Independent Map for Illinois

October  31, 2013

     A campaign is underway to change state government in Illinois. This fall, a group called "Yes for Independent Maps" began collecting signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot next year that would take re-districting away from politicians and give it to an independent commission.

     One of the organizers is Michael Kolenc from Chicago. He says if approved the amendment would set up a commission every ten years of democrats, republicans, and independents to re-draw congressional and legislative boundaries.

     "They'll be able to craft a map that really looks at actual boundaries - that works to keep communities of interest together, be they social or economic. That protects the voting rights act. That doesn't draw a map based on politics or where any one person lives."

     And rather than the current system in Illinois that lets the politicians choose their voters, this would let voters choose their politicians.

     Kolenc says the proposal is based on the change California made in its redistricting process, that went into effect ahead of last year's election. 

     "And you know they saw more competitive elections. They saw Sacramento actually moving legislation. Regardless of political persuasion, it created more accountable government and competitive elections where the voters were actually in charge rather than political leaders."

     To get on the ballot a year from now, Kolenc has to gather at least 298,000 petition signatures by next May. Volunteers started working around Illinois in September, and he says so far signatures are being gathered on at least 10,000 petitions.