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A $2 million precinct consolidation proposal associated with redistricting that will abolish 779 of Chicago’s 2,069 precincts was challenged by mayoral hopeful Willie Wilson on Monday.
The move from 2,069 to 1,290 precincts, according to Wilson’s lawsuit filed in federal district court, was made to save money but will confuse Chicago voters, diminish turnout in the February 28 mayoral and aldermanic elections, and “disparately impact racial and/or ethnic voting blocs.”
Precinct consolidation should not be carried out in the middle of an election cycle without holding open hearings, according to the lawsuit. Doing so violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution because it forces voters to “go significantly larger distances to reach a polling station” and endure “longer lineups and wait times to vote.”
By the February 28 mayoral and aldermanic elections, Wilson hopes to register 1 million new voters in Chicago. To that end, he has launched a massive voter registration drive.
Wilson grew up in the Jim Crow South, where people had to fight and even give their lives to be granted the opportunity to vote.
Wilson stated that he couldn’t vote — up until he was in Chicago in 1965.
The Chicago Election Board needs to explain itself to the public and ensure that there are appropriate facilities for people to be able to go and vote in every area before the upcoming November election, according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
The Chicago Board of Elections claimed that after new ward and district lines are created to meet with the 2020 U.S. Census, it is required by law to combine precincts. According to Max Bever, spokesman for the Chicago Election Board, the state Legislature raised the size of new precincts to hold up to 1,800 registered voters for Cook County and the city of Chicago last year.
The June 28 primary saw a decrease in in-person voting to 49.1%, with 24.3% voting early and 26.5% voting by mail.
Written By Dylan Santoyo
Edited by Sheena Robertson
FOX 32: Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson files lawsuit to stop closure of voting precincts
Chicago Sun-Times: Willie Wilson files federal lawsuit to block Chicago Board of Elections from consolidating precincts