Nearly half of all Illinois statehouse seats uncontested

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Nearly half of the seats up for grabs at the Illinois statehouse this election are uncontested.

An analysis by The Center Square of statehouse candidate filings to the Illinois State Board of Elections found of the 118 House seats that are up every two years, 52 seats have only one candidate running. That’s 44 percent.

Eight of the 52 House seats are held by Republicans who don’t face an opponent. Democrats hold the rest.

Half (11 of 22) state Senate seats up this cycle only have one candidate. Only two are Republicans uncontested.

A separate analysis of all states by Ballotpedia found Illinois’ statehouse was the fifth-worst state for competitive races in the 2020 election.

Madeleine Doubek, with the group Change Illinois, found similar numbers. Change Illinois advocates for changing how Illinois draws political boundaries.

“In some cases, the election doesn’t exist for far too many people,” Doubek said. “There is no race and there is no choice for them to be making so how is that democracy? It’s not. It’s in essence a form of voter suppression. Gerrymandering like this that results in fewer competitive, contested races, takes away our voices and our choices.”

With this year’s ten-year Census wrapping up next month, Illinois state lawmakers will again have the ability to create legislative maps.

Doubek said it’s too late to do anything about how the maps are drawn in Illinois as lawmakers failed to put the constitutional amendment for an independent map process in front of voters before the next map is drawn. She said there may be some efforts to find legislation to make the process more transparent.

“And we have to have mapping done out in the open, in an accountable process, with input from the people who we are drawing these districts for. The districts are drawn for the people. We own these districts. They are not the property of the politicians.”

Doubek said Gov. J.B. Pritzker needs to be more clear on what he means when he says he will veto “any map that is unfair.”

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