Politics & Government

After Supreme Court decision, Illinois governor weighs in on gerrymandered districts

A day after the U.S. Supreme Court declared that federal judges have no role in settling disputes over partisan gerrymandering, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker reiterated his campaign promises about the drawing of legislative districts.

“As I’ve said since I was a candidate, I will veto any map that is unfair,” Pritzker said at a news conference on Friday where he spoke about the state’s capital bill. “It’s the right thing to do. We’re going to have to make sure that here in Illinois we’re not gerrymandering, that we’re drawing maps that are fair and competitive. That’s what’s best for the voters of the state, that they have choices when they go to the ballot.”

Pritzker will be responsible for signing off or vetoing state legislative and congressional district maps after the 2020 Census is complete. The map making process is controlled by the legislature, and then the governor has to sign off. Democrats have controlled the legislature since the mid-1990s.

State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, has called on Pritzker to support the Fair Maps amendment, which calls for a non-partisan group to draw the legislative maps in the state.

“A healthy democracy requires competitive elections and new ideas, which is in the people’s best interest,” Brady said in a news release. “Our current system, which gives the party in power ultimate authority to redraw legislative maps, inhibits that. As a result, I am calling on the Illinois Senate President to ensure this measure gets called for a vote, and for the Governor to follow through with his pledge to support fair maps in Illinois. We need to take the power of drawing legislative maps away from politicians and put it in the hands of the people.”

Joseph Bustos is the state affairs and politics reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, where he strives to hold elected officials accountable and provide context to decisions they make. He has won multiple awards from the Illinois Press Association for coverage of sales tax referenda.