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Chicago's most gerrymandered wards

Written by
Clayton Guse

The most entertaining part about this year in Chicago politics hasn't been Chuy Garcia's mustache, Rahm Emanuel's nub finger or even the biggest property tax hike in the city's history—it's been the breathtakingly artistic ward boundaries that went into effect when the new city council took office in May.

The city redraws its ward boundaries every 10 years when a new census is conducted. The new map isn't aimed to be egalitarian or practical, but rather another gear in the good 'ol Chicago political machine. The term "gerrymander" hardly cuts it when describing the strange shapes produced by City Hall's cartographers. Here are some of the most creative ward shapes you'll find around town.

First Ward

Alderman Proco Joe Moreno barely avoided a runoff in February's general election, and his domain's new borders might have been the reason. The shape resembles a wispy ghost of Pinocchio or maybe even Jennifer Beals gyrating in the hit 1983 movie Flashdance.

Second Ward

Alderman Bob Fioretti annoyed Rahm so much that he was mapped out of his own ward. He then proceeded to run for mayor, lose and then endorse Emanuel so he could pay for his campaign. The new lobster-shaped second ward is far and away the most gerrymandered in the city. Aside from crustaceans, it kind of looks like a chunk of drywall that someone (Rahm?) punched in a bout of TIF-induced rage.

15th Ward

Alderman Toni Foulkes was also mapped out of her ward (15th), but she won the seat in the 16th ward after a runoff in April. The new boundaries of the South Side jurisdiction look just like a rooster perched up on a branch.

35th Ward

Carlos Ramirez-Rosa won February's 35th ward election outright and is now the city's youngest alderman at 26. His new ward resembles a lanky fellow taking a poop all over Logan Square. 

36th Ward

The 36th ward race was also forced into a runoff in February (are you detecting a trend here?). It seems like the powers that be said, "Hey, let's make this ward look like a 'G' for 'Gerrymandering," but made a last-minute change because it'd be too obvious. More realistically, it's probably based off Rahm Emanuel's imaginary childhood cat Lil' Roxie leaping up onto the family's countertop.

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