PEORIA - The initiative would overhaul the redistricting process in Central Illinois, altering the area’s political landscape.
“This campaign is going to put the citizens and voters back in charge,” said Brad McMillan, Director of Institute for Political Leadership at Bradley.
The Campaign “Yes! For Independent Maps” needed about 298 thousand signatures to put its proposed amendment on November’s ballot. It nearly doubled that.
The total amount of signatures it received was 532.264. Their petition ended up being 27 feet long and 1,250 pounds. Over 15,000 volunteers in Illinois collected the signatures.
“Central Illinois has led the way for getting signatures for the constitutional amendment.”
Redistricting is the way in which we adjust the districts that determine who represent us.
The campaign aims to change that process.
Currently, it’s controlled by the Illinois General Assembly.
“Down state, what you are going to end up seeing is a lot more rectangles and squares. You are going to see communities not split up.”
The campaign- which began in October- is calling for a bipartisan commission to handle the reshaping of district boundaries.
“Right now we have a system that is literally done in back rooms. Where legislators pick their voters rather than voters actually having a decision who to send to Springfield.”
The commission would consist of a group of Illinoisans with no political affiliation.
After Peoria, the campaign headed to Springfield to drop off the amendment.
“Then they'll go through the verification process that will last several weeks. From here on out will be talking to voters across the state getting ready for November.”
Supporters hope the changes will be made before the next redistricting cycle in 2020.
Independent maps tell us they are currently facing a lawsuit from the Speaker of the Illinois House, Mike Madigan, which questions its constitutionality.