Group Trying Again To Reform Redistricting

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, speaks at a House committee hearing at the Capitol in Springfield, Ill.

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan has criticized the plan for redistricting as an attempt by Republicans to grab power.

Seth Perlman/AP

A group pushing for redistricting reform in the state of Illinois is trying for a second time to get an intiative on the ballot.  Brian Moline talked with Cindi Canary, the Executive Director of Independent Maps.

In Illinois, redistricting is currently done by the state legislature, with the governor having the opportunity to veto.  Canary said that when one party is in power, the process becomes overly partisan.

"Their primary goal in drawing this map is to protect incumbents and to protect partisan advantage," she said.

Canary said that although a judge threw out the initiative that would have appeared on the November 2014 ballot, the decision gave the group valuable feedback.

"The judge who struck that wrote a very lengthy decision and talked about the fact that redistricting was fair game for the ballot under our constitution," she said, "but that the initiative had to be crafted more narrowly."

Canary said criticism that the ballot initiative could disenfranchise minority voters is incorrect.

"I would actually say the opposite is true," she said.  "This initiative puts forward first and foremost compliance with the Federal Voting Rights Act.  It would actually embed that in the Illinois constitution."

Canary is speaking at 7pm Tuesday on the University of Illinois campus.  She will appear at the Animal Sciences Laboratory, located at 1207 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana.

Story source: WILL