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By BETH ZUMWALT
Scott County joined 87 other counties in Illinois in losing population according to the 2020 Census numbers.
Winchester, the county seat, dipped from 1,593 people to 1574.
“Not a huge drop,” Rex McIntyre said. “But I’m afraid it’s a trend. The losses in population are all coming in the rural areas. Have been for years.”
McIntire said he was hopeful that it would turn around soon, with more and more people becoming discouraged with city life, crime, traffic, noise.
“We would take them,” he said. “More people means more people paying taxes to maintain our roads and services.”
Illinois State Senator Steve McClure said he is unsure if the recently released numbers will have him back representing Pike County or not.
When the Illinois Legislature voted last spring to approved a map outing the legislative districts in the state, both McClure and C. D. Davidsmeyer, representative for Pike, were re-located to different districts. The decision was made without the official census numbers and instead used numbers from he American Community Survey, in order to meet the June 30 deadline. Many including McClure and Davidsmeyer claimed the numbers from the ACS was unreliable.
“They should have filed for an extension on the June 30 deadline and waited for the actual census numbers,” McClure said. “Now the map has been voted on, The Constitution doesn’t allow for do-overs.”
The matter is already in court, protesting the numbers.
What McClure says should happen is a bi-partisan committee should be appointed to draw up anew map that is much more evenly divided.
“According to the Constitution, all districts should be within 5 or 10 percent of population in size,” McClure said. “With the new numbers we see that is not the case. I don’t know what will happen but the map we have now will not be the final map.
McClure isn’t sure what will happen with his and Davidsmeyer’s situation,
“Most of the problems with the numbers are in more heavily populated areas,’ he said. “I don’t know how far reaching fixing those problems will be.”