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African-American Civil Rights Groups Defend Illinois Legislative Remap

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Illinois State Capitol

Illinois State Capitol buillding in Springfield (AP Photo)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Four African-American civil rights groups are trying to join Illinois Democrats in the legal defense of a newly drawn legislative district map.

As WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports, Illinois Republicans are challenging the remap in federal court.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports

The Chicago Tribune reports the African-American groups want to join the Democrats in fighting the GOP’s lawsuit because members of the groups helped the Democrats draw the new boundaries for the 59 state Senate and 118 state House districts.

The groups say they believe the new map allows them to elect candidates of their choice statewide, and have a real ability to help influence the outcomes of elections – even in districts where African-Americans are not the majority, the Tribune said.

Gov. Pat Quinn approved the new legislative map in June. Democrats were in charge of the once-a-decade process because they control the legislature and the governor’s office.

Among the stated goals of the remap was giving voters a say in deciding political boundaries. For example, Chicago’s Chinatown is no longer divided among four state House districts and three Senate districts.

But the Republican lawsuit claims the map denies minorities enough say in picking state lawmakers, the Tribune reports.

The coalition of groups asking to join the lawsuit includes the Chicago Urban League, the Rainbow-Push Coalition, the Woodlawn Community Development Corp., and the Cook County Bar Association, the Tribune reported.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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