Redrawing Cook County district map will impact 2022 election
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Redrawing Cook County district map will impact 2022 election

It appears a certainty that all five seats on the Cook County Board of Commissioners will be on the ballot this fall when Election Day rolls around. The reasoning stems from, at least partially, the results of the 2020 census.

This was the consensus of Auditor Braidy Powers and the commissions as they participated in a lengthy redistricting conversation during a meeting of the county board Tuesday, March 8.

Redistricting is the process of redrawing the boundaries of election districts after the completion of the decennial census. The purpose of redistricting is to ensure that the people of each district are equally represented throughout Cook County, Powers said.

Due to the standard election process, the commissioners from districts 1, 3 and 5 were all up for election in 2022 regardless of redistricting. These are commissioners Bob Svaleson, Dave Mills and Ginny Storlie, respectively.

District 2 Commissioner Stacey Hawkins and District 4 Commissioner Ann Sullivan were both elected in 2020. On the standard election calendar, their seats on the county board would not be up for reelection until 2024. However, the redistricting process is likely to put both of their seats on the county board up for election in 2022, Powers explained Tuesday.

Cook County’s population grew by nearly 8 percent during the recent census. Powers explained that although redistricting can be a time-consuming if not complicated process, it’s not unheard of in the history of the county. It most recently occurred during the 2000 census, Powers said, impacting the 2002 election.

The county’s population is 5,600 as of the 2020 count. Therefore, the average district size in terms of population is approximately 1,120 people. District populations cannot vary more than 10 percent from the average for all districts in the county, unless the result forces a voting precinct to be split, according to Powers. If they do, the district must be redrawn. Click here to view a spreadsheet breakdown and maps of the possible new districts. Based on discussion during Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners are likely to opt for version two of the three options, though additional modifications could impact areas near County Road 14 on the east end of the county.

Though other elected officials in Cook County follow the same district map, such as the ISD 166 School Board, redistricting will not force any other elected posts to expedite their election process, Powers said. As the county’s redistricting could impact what district Grand Marais voters could land in, Powers said he planned to share information and potentially present during the meeting of the Grand Marais City Council at their meeting March 9.

The commissioners did not take any official action during Tuesday’s meeting regarding redistricting and the boundaries in question. The county will hear input from the public about the proposed changes and vote on the district lines at an upcoming meeting, potentially at the next regular meeting March 22.

As the commissioners discussed the appropriate means of redrawing the districts, they all agreed it ultimately comes down to keeping neighborhoods intact and not making unnecessary changes concerning who votes for what district in Cook County.

Click here to view a breakdown of the varying scenarios and reasons why the districts are likely to be redrawn this year.