Editorials

Slaying the Illinois gerrymander with a mighty pen

Metro-east state legislative districts show classic gerrymandering, grouping populations with little common interest other than keeping incumbents in power.
Metro-east state legislative districts show classic gerrymandering, grouping populations with little common interest other than keeping incumbents in power. Provided

Thank Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry, who in 1812 drew political districts to favor his candidates that were so distorted that they resembled a salamander. The term “gerrymander” was born, and continues as a proud tradition held dear by our own state lawmakers.

Look at our congressional map or state legislative maps: Not only do they look like the classic gerrymander, but the writhing seems to be working to beget future generations of gerrymanders. Collinsville is carved up by three different U.S. representative districts. Lebanon and East St. Louis residents’ state concerns are treated as one. Belleville and Brooklyn issues are treated the same way.

There is hope that the gerrymander could become extinct in Illinois. Independent Maps is a bipartisan coalition pushing to amend the state constitution so state legislative districts are drawn by an independent commission. Unfortunately they can’t change the way congressional maps are drawn through an amendment.

The group only needs 290,216 signatures from Illinois voters for a constitutional amendment, and they have reached the 300,000 mark. Still, they intend to collect double that, or 600,000 valid signatures from Illinois voters, because they know the folks in Springfield will challenge every signature that challenges their ability to hold on to power.

You can help create the tidal wave that can wash Illinois clean. MapAmendment.org is where you can obtain copies of the petition and instruction so that your petition is challenge-proof.

Unhappy with Springfield’s inability to do anything but spend more of your money? Send them a message wrapped in a constitutional amendment.

  Comments