Champaign Co Bd Endorses Redistricting Commission.


The Champaign County Board is getting ready to create a separate commission to come up with new county board district boundaries after the new census is completed. The proposal survived vigorous debate Tuesday night at the county board's committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Backers of the Redistricting Commission say it would take the task of redrawing the county board district map out of the hands of partisan politicians. Outside of four seats for county board members, the commission would feature seven independent at-large members from diverse backgrounds - nominated by the county board chair and approved by the county board. Democratic County Board member Sam Smucker challenged the proposal --- he says the county board is best suited to redraw the district map, because it's an elected body.

"I just disagree with (the) idea that this committee, which is going to be not elected but selected, is somehow the even-handed committee" says Smucker.. "The even-handed committee is the will of the voters."

But backers like Urbana Democrat Steve Beckett say the Redistricting Commission would follow strict standards in redrawing the county map, and be free of political interference.

"Is it such a terrible idea to vote this before open in public. Where everybody can see what you're dong?" said Beckett.

The measure passed the committee-of-the-whole 16 to 8, with support from most Republicans and half the Democrats present. A final Champaign County Board vote is expected later this month.

Meanwhile, a proposal for a county board with fewer members and single member districts attracted just four speakers at a public hearing last night. Policy Committee Chairman Tom Betz says he'll schedule a 2nd hearing --- perhaps at a different location --- to gather more comment.

Story source: AP