Pushing for ‘fair maps,’ lawmakers file amendment, aim to combat gerrymandering

State News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — An ongoing contentious issue about fair congressional districts in the state is back in the spotlight.

The state’s in jeopardy of losing one to two seats in the house because of a loss in population. New districts will be mapped at the conclusion of the 2020 Census. This brings into question gerrymandering and how to create fair and balanced districts.

Thursday at Bradley University, State Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) showed his support of the Fair Maps Amendment. It’s a comprehensive reform of the state’s redistricting rules. Illinois legislators and government activists from communities all across the state held a network of news conferences to show their support for the Fair Maps Amendment, filed in the Illinois General Assembly.

In addition to Rep. Spain, Constance Romanus of the Greater Peoria League of Women Voters and Brad McMillan, Co-Chair of CHANGE Illinois, spoke at today’s News Conference.  They were joined by several Bradley University students advocating for more Fair Maps for their future.

The republican Representative says this amendment would remove politicians and sitting legislators from drawing their own districts.

If we want responsible and ethical government, if we want competitive elections, if we want bipartisan cooperation coming together earnestly to solve problems, then we want fair maps. It is the critical transformation for the future of this state of Illinois and all voters in Illinois deserve a say in weighing in on this topic in the November election.

State Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria)

This amendment would:

  1. Remove politicians and sitting legislators from drawing their own districts.
  2. Establish an independent redistricting commission to draw maps that are comprised of citizens who demographically, politically, and geographically represent our state.
  3. Protect the constitutional rights of communities of color to elect representatives of their
    choosing.
  4. Add sunshine and transparency by requiring the release of all communications made by the commission along with any data used to create and propose any and all maps.
  5. Give the public the opportunity to participate in the process by requiring at least 30 public hearings on the maps before a final vote is taken. Members of the public will have the ability to comment on proposed maps and submit their own.

67% of voters want an independent commission to draw our legistlative maps after the next census. We should start to end corruption in Illinois by ending gerrymandering. Politicians picking their voters clearly is the epitome of conflict of interest. When politicians are protected by rigged maps, some of them come to believe that they can simply act with impunity.

Brad McMillan, Co-Chair of CHANGE Illinois

Under the Fair Maps Amendment, the current system – which empowers legislators to draw partisan, gerrymandered districts – would be overturned. Instead, an independent redistricting commission would be chosen to draw the district maps for the Illinois Senate and House. Citizen commission members would be carefully selected to represent everyone who lives in Illinois, instead of placing power over district lines in the hands of politicians who have a vested interest in protecting their own careers.

“The people of Illinois overwhelmingly support redistricting reform,” said Madeleine Doubek, executive director of CHANGE Illinois. “An independent poll by SIU’s Paul Simon Institute found 67 percent of Illinois voters want an independent commission to draw our legislative lines. The people of Illinois understand that we can’t have honest government and hold politicians accountable if we don’t have truly competitive elections that restore power to the people.”

Democrat Costa Howard held a news conference in Lombard to announce her chief sponsorship of the Fair Maps Amendment.

“The first step in rebuilding people’s trust in government is assuring voters that their elections are honest and that their voices are heard,” said Costa Howard. “By filing this amendment today, we are beginning a statewide conversation about the meaning of fairness and the importance of truly representative government.”

“I became a legislator after a close, hard-fought general election. Being a member of one party or another wasn’t the determining factor in who would get elected. We should never take voters for granted,” said Bush, the Senate’s chief sponsor and a Democrat who led the Chicago event. “The Fair Maps Amendment will ensure that people in every district are represented by someone willing to put in the hard work to reach voters and build strong, lasting coalitions. Let’s have people, not parties, decide who their elected officials will be.”

For more information, please call:

CHANGE Illinois
Madeleine Doubek
(904) 404-2179 mdoubek@changeil.org

State Representative Terra Costa Howard’s Office State Representative Ryan Spain’s Office
Elizabeth Austin Ryan Spain
(708) 912-2247 (309) 690-7373 elizabeth.austin19@gmail.com ryan.spain@gmail.com

State Senator Melinda Bush’s Office State Senator John F. Curran’s Office
Lexie Henning John F. Curran
(217) 782-0591 (630) 796-2623 lhenning@senatedem.ilga.gov senatedistrict41@gmail.com

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