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Redistricting effort to reboot this week

Monday, Apr 27, 2015

* Let’s hope they do better than last time. There is no doubt that we need a new, less partisan and far less goofy remap process here. From a press release…

Independent Maps, a non-partisan statewide coalition, will hold a news conference Tuesday to brief reporters on the start of a campaign to win voter approval of a state constitutional amendment creating a non-partisan independent commission responsible for drawing Illinois General Assembly districts.

The coalition will have one year to collect 290,216 valid signatures on petitions to place the Independent Map Amendment before voters in November 2016. The Independent Maps coalition will build on the statewide network of thousands of volunteers involved in the 2014 campaign for an independent redistricting commission.

WHO: Dennis FitzSimons, Chair of Independent Maps, and the coalition’s board of directors, which includes prominent members of both major political parties, as well as leaders from the clergy, academia and philanthropic organizations. FitzSimons is Chairman of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and a former Chairman and CEO of Tribune Company.

WHEN: 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 28

WHERE: Hotel Allegro, 171 W. Randolph, Cinema Room, 3rd floor, Chicago.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Excessively Rabid - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:12 am:

    ==Let’s hope they do better than last time.==
    Amen and pass the petition.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:20 am:

    Wonder if they’ll get $20 million from a front/shell group at some point.

    The ROI last time speaks for itself.

  3. - Apocalypse Now - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:41 am:

    Much hope for a successful campaign.

  4. - PublicServant - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 8:43 am:

    Is the Independent Maps group working to eliminate the gerrymandering in Republican-controlled states also? Just wonderin’.

  5. - Ray del Camino - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:03 am:

    Let’s hope they finally hire some political pros. The Illinois reform movement is well-intentioned, but its record speaks for itself.

  6. - John Parnell - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:18 am:

    Are the members supposed to be “political pros” or people who are unbiased? Good luck finding unbiased members.

  7. - Very Fed Up - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:30 am:

    This would be the greatest legacy Rauner could leave behind if we the citizens actually got to vote on this and term limits. Hard to imagine Madigans snake oil attorneys will ever let that happen though.

  8. - walker - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:30 am:

    The first thing they need to do is hold a mock trial with knowledgeable lawyers on both sides to render their best judgment on the petition language and process. The timing is right: well before the remap becomes too hot to handle. And they won’t get a 3d bite at the apple.

    Don’t they know that any association with the Tribune will label this as too partisan to be legitimate reform?

  9. - Not quite a majority - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 9:49 am:

    Just hoping they check their signatures. Last time they made it too easy to knock if off. It’s not rocket science, people!

  10. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:13 am:

    The group last time did not even ask local Republicans to pass its petitions.

  11. - Norseman - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:26 am:

    A waste of time. To get a constitutional amendment on the ballot it has to change process AND structure of General Assembly per the ISC.

  12. - Reform Republican - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    The point about the lack of GOP involvement mentioned above is spot on.

    I’m on the Change Illinois email list. It’s loaded with campaign finance, minority representation issues, voting rights, etc. Lots of liberal causes, not much about redistricting or term limits.

    Their effort last time was anemic and I tend to think mere window dressing for their more liberal agenda.

    There needs to be an independent group doing independent maps. Using Change Illinois won’t get the job done.

  13. - Jimmy CrackCorn - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:57 am:

    Interesting that this group is focused on the ONLY state that democrats were able to draw after the 2010 massacre, and subsequently pick up a few seats.

  14. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 10:58 am:

    ===Interesting that this group is focused on the ONLY state===

    It’s an Illinois group.

    Remove your tinfoil hat. The “all clear” signal has been given.

  15. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    And, Jimmy, you may quickly change your tune if Rauner is reelected. The GOP will then have a 50-50 chance of drawing the next map.

    Y’all better wake up soon.

  16. - Upon Further Review - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 12:01 pm:

    It was mildly amusing that Michael Kasper had an op-ed piece opposed to changing the redistricting process published in the Chicago Sun-Times recently. It appeared as a rebuttal to the newspaper editorial which favored changing the system. What was funny was that Kasper was not identified as a lawyer for Madigan or the Illinois State Democratic Party. He was described merely as an attorney interested in safeguarding voters’ rights.

    You would have spilled your morning coffee if you read it.

  17. - David Starrett - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 12:11 pm:

    The legislative reform agenda is pretty-much played-out until two or three other things change first. At the top of that list is the current pull-tab redistricting process.

    Republicans actually should love this idea considering that they were only able to control the House for two years after drawing their own map. Even Rauner had to admit that the current system is goofy when I mentioned it to him a few weeks ago.

    I just hope that these folks are consulting with Rich Means or someone else who actually understands the legalities of the process. The last effort was an embarrassment.

  18. - The Captain - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 12:55 pm:

    Some day when I have more free time I will write this out the long way but I don’t actually believe that had there been an independent group drawing the boundaries for the current legislative map the total number of D’s and R’s currently in the State House and State Senate would differ by all that much. The current map is favorable to Democrats no doubt, but it’s still a zero-sum game: a finite electorate with an unchanging total number of State House/State Senate districts. If you’re trying to draw a home run map to maximize the number of potential Democratic seats it requires creating a bunch of favorable Dem districts with thin margins, districts Dems should have enough to carry in a Dem wave year or a normal election. However, drawing a bunch of districts with thin Dem margins would expose them to greater than average losses in a Republican wave year. Every State House seat was up in 2014 and it was a Republican wave election (so was 2010) and yet the Dems still have a super majority in the House (and Senate).

    The current map is helpful to the Dems, but it’s not the reason there are Dem super majorities in the GA. The impact of the map is a bit overblown, other factors are at play.

  19. - David Starrett - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    I’m inclined to agree Cap’n. More competitive districts will tend to spread campaigning (and related expenditures) more widely, but anyone expecting a partisan sea-change will likely be disappointed.

    Remember, though, that this isn’t just a matter of what numbers of R’s and D’s are elected, but also which ones are elected. I would look for pretty significant changes in primary results, particularly in areas with substantial demographic changes over time.

  20. - walker - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 1:33 pm:

    Captain: Agree that this is more about public image and trust than it is about which party actually controls the legislature. It also might reduce the worry that it supports too much Leadership power.

    A more “neutral” map, might, might change three seats in the House, by my very rough estimate. Many will say that this matters in veto overrides, or with other bills requiring supermajorities, but our actual history shows otherwise. The majority caucus doesn’t vote as a bloc very often.

    Still, whatever improves public trust and perceptions of our democracy is probably worthwhile, even if it does nothing else.

  21. - The Captain - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 1:33 pm:

    Agree David, I was careful to say that the overall partisan makeup would remain similar and did not say that the individual members would remain largely unchanged for that very reason.

  22. - Bill White - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 1:34 pm:

    Last year, CapFax linked to a paper by a post-doc at Wash U in St. Louis (as I recall).

    One small point in that paper was a 2 for 1 rule. For every point over 50% the winning party can expect 2% of the legislative seats. For example, if 56% of ballots cast in all 118 Illinois House races are cast for Democrats, that party can realistically expect 62% of the seats (56 + [56-50] = 62) even with a perfectly “fair” map.

    And compared to Wisconsin the Illinois maps are supremely fair. In 2012 in WI, less than 50% of all votes cast in WI House races were cast for Republicans and yet Republicans won a decisive majority of seats.

  23. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 2:21 pm:

    Independent maps based on geographic populations should be the standard all over, but few good examples in the entire 50 States.

  24. - 1776 - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 3:23 pm:

    The “Illinois” group has again hired an out of state political consultant to run the effort. That turned out so well last time.

  25. - Upon Further Review - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 3:42 pm:

    Redistricting is an important factor in the decline of the two party system in Illinois, but as others have opined it is not the only factor.

    The moribund Republican Party is equally to blame. Madigan has been able to take the fight to districts that were once solidly in the Republican column and made many of these districts competitive.

    The absence of Republican opponents in many Cook County districts has helped make this prospecting in the suburbs and exurbia possible. The failure of Republican organizations to perform precinct work in many formerly automatic districts is another factor.

  26. - A guy - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 4:42 pm:

    Hoping someone succeeds at this.

  27. - Wordslinger - Monday, Apr 27, 15 @ 5:52 pm:

    I don’t think the map can explain Dem super-majorities and growing strength in the suburbs.

    At some point, you just have to get organized and hustle. Illinos Republicans seemed to lose their enthusiasm once they lost the SoS and guv offices and all tnose jobs.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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