Redistricting Constitutional Amendment in the Works for 2014
By Chris Slaby
A grassroots group says it is almost done with a plan that would change who draws Illinois legislators’ districts.
Lawmakers currently draw the lines, but “Change Illinois!” proposes creating an independent, 11-member board to fill that role.
Changing how Illinois does redistricting would require amending the Illinois constitution, so “Change Illinois!” will need to collect 300,000 signatures in support of its effort to get their proposal on the next ballot.
If the petition drive is successful, Illinois voters would get the final say in the 2014 General Election.
“Change Illinois!” President Ryan Blitstein said too many General Assembly races have become uncompetitive.
“In two-thirds of House districts, we’re in a situation where there is no challenger," Blitstein said. "So we don’t whether the voters are happy with the legislators that they’ve got because they don’t get a chance at the voting booth on Election Day to make that decision.”
Previous attempts to change how legislative districts are drawn have come up short, as legislators like drawing their maps themselves.
Incumbent legislators tend to be protective of the current method. Because they control both chambers of the General Assembly and the governor’s office, Democrats controlled the most recent redistricting process.
“Something’s going on here when the people aren’t happy, and yet the same legislators are winning again and again and again,” Blitstein said.