Online Staff Report
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — In an effort to increase the accuracy of the census population count, state Rep. Chuck Jefferson, D-Rockford, helped pass a bill May 15 requiring the state to count Illinois’ inmates at their home address, not the prisons where they are housed.
“This is a good government bill that attempts to make our state more equal by requiring the Secretary of State to adjust census numbers before legislative districts are redrawn, so that prisoners are counted as residents of their last known home addresses,” Jefferson said. “Inmates are currently shown as residents of the prisons in which they are housed, artificially inflating populations of central and southern Illinois counties where prisons are located, depriving the inmate’s place of origin from receiving an equal voice or representative in state government. Everyone should have an equal chance to be heard.”
Every 10 years, the United States government conducts the census survey to gather population data that is then used for redistricting, including the drawing of legislative districts. The legislation is now before the Senate for a vote. If signed into law, House Bill 62, which Jefferson is co-sponsoring, would not impact Illinois until the 2022 election cycle.
“The United States was born from the idea that people should have their interests represented in government,” said John Maki, executive director of the John Howard Association. “Since that time, we have been fighting to fulfill the promise of that idea. House Bill 62 is an important part of this struggle.”
Posted May 16, 2013