Ald. Devon Reid (8th) is scheduled to ask the City Council’s Rules Committee Monday evening to create a committee to consider redistricting the city’s ward boundaries.

Many communities, including the City of Chicago, are now in the midst of redistricting efforts following the 2020 census.

In a memo to the committee, Nicholas Cummings, the city’s corporation counsel, says that under state law the city’s population would have to fall below 70,000 or rise above 90,000 for redistricting to be required to change the number of wards in the city.

But he says that under state law the city is also permitted to redistrict the existing ward boundaries for some other reason — such as population shifts within the wards.

Under federal law voting districts are generally required to have roughly equal populations.

When Evanston ward boundaries were last redrawn, after the 2000 census, the adopted map created wards that were within 5 percentage points of having equal population, as indicated on a map of the block-by-block 2000 population counts included with the staff memo.

The city’s population was 74,239 in 2000 and has increased to 78,110 in the 2020 census, with most of the increase coming from new construction concentrated downtown and along the Chicago Avenue corridor.

The staff memo did not include an indication of how the 2020 census population numbers map to the existing ward boundaries.

The redistricting proposal is one of a half dozen proposals from the 8th Ward council member up for discussion at the Rules Committee meeting.

He also is proposing to give each alderperson and the mayor a $7,200 annual stipend to cover office expenses. He has also proposed roughly tripling the pay of council members. Under state law that change apparently could not take effect until after the next election in 2025.

And Reid is also proposing that:

  • The mayor be required to publicly announce vetoes at City Council meetings,
  • The city’s corporation counsel be appointed by the Council rather than the city manager,
  • A committee should be created to monitor compliance with the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act, and
  • The Council should realign its boards, committees and commissions.

The Rules committee is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.