Local, Politics

New Illinois House Remap Keeps Park Forest Split in Two*

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Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The new Illinois House district remap, which takes effect next year, Park Forest will remain split in two — with some changes. Right now, Park Forest is represented by Anthony DeLuca in the 80th district and a small section by Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin in the 38th. Both are Democrats. As of 2023, the southern portion of the village will become part of the 79th district, which includes University Park and Monee and goes as far south as Kankakee. The northern section of the village will remain part of the 80th district, which extends to suburban areas to the north and west.

current legislative districts
The current legislative districts in and surrounding Park Forest.

The current representative of the 79th is Republican Jackie Haas of Bourbonnais. Both Haas and DeLuca have declared their intentions to run again this year.

While the remapping does not take effect until 2023, both the primary election held on June 28 and the general election on November 8, 2022, will be based on the new maps.

map of te eboundary of a state house district
The new 79th Illinois House District (outlined in white) (Image from Illinois State Board of Elections)

map of state house district
The new 80th Illinois House District (outlined in white) (Image from Illinois State Board of Elections)

The boundary between the new districts is not intuitive. As seen on the map below, the boundary line follows Indianwood Boulevard west to Sauk Trail, south on Sauk Trail to Shabbona Drive, and then takes a left turn toward Mohawk School before heading back to Sauk Trail. As a result, it has left many residents unsure in which district they reside, or unaware that the districts are changing at all.

map of state house boundaries in Park Forest
Boundary of the 79th (orange) and 80th (blue) Illinois House Districts in Park Forest (Image from Illinois State Board of Elections)

If there is still confusion after reviewing the maps, a visit to the Illinois State Board of Elections website may help. Under “Find My Elected Representatives,” enter the address in question, and then select “2022 State Representative.” The site will note what house district the address is in for this year’s election. If you select “State Representative,” the site will show the current district and representative’s name. For Park Foresters, the site will report that they are currently in the 80th district with Representative Anthony DeLuca.

Knowing in what district you reside is especially important as candidates are currently collecting petition signatures required to run in the primary. Candidates for the General Assembly are required to submit between 400 and 1000 signatures between March 7 and March 14. Those signatures are only valid if the signer resides in the district of the candidate. For example, if someone resides in the new 79th district and signs a petition for Anthony DeLuca who is running in the 80th district, the signature is not valid and will not be counted.

Voters can sign petitions for multiple candidates running for the same office in the same party, but they cannot, for example, sign a petition for both a democratic and republican candidate running for the same office.

The remapping process for the house resulted in 118 districts across the state with each district having a population of approximately 108,000. The demographic data of the 79th and 80th districts reveal that both are 26% Black. The 80th district has a higher percentage of Hispanic voters with approximately 18% while the 79th district is just under 11% Hispanic. Both districts have roughly 1% Asian voters.

While the remap process also impacted the boundaries of the state senate as well, the impact on Park Forest is minimal. All of Park Forest remains in the 40th senate district, which is currently represented by Senator Patrick Joyce, a democrat residing in Essex. Senator Joyce has announced he is running for re-election.

* ERRATA: This article originally said that all of Park Forest was in the 80th Legislative District. That was in error. The article has been corrected.