Senate Republicans make push for fair maps
Springfield – The Senate Republican Caucus is asking the people of Illinois to speak up and help put a fair maps amendment on the ballot for the next election, giving people the power to pick their legislators instead of letting lawmakers pick their voters.
“Healthy democracy requires competitive elections and new ideas. Our current system, which gives the party in power ultimate authority to redraw legislative maps, inhibits that,” said Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington). “We need to take the power of drawing legislative maps away from politicians and give the people of this state the opportunity to vote on a new redistricting system.”
Every 10 years, following the decennial U.S. Census, Illinois’ Congressional and General Assembly maps are redrawn. Illinois currently has a winner-take-all system for the redistricting process, where the politicians who are in control right now have the power to draw the maps for the next 10 years. This gives them the ability to shift district lines to create an advantage for the members of their party, which is often referred to as “gerrymandering.” This system is what creates strangely-shaped districts and uncompetitive elections.
“Instead of drawing districts behind locked doors, we must give voters a chance to create a system that increases transparency – and takes politicians out of the process,” said Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris).
Senate Joint Resolution-Constitutional Amendment 4, sponsored by lawmakers from both parties, would give voters the opportunity to amend the Constitution to create a new, non-partisan system for drawing maps. It would establish an independent redistricting commission, increase transparency in the process and provide for public hearings to allow Illinois residents to weigh in.
SJR-CA 4 would place the question of fair maps on the ballot for the next statewide election. So far, however, entrenched political leaders haven’t allowed similar bills to advance, despite a nationwide call for fair map plans from members of both parties.
“For too long, the people of Illinois haven’t had a voice in this process – it’s time to change that,” said Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove). “By advancing this legislation and getting this resolution on the ballot, we’re putting the power to effect change in the hands of the voters where it belongs.”
The Senate Republican Caucus is giving the people of Illinois the opportunity to voice their support for fairer maps in Illinois by visiting senategop.org and signing the fair maps petition.
“By signing the petition, you will help get fairer maps before the voters. You’re saying it’s time for fairer maps in Illinois. You’re saying it’s time for you pick your legislators instead of letting them pick you,” said Brady.