Illinois’ process for for drawing up legislative districts is, well, let’s say not the most fair and equitable.
That’s because the party in power has sweeping power to shape political boundaries in a manner that benefits members of the party. The result is a bizarre patchwork of legislative districts in the state that gerrymander all over the place.
This process happens every 10 years when Census numbers are updated, and results in many lawmakers with the dominant party having district boundaries which help guarantee re-election.
There is an effort to work toward restoring some parity on the process. The Independent Map Amendment effort seeks to place a measure for constitutional consideration which would set up an separate, non-partisan commission to handle the redistricting process.
The Map Amendment backers are seeking the signatures to get the measure before voters. They say the change would:
- Eliminate the ability of one party dominating the map-making process.
- Protect and enhance minority voting rights.
What needs to happen to make this reality?
According to the Illinois Constitution Illinois legislative districts
It will take more than 290,000 people to get this measure on the ballot. The names have to be submitted by May 8 to make the November 2016 election deadline.
If passed, beginning with the 2020 Census, an 11-member commission would craft the new boundaries. The selection process includes provisions for transparency, and has guidelines to preclude one party’s dominance in the final commission membership.
Want to get involved?
The backers of this measure, which include the League of Women Voters, AARP Illinois, The Robert McCormick Foundation and the Illinois Farm Bureau are seeking people to sign petitions and get others to sign petitions.