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Taking Back the Maps: Campaign Aims to Stop Gerrymandering in Illinois
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2013-12-12 12:01:32

Practically speaking, there are two ways party leaders draw state-legislative districts in Illinois: domination and dumb luck.

A key phrase in that sentence is “party leaders,” because regardless of whether redistricting is accomplished through one-party rule or a name literally being drawn from a hat, it’s controlled by those with a vested interest in remaining in power – and it’s controlled by one party. Functionally, Illinois’ system is institutionalized gerrymandering.

“Republicans and Democrats want to draw the maps to protect incumbents and punish their political foes,” said Michael Kolenc, campaign director for Yes for Independent Maps (IndependentMaps.org). “We’ve seen them do it in this state. We’ve seen them do it in other states. They do it at any level that they can. And right now they have the data and the technology where they can do it very, very well – where they can slice and dice neighborhoods” to craft maps that benefit them.

Kolenc’s campaign aims to put a constitutional amendment on the November 2014 ballot that would change the way Illinois draws its state-legislative maps. (The process of drawing districts for the U.S. House of Representatives would not be affected.)


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