News Local/State

“Fair Maps” Group Gets Some Latitude In Fight For Ballot Spot


A struggling effort to change how Illinois draws its legislative districts will live another day. On Tuesday, state election authorities voted to give it some extra time to prove it deserves to make it on the November ballot.

Supporters were joyous last month when a semi-truck pulled into the state board of elections' parking lot in Springfield.

A campaign to overhaul the state's redistricting process was dropping off a 27-foot-long document, filled with a half million signatures. But elections officials say after reviewing a sampling of them, not enough of the signatures are valid.

The latest action means the so-called "fair map" group will get more time to try to prove them wrong.

The group's waiting to get back information from local clerks on whether the petition names are eligible to vote as required by law.

The redistricting campaign's director, Michael Kolenc, said he's still confident.

"We worked over the last eight months, in a very methodic way, to collect good signatures," Kolenc said. "And it's because of a backroom process, an uneven, rushed process, that it had gotten to this point. It's unfortunate, but it's okay. Because we have time now to produce the evidence to show that we're going to get on the ballot. That's really what we needed. We needed that time because going through these signatures, verifying certified voter registration cards, is time-consuming, to say the least."

The redistricting effort, and another one which officials found did have the requisite number of voter signatures, could still be doomed. They are both facing court challenges, seeking to knock them off the ballot.

Oral arguments on the proposals' constitutionality are scheduled to be heard Wednesday in Chicago. The second ballot initiative would limit legislators' terms.