State of Illinois

Illinois Chicago Voter Precinct and Polling Location Reduction Challenge

Wilson v. City of Chicago Board of Election Commissioners

Lawsuit filed by Chicago mayoral candidate Dr. Willie Wilson and individual voters against the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners (CBEC) and its officials challenging the CBEC’s planned removal of 779 voting precincts (districts that state and local governments create for the purpose of administering elections) and 121 polling locations ahead of the November midterm elections. The plaintiffs allege that under the Illinois Election Code, the CBEC must disclose precinct boundaries at least 90 days prior to the next scheduled election, but the CBEC has not yet revealed the new precinct boundaries in accordance with this obligation, stating that it plans to release the new precinct maps in October 2022. In their complaint, the plaintiffs also note that the CBEC’s mid-election cycle change in precinct boundaries and polling locations will cause confusion for voters in the upcoming November general election.

The plaintiffs argue that the CBEC’s proposed redistricting of precinct boundaries and closing of polling locations violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), as well as their rights under the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs assert that in failing to “obtain or consider demographic data, including race, national origin, age, or data for the number of voters with disabilities, prior to undertaking the redistricting of precinct boundaries and polling locations,” the CBEC did not consider “that a significant decrease in the number of precincts in largely African-American wards in Chicago would limit voter access, and thereby create inequity.” The plaintiffs request that the court pause the CBEC’s implementation of its new precinct and polling location plan until after the Chicago municipal runoff elections set for April 4, 2023.

On Nov. 2, the court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. On Nov. 4, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit.

Case Documents

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