Illinois Redistricting Referendum Won’t Appear On Ballot

August 25, 2016
 In this April 28, 2015 file photo, former Tribune Company CEO Dennis FitzSimons who is part of the group, Independent Map Amendment speaks at a news conference in Chicago.

In this April 28, 2015 file photo, former Tribune Company CEO Dennis FitzSimons who is part of the group, Independent Map Amendment speaks at a news conference in Chicago.

Sophia Tareen/Associated Press

The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled a voter referendum seeking to change the system Illinois uses to draw political boundaries is unconstitutional, meaning it can't appear on the November ballot.  The ruling Thursday affirms a Cook County judge's decision that the proposal doesn't meet constitutional muster. A county judge rejected a similar signature-driven effort in 2014.

The Independent Maps coalition, a group of bipartisan business leaders and former elected officials, gathered petitions calling for an 11-member commission to be in charge of drawing legislative district lines. Currently, the party in power runs political mapmaking.
 
The legal challenge was brought by an attorney linked to top Democrats. It was filed on behalf of minority business and community leaders who claimed the proposed system would diminish minority representation.

Gov. Bruce Rauner released a statement Thursday.

“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," he said. “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. Legislative districts should represent people based upon the community where they live. Politicians should not pick their voters by drawing spaghetti-like district lines with the sole intent of keeping one party in power regardless of how the people vote."

Story source: AP