An overwhelming majority of Chicago aldermen have approved a new ward map that will determine political power and representation in the city for the next decade.
Aldermen voted 43-7 to pass the map on Monday. The map — which closely reflects the one proposed in December by the council’s Rules Committee — will create 18 majority- or plurality-white wards, 16 majority-Black wards, 14 majority-Latino wards and one majority-Asian ward.
The deal comes after months of fraught negotiations — with the council’s Black and Latino caucuses at odds — that have led aldermen to accuse one another of racism, sexism and not cooperating toward a compromise on how to shape racial and ethnic representation in the City Council.
The map’s passage means the question of how to draw Chicago’s 50 wards based on new census data will not be put to voters, as some had expected.
Two competing sides had both previously filed their maps to be part of a June referendum after it became clear neither of them had the required 41 votes.
The standoff was between a group of about 15 aldermen led by the council’s Latino Caucus, who pushed a map that would’ve created 15 majority-Latino wards to reflect a rise in the Latino population in the past 10 years.
The other map — created by the council’s Rules Committee, supported by the Black Caucus and most of the council’s white aldermen — would create 16 majority-Black wards, 14 majority-Latino wards and one majority-Asian ward.
That map is closest to the version that ultimately passed Monday, after members of the Latino Caucus flipped sides in a behind-the-scenes process where aldermen exchanged their support for tweaks to their individual wards.
Mariah Woelfel covers Chicago politics and government for WBEZ. Follow her @mariahwoelfel.