Sunday, October 18, 2015

Illinois: Quinn's former lt guv supports redistricting reform

Four years ago Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, signed into law a geometrically horrifying partisan remap created by two other Chicago Democrats, state House speaker Michael Madigan and state Senate president John Cullerton.

Not only did that decennial redistricting enshrine veto-proof Democratic supermajorites, it arguably harmed democracy in the Land of Lincoln.

Quinn's successor, Republican reformer Bruce Rauner, is insisting on redistricting reform as he negotiates a budget with the two Democrats who helped put Illinois into its fiscal sinkhole. While the issues are on the surface unrelated, a fair remap process can transform the General Assembly a legislative body instead of a Soviet style rubber stamp collective.

In an op-ed for the Southern Illinoisan, Quinn's lieutenant governor declares her support for redistricting reform trumpeted by Independent Maps.
Independent Maps is a non-partisan coalition of civic leaders and members of both major political parties, as well as independents. Several civic organizations support the amendment, including AARP Illinois, the Illinois Farm Bureau, and the League of Women Voters of Illinois.

The partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts benefits the party in control of the map-drawing. It happens in Illinois when Republicans draw the maps and when Democrats draw the maps. As a result, legislators pick the voters they want to represent, instead of voters picking the legislator they want to represent them in Springfield.

Largely because of partisan map-drawing, nearly 60 percent of legislators elected last year didn't face an opponent on the ballot. Voters had no choice.
Madigan and Cullerton are on the wrong side of history.

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