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*** UPDATED x3 *** This just in… Yes for Independent Maps Withdraws Redistricting Petitions

Friday, Jun 27, 2014

* From a press release…

Yes for Independent Maps on Friday withdrew its petitions seeking a referendum on a constitutional amendment to remove politics from the process of drawing legislative district boundary lines. Deborah Harrington, Chair of Yes for Independent Maps, issued the following statement after Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mikva’s ruling prohibiting the State Board of Elections from taking any further actions on the petitions:

In her ruling, Judge Mikva held that the redistricting initiative as written does not fall within the scope of a ballot initiative permitted by Section 3, Article XIV of the Constitution. The good news is that Judge Mikva concluded that “redistricting appears to be fair game for amendment” by a ballot initiative process and specifically upheld many of the components of the redistricting initiative.

We have concluded that we are not going to proceed in this election cycle. Instead, we will put the lessons learned in this campaign and from the judge’s ruling to good use. This experience will make us better prepared to win the next campaign to give voters an opportunity to have a voice in the redistricting process.

We built an unprecedented bipartisan statewide coalition of more than 5,000 volunteers and 1,000 contributors, including groups as broad-based as AARP Illinois, the League of Women Voters of Illinois, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and grassroots organizations representing diverse and minority communities. Together, we will continue the fight to reform an issue that once mattered only to politicians but now is on the minds of Illinois citizens.

The reform would not have taken effect until after the 2020 Census. We still have at least two more statewide elections – in 2016 and 2018 – to bring a redistricting amendment before voters and an opportunity to revise the language to address Judge Mikva’s objections.

Redistricting reform elsewhere in America has been just as difficult. For example, California’s recent reform required three attempts before it became reality. We remain committed to changing the status quo and enacting a redistricting process that will give Illinoisans a stronger voice in how their state is governed.

My bet is that the problems with their petitions had more to do with it. They have tons of money, why not fight on in the courts if their petitions were soild?

*** UPDATE 1 *** The remappers’ press release deeply undercuts the argument by supporters of Bruce Rauner’s term limits case that this was a politicized court decision.

Let’s review, shall we?

On the one hand, the State Board of Elections was allegedly “evil” because they were just doing their job when finding serious faults with the remap reform petitions, but on the other hand the Board OK’d Rauner’s term limits petitions.

On the one hand, Judge Mikva is the handmaiden of the “combine” for striking down these two initatives today, but on the other hand the remappers didn’t disagree with her opinion.

Of course, screamers are gonna scream and professional victims are gonna claim they were victimized.

As such, I’m sure the Tribune editorial board (comprised of the shrillest screamers and the most professional of all Illinois political victims) will have no problems reconciling this extreme cognitive dissonance in its own collective mind - whatever’s left of it, that is.

*** UPDATE 2 *** I told subscribers last week that Mike Kasper’s crew had found about 20,000 duplicated signatures in their review. This is from Rick Pearson

Just a few days ago, attorneys for the opponents [of the remap reform effort] headed up by Michael Kasper, who has longtime ties to Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, laid out a series of claims that they found numerous examples of repeat signatures in violation of state law, incomplete information from petition circulators and even a few cases where nearly entire pages appeared to be duplicated, with identical names in the identical order. That is a telltale sign of “round-tabling,” a time-dishonored tradition in which people sit around a table and take turns signing petitions, choosing names out of a phone book or just making them up.

But, yeah. The State Board of Elections is evil.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Sun-Times editorial

(M)any of the board of election questions appear legitimate. The questioning was not all about politics, as some have suggested.

I’d go further and say it wasn’t at all about politics. If you’re not registered to vote, your signature doesn’t count. Period. No arguing. If you’re signing dozens of times, they don’t count, either. If somebody is signing for you, it doesn’t count.

There’s absolutely nothing subjective about that whatsoever. The only subjective objections dealt with 12 percent of those rejected, and the Board of Elections has a reputation for being quite lenient on that particular issue (Chicago is just the reverse). So if the state board said those were illegible signatures/addresses to the point where they couldn’t figure out who the heck signed them, then it’s pretty likely that the signatures weren’t legible. Same goes for matching petition signatures with voter registration signatures. The city is known for being hugely picky, the state is not.

The cold, hard fact is the remappers had no chance with that flawed stack of petitions they submitted.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

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