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Not everyone is on the same page

Monday, Jul 8, 2019

* Better Government Association president David Greising in Crain’s

At the end of the redistricting process, Pritzker will be the one politician in the state who actually could prevent a gerry-Madiganed map from becoming Illinois law. Sometime in 2021, Pritzker alone will have the power to refuse to sign the bill proposing the new electoral districts. […]

Pritzker so far has talked a good game. He has promised to veto an “unfair” map. But what exactly does the governor mean by this pledge? In his eyes, what are the characteristics of a “fair” map? And what specific shortcomings might prevent him from approving one drawn by the state Legislature?

So far, Pritzker has refused to say. And his spokeswoman declines to provide any comment in response to my request for further information.

A “gerry-Madiganed map”? Clever, but Senate President John Cullerton might take umbrage at that. He loves him some map-making.

Also, as I’ve pointed out several times before, I asked all candidates last year if they would veto a map drawn by the General Assembly. Pritzker said he would. The definitions are in my question and Pritzker added some more details in his response. Click here to read it for yourself.

* What I haven’t pointed out since the primary is Chris Kennedy’s response

Our campaign is proud to have Ra Joy, a prominent independent maps advocate, on our ticket. With that in mind, no, it would be irresponsible to take an absolute pledge like this because it fails to take into account the situation which may exist at a time of passage.

Kennedy’s campaign devised that response in consultation with running mate Ra Joy, who ran Change Illinois, a good government group that pushed hard for remap reform. I talked to Ra after Kennedy submitted his response, and he was adamant about not making any veto pledges.

* Daniel Biss, also a noted reformer, refused to sign on to a veto pledge as well

Instead of pledging to veto — which is self-defeating and shows how inexperienced candidates would back themselves into a corner because they are unable to advance an agenda constructively — as governor, I would advocate for a true independent redistricting process.

At the time I created the candidate question, I thought for sure that the often-cautious Pritzker would refuse to take a solid stand and Kennedy and Biss would most certainly sign on to the veto pledge. In my own mind, I was deliberately setting a trap for Pritzker. Boy, was I ever wrong.

We’ll see how this all shakes out.

And it’s the job of reformers to complain. I get that. But I also think it’s important to note that not everybody agrees on what is and what isn’t a proper reform.

* Meanwhile, on another topic, Chris Mooney does a pretty good job of outlining both sides of this argument

University of Illinois Chicago politics professor Chris Mooney said he doesn’t expect the appointment process to change.

“It advantages those who are inside and if they’re the only ones paying attention, who has the incentive to change? No one,” Mooney said. “And there are reasonable counter-arguments to make.”

One reason to keep the appointment process in place is the high cost of special elections, Mooney said.

“You want to run a special election for a state representative district that’s going to serve out a year when nobody really knows who these people are anyway? That would be a hard sell,” Mooney said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

8 Comments »
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 1:07 pm:

    Making Madigan the boogeyman gave MJM the largest majority he’s had being Speaker.

    Dear David Greising,

    The voters rejected Rauner, not the Illinois Democrats.

    Keep up.


  2. - PJ - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 1:36 pm:

    Gerrymandering sucks. Another thing that sucks is that, across the country, Republicans are the largest beneficiaries of it. The idea that Democrats should unilaterally disarm is ridiculous. I’m sorry, but “let’s set an example and hope the Republicans in 10 other states are goodhearted enough to follow suit one day” is just not gonna get it done for me.


  3. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    ===A “gerry-Madiganed map”? Clever, but Senate President John Cullerton might take umbrage at that. ===

    So a Johnny-Madiganed map?


  4. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 1:58 pm:

    I would still like us to consider a “nuclear” option: fold the current House into the Senate with 177 senators, and then implement a House selected via sortition as a statistically representative check-and-balance on the elected Senate. If the House members had a reasonable stipend, time commitment, and training, they could provide a fresh-but-knowledgeable perspective to the professional legislators in the Senate. Campaign finance and gerrymandering, meanwhile, will have less impact since they now only matter in determining half the GA.


  5. - Roman - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 2:18 pm:

    Preserving African-American seats in the face of steep declines in Chicago’s black population is gonna be a huge challenge no matter who draws the map. African-American legislators are very worried about this and they trust Madigan and Cullerton to protect them way more than they trust the “Fair Maps” goo-goos. (Want proof? Check out Sen Morrison’s Con Amendment resolution. She’s lined-up a bipartisan supermajority of the chamber as cosponsors, but not a single black member and only one Latina has signed on.)

    That complicates matters for Pritzker all the more. Preserving minority voting rights might end up giving him the political wiggle room he needs to go back on his veto threat.


  6. - 62656 - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 3:33 pm:

    thechampaignlife, how would sorition work? Would you allow all voters in the state to make themselves available for selection by random draw to the House or would you randomly choose voters & then see if they are willing to become House members? Would there be districts with one voter chosen at random or one statewide pool to draw from?


  7. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 4:18 pm:

    @62656:

    The details could be worked out. I would advocate for a statewide pool to be most representative and eliminate the chance of gerrymandering, but districts could work if you could keep it from getting gerrymandered. I would also advocate for choosing from all voters, with a process to excuse people who cannot serve, similar to the process for jury duty.


  8. - Chicagonk - Monday, Jul 8, 19 @ 5:25 pm:

    The flip-side to the special election argument is that there would be fewer mid-term retirements if congressmen and women couldn’t effectively appoint their successor.


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