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March 22, 2014

Mapping out accountability

Election season calls attention to Illinois’ gerrymandered legislative districts, and how there needs to be a better way for drawing them. Now districts are drawn not for the people but rather the politicians. The maps are the main reason there will be so few competitive legislative races in Illinois in November. Districts are drawn so the candidate from the party in power — currently the Democrats — is often the sure winner. It’s no wonder incumbents are so complacent and Illinois so corrupt. Most lawmakers can vote for tax increases, put off action on pressing problems and behave badly and not have to worry about getting voted out of office. This year, there’s a chance to change all this. The group Yes for Independent Maps is circulating petitions and collecting signatures to get this issue on the ballot in November. If approved, an 11-person commission would be selected to draw the maps in the open after the next census — a huge improvement from party leaders drawing the maps in secret. We’d have boundaries that made sense and in many cases resulted in competitive districts. Yes for Independent Maps needs to collect nearly 300,000 signatures by the end of April to get this issue on the ballot. If you want to help circulate petitions or simply want to learn more about this idea, the group’s website is independentmaps.org  . If you wish Illinois’ politicians were accountable to the people, this is a great place to start.

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