Allan Lichtman retained by Illinois Democrats in redistricting dispute

SPRINGFIELD — Democratic lawmakers moved ahead Tuesday with their plans to redraw the state's legislative district boundaries despite complaints from a prominent Latino voting rights group that the proposal shortchanges minorities....

Representatives for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said the plan falls short of the requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act, which prohibits diluting minority voting strength. Meeting the Voting Rights Act is a key element of redistricting.

Nina Perales, litigation director for MALDEF, stopped short of threatening a lawsuit Tuesday but noted the group has a history of going to federal court to challenge Illinois redistricting plans.

Attempting to counter MALDEF's warning and set a legal marker for a potential lawsuit, House Democrats retained Allan Lichtman, a professor of history at American University in Washington and a noted redistricting expert, at a rate of $400 an hour in taxpayer funds....

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