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DuPage County Getting Ready to Re-draw District Lines Based on 2010 Census

Elmhurst may see a slight shifting of its DuPage districts, but it is not an example of "drastic change."

DuPage County districts may be shifting slightly in Elmhurst to reflect the new 2010 U.S. Census data.

DuPage District 1 board members unveiled two new district maps Thursday at Addison Public Library. The briefing was designed to give residents an update on the county’s re-mapping process, however no residents showed up for the meeting. The new maps can be viewed here and here.

District 1 includes the northern portion of Elmhurst, along with portions of Addison, Bensenville, Wood Dale, Itasca and Bloomingdale. District 2 includes Elmhurst’s southern portion, along with portions of Villa Park, Lombard, Oak Brook, Downers Grove, Clarendon Hills and Lisle. View a current map here.

Every 10 years, the districts are redrawn based on population changes documented by Census results. If either of the two maps are approved (a vote is expected in a couple of weeks) a small portion of Elmhurst would move from District 1 to District 2.

In both proposals, the current District 1 area south of the Illinois Prairie Path and north of the Canadian National Railroad Tracks and Crescent Avenue would move into District 2.

District 1 would pick up more homes in Bloomingdale, however. The area between Springfield Drive and Bloomingdale Road, bordered on the north by Schick Road and the south by Army Trail Road would move out of District 6 and into District 1 in both proposals.

"Our district is not a good example of drastic change," said Rita Gonzalez (D-Dist. 1). "The drastic change took place in District 5."

Based on population totals, District 5, which is Naperville and much of Aurora, lost nearly 12,000 people. District 6, made up of portions of Carol Stream, Winfield, West Chicago and Warrenville, also lost 1,200 people, while the other four districts saw gains between 2,300 and 4,900 people.

By law, DuPage County’s six districts must be equally apportioned, with 152,821 people in each. The numbers only include people living in each district, not necessarily voters. 

"There are a lot of fingers in the pie," said board member Donald Puchalski (R-Dist. 1), in describing the process to redraw the districts. "We go in one day and have it figured out, and the next day someone else will move the boundaries."

The re-districting process  going on at the state level is quite contentious. With Democrats in charge of both houses in Illinois, they can re-draw state legislative maps with little input from Republicans. That is not an issue at the county level, Gonzalez said. She and Puchalski "have a good working relationship (and) share a lot of the same goals."

Westmont resident and former County Board candidate Karol Sole, who closely follows county business, said Committee Chairman Pat O’Shea supports the map that has District 4, which includes Glen Ellyn and Wheaton, extending south into Lisle. The second map has District 4 extending east into Lombard. Both maps have been approved by the redistricting committee, though changes still can be made. 

"All the districts have to come out to the same number of people," Sole said. "If you push the district in somewhere it juts out somewhere else."

Redistricting meetings began last September. Puchalski said the County Board is shooting for a May 24 final vote, although he doubts one could be finalized by then.

A new map must be in place within a month, and the new districts will take effect by the March 2012 primary election. More public forums will be held in each of DuPage County’s districts.

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