said.

Black caucus chair Ald. Jason Ervin (28th district) echoed Harris’ criticism of the 15 Alder People who requested that each card have 15 districts with a majority of Latino voters. The map, supported by the Black Caucus, creates 14 counties with a majority of Latino voters and 16 counties with a majority of black voters.

Latino caucus leaders have repeatedly said that this makes it impossible to create a map that adequately depicts the city’s changing ethnic makeup. While Chicago’s black population declined 10%, the Latin American population increased 5% and the Asian American population increased 30% according to the 2020 census.

The Black Caucus-sponsored card has 34 co-sponsors, seven fewer than what it takes to law. It took the Latino caucus 10 councilors to submit its card to the secretary – and had five more than it needed on December 2 to force the referendum.

The Latino Caucus took a “game out of the Republican game book of blocking, blocking, blocking,” Ervin said. “They want to hold everyone hostage.”

Harris has refused to consider maps that are pushing the boundaries of the parish without the consent of all affected Alder people, with one major exception: the 11th parish now represented by Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson. This district would be redrawn to focus on Chinatown with a majority of Asian-American voters, according to both maps proposed by the Black and Latino factions.

Daley Thompson is due to be tried in February for filing false tax returns and lying to FBI agents.

The Black Caucus map would relocate Ward 34 – now on the Far South Side, which has seen a sharp population decline over the past decade – to the booming area south and west of the Loop.

Ald. Carrie Austin, 34th Ward, plans to retire after her term ends in 2023.

Austin is awaiting trial on charges of taking bribes and lying to FBI agents. Austin has pleaded not guilty.

State law requires that Chicago boroughs be “almost equal as possible” while being as “cohesive” and “compact” as possible while complying with voting rights designed to protect the voting rights of black, Latino and Asian residents.

Since Chicago’s population was 2,746,388 in 2020, each parish should have 54,928 residents according to the data submitted to the Chicago City Council.

A proposed Chicago Ward Map from the Chicago City Council's Black Caucus. [Provided]A proposed Chicago Ward Map from the Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus. [Provided]

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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