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Chairman seeks to reduce number of Madison County Board districts

EDWARDSVILLE — Chairman Kurt Prenzler is calling for an in-person, special board meeting Tuesday to present his proposed redistricting map of Madison County.

“My map reduces the number of county board districts from 29 to 25,” Prenzler said. “Also, there is no gerrymandering.”

Tuesday’s meeting will be the first in-person board meeting since the start of COVID-19.

In April, Prenzler signed a $4,500 contract with the University of Illinois Geographic Information Systems Lab at Springfield (UIS) to redraw the county board districts and reduce the number of seats.

“My instructions were to draw the map without bias,” Prenzler said. “I want a fair map.”

Every 10 years, county board district lines are adjusted to reflect population changes since the last census and ensure approximately equal representation of residents.

“We are one of four counties in Illinois with 29 county board members,” Prenzler said. “Other counties larger than us have fewer county board members.”

The contract states UIS will “redistrict the county board districts with no intentional bias, based on the latest GIS data and population related data, as 2020 census data is unavailable. The requested map shall divide Madison County into 25 districts conforming with state statute regarding Illinois County Board redistricting 55 ILCS 5/2-3003.”

The agreement also states “the map shall not be politically biased in anyway; however, bias may be used to insure that minority representation is not diluted disproportionately.”

The board meeting will be at 5 p.m. in the County Board Room of the Administration Building. All attendees will be required to wear masks.

Once presented to the board the map will be available for public viewing online and a public hearing will be scheduled. A final plan must be adopted by July 1.

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