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Chicago’s Controversial New Ward Map Approved With 16 Black, 14 Latino Wards

The map also includes the first majority-Asian American ward. A last-minute compromise to redraw the city's 50 wards came days before a deadline that would have sent the issue to voters.

Alderpeople approved Chicago's new ward map Monday.
City of Chicago; Colin Boyle/ Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — Chicago’s new ward map that will shape politics in the city for the next decade was approved by alderpeople Monday.

The last-minute compromise to redraw the city’s 50 wards came days before a deadline that would have sent the issue to voters in in the June 28 primary. The new map was approved in a 43-7 vote.

The new map includes 16 majority-Black wards plus the “Black influence” 27th Ward, 14 majority-Latino wards and one majority-Asian American ward. It’s estimated to go into effect in July ahead of the Nov. 8 general election, Chicago Board of Elections officials said.

See the new ward map here.

Among other changes, Lincoln Yards will move to the 32nd Ward under the control of longtime critic Ald. Scott Waguespack and The 78 would move from Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez’s 25th Ward to Pat Dowell’s 3rd Ward. Ald. Gilbert Villegas’ newly redrawn 36th Ward will be a 7-mile-long line tracing Grand Avenue that has been slammed as gerrymandered pool noodle. And Englewood will be split among five wards, reduced slightly from six wards under the previous map, despite repeated calls from neighbors who want fewer alderpeople.

RELATED: Chicago’s Proposed ‘Pool Noodle’ Ward Slammed By Current Alderman, Roasted On Social Media

Some alderpeople praised the new map, calling it a compromise that preserves the power of the city’s protected classes.

“We’ve worked together as a group for the betterment of the city and because of the teamwork will save Chicago taxpayers, tons of money and a costly referendum,” said Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), who led the the city’s remap process.

Here’s how your alderperson voted on the new ward map:

Credit: City of Chicago
How alderpeople voted on the new Chicago ward map.

But not all were convinced. Alds. Brian Hopkins (2nd), Anthony Beale (9th), Ed Burke (14th), Raymond Lopez (15th), Silvana Tabares (23rd), Gilbert Villegas (36th) and Andre Vasquez (40th) voted no.

“This map will face a challenge,” said Villegas, who heads the Latino Caucus. “My community has been disenfranchised and quite frankly cracked. But we have to move forward.”

In a statement, Vasquez said he couldn’t support the map in part because it underrepresents Latino communities. He said the ward remap process should be taken out of City Council’s hands.

“I don’t know that an independent commission or a data driven process may yield better results, but I do know that this process fractures communities, and it should be our responsibility to try and do better,” he wrote to constituents.

In negotiations over months, members of the Latino Caucus pushed for a map that approved 15 or more majority-Latino wards following steady Latino population growth since 2010. 

But negotiations were rocked when one member of the Latino Caucus, Ald. Felix Cardona (31st), switched his allegiance from the Latino Caucus-backed map proposal to the map drawn under the leadership of the City Council Committee on Committees and Rules, which was backed by the Black Caucus.

RELATED: 11th-Hour Remap Deal Emerges With 41-Plus Votes, Dimming Threat Of Referendum

The eventual compromise came months after aldermen missed a critical Dec. 1 deadline to vote on a new ward map before aldermen could band together to file for a referendum vote. To avoid the referendum vote, 41 alderpeople had to approve a new map by Thursday.

Beale, who said he was locked out of the remapping process by the Black Caucus, said the map was a result of a “backroom deal.” Instead, he teamed with the Latino Caucus, where he was embraced, he said.

“There’s nothing fair about this process,” Beale said. “If you look at what they’ve done …about disenfranchising people.”

But Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), who chairs the Black Caucus, vehemently disagreed, saying Beale tried to come to the table after ward boundaries were “locked down.” He said he took “great offense” to Beale’s comments.

“No sir, you were not locked out, you sold out,” Ervin said.

In addition to the caucus and city-led maps, CHANGE Illinois pushed for a resident-led ward map redrawn by the Chicago Advisory Redistricting Commission.

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