Date: January 18, 2001

Contact: Lezli Austen

UIS to host forum on redistricting in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD — Redistricting in Illinois 2001 is the second forum in the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Politics and Policy Series on important issues facing Illinois policymakers and citizens today. The forum will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday, February 2, in the UIS Studio Theatre, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center. The event is free and open to the public and will be taped for broadcast at a later time on WUIS-91.9 FM.

The series brings together public officials, journalists, and academics to analyze events and share insights and perspectives with depth and reflection. The format will include two panel sessions and a follow-up roundtable. Christopher Mooney, director of the UIS Illinois Legislative Studies Center, will moderate the panels and Charles Wheeler, director of the UIS public affairs reporting program, will moderate the roundtable discussion.

The forum will offer critical discussion and analysis of the legalities, technicalities, and politics of the impending 2001 decennial redistricting of congressional and legislative districts in Illinois. The first panel, The Technicalities and Legalities of Redistricting, from 1 to 2 p.m., will include Ron Michaelson, executive director, Illinois State Board of Elections; Sam Hirsch, attorney, Jenner & Block; and Kim Brace, president, Election Data Services. The second panel, The Politics of Redistricting, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., will include Michael McDonald, assistant professor of political studies, UIS; Senator Vince Demuzio (D-Carlinville), assistant minority leader; Maria Valdez, senior litigator, Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund; and Wheeler.

Brace is a prominent national political consultant, who most recently was a key Gore adviser in


the Florida recount in the presidential election. Valdez and Hirsch will be key players in this year’s redistricting, with Valdez from Chicago and Hirsch from Washington, DC. Michaelson has been the executive director of the state board of elections for 26 years.

The forum is sponsored by UIS’ Illinois Legislative Studies Center, Illinois Issues, the Institute for Public Affairs, and the political studies program. For more information, contact Mooney by phone at (217) 206-6574 or by email at

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Note to the media: Since redistricting only occurs every 10 years, most of the current press corps, even in the statehouse, may not have covered it before. Following the second panel, Wheeler will hold a roundtable on redistricting and the media specifically designed to answer the press’ questions about how to cover redistricting.