The 44th District Senator introduced legislation in 2009 that would call for an autonomous, non-political entity to draw the district boundaries using computer technology to remove politics from the process. Senate Joint Resolution-Constitutional Amendment 78 would require the State Board of Elections to produce a redistricting plan using a computer program. Any map-drawing program should apply the following criteria:
• Create substantial equality of population;
• Comply with applicable federal laws to ensure that the interests of racial minorities are protected
• Require contiguity and compactness of districts; and
• Minimize the number of districts that cross county or municipal boundaries.
Senator Brady said SJRCA 78 was never allowed a public hearing by Democrat legislative leaders, but there is a current alternative sponsored by Senate and House Republicans that would put the mapmaking process in the hands of an independent commission.
SJRCA 104 mirrors the Fair Map Amendment favored by the Illinois League of Women Voters and other reform advocates. It would allow for public input through hearings and the timely display of proposed legislative maps. However, SJRCA 104 was voted down by a Senate Committee April 12.
Last year, the Senate held public hearings across the state to begin discussions about the redistricting process. Scholars at several Illinois universities and think tanks have advocated for redistricting to be handled more transparently and through a nonpartisan third party.
For more information on the redistricting process, please visit www.gerrymandering.senategop.net.