Yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court blocked a November ballot proposal that would have given voters the chance establish a new way to draw legislative voting districts. On a 4-3 decision starkly divided along political party lines, the current Democratic majority on the Supreme Court deemed the measure to be unconstitutional and therefore couldn’t be voted on at all.
Illinois Corn has been a vocal advocate and supporter of the proposed Independent Map initiative. The measure would have established a multi-step process, including an 11-person independent board made up of both parties, independents, and registered voters. The board would draw new boundaries based on the federal census. The newly-drawn boundaries would have been made available to the public for comment and criticism after districting and would have required a seven-person majority vote for approval. Read more about the Independent Map amendment here.
Critics of the current mapping guidelines argue that it favors so-called career politicians that have established political power in the Illinois General Assembly. The Chicago Tribune highlights the issue that critics point to, explaining “lawmakers get to draw up a new map that is subject to approval of the governor. That's what happened after the 2010 census, when the Democrat-controlled legislature drew a map signed by then-Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.” Therefore, it’s an all-or-nothing system that favors the political party in power following the census taken every decade.
Further, others argue that this could be a reinforcing cycle in which Democrats are able to continue to benefit from the process because they are afforded the opportunity to craft the districts that would conceivably help them win again.
Governor Rauner echoed these concerns saying, "Today's court decision to deny Illinoisans the right to vote on a redistricting referendum does nothing to stem the outflow or change people's views of how the system is rigged and corrupt. When the General Assembly reconvenes this fall, they should put political reform — term limits and independent redistricting — at the top of the legislative agenda so that incumbents aren't locked into power and democracy is restored through competitive general elections.”