redistricting

ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS

As the midterm election draws near, some state lawmakers want to change the way Illinois’ political districts are drawn. They want to do that by giving voters a chance to change the constitution. 

The Democrats want to hand off control of legislative map drawings to what they call an independent commission. Republicans agree, but say they want more people on the commission and more public hearings.

Both also say they want to change the constitution to take partisan advantage out of future map making.

Seventeen Illinois lawmakers have signed on to support a Wisconsin case before the U.S. Supreme Court that calls political gerrymandering unconstitutional.

Rici Hoffarth/St. Louis Public Radio

It's a sentiment shared by Democratic politicians and liberal pundits: disgust over how Republicans drew up favorable (for them) legislative districts after the 2010 Census.

Redistricting is blamed for the relative lack of legislative production in Congress and the rise of stringent partisanship, and has prompted Democrats to fight back in several states. Even former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is getting in on the issue, leading the National Democratic Redistricting Committee to crusade against gerrymandering.

Northern Illinois University

Some important events happened this week.

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs. And President-elect Donald Trump continued to announce his cabinet picks.

But a federal court ruling could have even more far-reaching effects.

A three-judge panel ruled Wisconsin's 2011 redistricting law unconstitutional -- a move that could affect the redistricting process in every state where lawmakers draw political maps.

In a 2-1 ruling, the panel said Wisconsin's districts, drawn by Republicans, unfairly affected Democratic voters.

host.madison.com

A federal court says voting districts drawn by Wisconsin Republicans are unconstitutional.

The ruling issued Monday is a major victory for Democrats who have been in the minority for six years and lost ground in this year's election.

A three-judge panel tossed maps drawn by Republican lawmakers five years ago, saying they violate the voting rights of Democrats.

The maps divide Wisconsin into 99 Assembly and 33 Senate districts. A dozen voters sued last year, arguing that the boundaries discriminated against Democrats by diluting their voting power.

mapamendment.org

A group that’s trying to change how Illinois’ legislative boundaries are drawn is continuing its legal fight to put the proposal on November’s ballot.

Dennis FitzSimons leads the group called Independent Maps.

The state Supreme Court recently ruled their redistricting proposal unconstitutional - knocking it off the November ballot.

Now, FitzSimons says he’s trying a long shot of a legal maneuver - asking the Supreme Court to officially reconsider its decision.

Former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he has a plan for redistricting reform that will pass Illinois Supreme Court muster. 

      

The Democrat unveiled his plan Tuesday in Chicago, saying he thinks the state's high court should appoint a Fair Redistricting Commission every ten years after the U.S. Census. Quinn says that commission should redistrict the state's legislative and representative districts.

According to Quinn's plans, no more than six members should be from the same political party. At least seven members must approve the redistricting plan.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Governor Bruce Rauner made an unscheduled stop in Moline to talk to voters about redistricting.

He characterized last week's Illinois Supreme Court ruling, which found a proposal to put redistricting in the hands of an independent commission unconstitutional, as a tragedy.  

Rauner also called on local state legislators to put the question on the November ballot.

"Now that the court says the voter referendum can't go, you in the general assembly need to put it on the ballot so we, voters, can exercise our democratic right and vote on this issue," he said.  

Illinois Supreme Court

The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to quickly consider a case challenging the constitutionality of a ballot measure that could change the way Illinois draws political boundaries.

The court granted an emergency motion for direct appeal Friday, two days after a Cook County judge ruled the proposal didn't meet narrow constitutional requirements.

A group called the Independent Map Amendment sought an expedited appeal because of an Aug. 26 deadline to get on November's ballot.

mapamendment.org

The so-called Independent Maps proposal would have asked voters to change the state constitution — so instead of legislators drawing House and Senate districts, that work would be done by an special commission.

Illinois has strict limits on changing the constitution by referendum, and a Cook County judge ruled that the remap proposal did not meet the requirements.

Independent Maps spokesman Jim Bray says the group will appeal.

mapamendment.org

A measure giving Illinois voters a chance to decide if an independent commission should draw the state's political boundaries is a step closer to the ballot.

The State Board of Elections voted Monday that the group called the Independent Map Amendment appeared to have enough valid signatures for the constitutional amendment and is ready for ballot certification in August.

However, a lawsuit against the amendment is pending which could keep it from the ballot. In 2014, a judge ruled a similar measure was unconstitutional.

mapamendment.org

Supporters of changing how Illinois draws its legislative maps are defending their effort in court.

  

The initiative is facing a lawsuit, similar to one that brought down a redistricting plan two years ago. Both attempts would have a commission to draw districts, instead of lawmakers themselves.

David Mellett is the Independent Maps campaign manager. He says the 2014 judge's ruling helped guide this year's plan.

mapamendment.org

A coalition wanting to change the state's redistricting process has cleared a big first hurdle. But it has another one ahead.

The State Board Of Elections says the group Independent Maps did collect enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot. Enough of them passed a sample test by the elections board.

Two years ago, a similar effort fell flat when the petitions failed to get that clearance. 

That doesn't mean the redistricting question is guaranteed a spot on the November ballot.

Brian Mackey

The Illinois Senate has adopted a plan that would create a uniform, interstate process for drawing political boundaries.

Chicago Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul's plan was adopted 42-6 Thursday. He says it answers the call President Barack Obama made in February when he addressed the Illinois General Assembly in which he once served.

Obama called for fair redistricting processes that eliminated drawing boundaries to favor one party over another.

Illinois Rep. Jack Franks Pushes Redistricting Amendment

Apr 27, 2016
Illinois House Democrats

  Illinois Democratic Representative Jack Franks is advancing a constitutional amendment that would change how the state draws its voter districts.  It passed out of committee, and Franks hopes the measure will cut down on partisan redraws. 

"We've been very good at gerrymandering maps and doing our incumbent protection policy for whichever party is in power at the time.  It's not a Democrat or Republican thing.  It is a bipartisan deal where everyone takes advantage of the citizens by protecting people like me," he says.  

Group Trying Again To Reform Illinois Redistricting

Oct 21, 2015
mapamendment.org

A group pushing for redistricting reform in the state of Illinois is trying for a second time to get an initiative on the ballot. 

Brian Moline talked with Cindi Canary, the Executive Director of Independent Maps.

In Illinois, redistricting is currently done by the state legislature, with the governor having the opportunity to veto. 

Canary said that when one party is in power, the process becomes overly partisan.

WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner wants the legislature's help in making two big changes to the state's constitution, but the Illinois House Speaker isn't on board. It's one of various causes of gridlock at the state capitol.

As a candidate last year, Rauner talked a lot about term limits. Now that he's governor, he's pushing for lawmakers to sign on. The governor often repeats his goal of removing power from what he calls the "political class" -- in particular from House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Illinois Issues / WUIS

Even as Gov. Bruce Rauner pushes for legislators to authorize a new way of drawing the state’s political map, a citizen-driven initiative is underway.

As part of the bargain Rauner is trying to make with Democrats, he wants the legislature to agree to give up control for drawing district boundaries.

Cindi Canary isn’t waiting around.

Yes For Independent Maps / independentmaps.org

Supporters of a drive to change how Illinois’ political maps are drawn are celebrating Monday’s Supreme Court decision on gerrymandering.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can remove partisan politics from redistricting. The justices upheld the constitutionality of Arizona’s independent redistricting commission: Arizona and California have created the commissions by voter referendum. They are independent groups tasked with redrawing Congressional boundaries, a job usually left to the political party in charge in each state.

Cook County Judge Mary Mikva ruled today that three signature-driven ballot measures don't meet constitutional requirements and cannot be on this fall's general election ballot. 

Two of the measures call for legislative term limits, and another asks for the formation of an independent commission to oversee the state's political map-drawing process. 

Attorneys for advocates of the term limits measures say they will appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court next week.

A struggling effort to change how Illinois draws its legislative districts will live another day. State election authorities Tuesday (6/17) voted to give it some extra time to prove it deserves to make it on the November ballot.

Supporters were joyous last month when a semi-truck pulled into the state board of elections' parking lot in Springfield.

A campaign to overhaul the state's redistricting process was dropping off a 27-foot-long document, filled with a half million signatures.

A struggling effort to change how Illinois draws its legislative districts will live another day.  Election authorities today voted to give it some extra time to prove it deserves to make it on the November ballot.

Yes For Independent Maps / independentmaps.org

A non-partisan group looking to overhaul the future of politics in Illinois is picking up the pace of its campaign.  “Yes for Independent Maps” is coordinating an effort to amend the Illinois constitution: it would take the power of drawing state legislative boundaries away from lawmakers and put it in the hands of an independent panel.  

U.S. Supreme Court won't hear challenge to Illinois political maps

May 22, 2012

The suit was brought forward by the League of Women Voters of Illinois. Other challenges to redistricting are still pending.