LOCAL FOOTBALL SCORING UPDATES PRESENTED BY THE HUNGRY HOBO:

Group pushes to put redistricting map on 2014 ballot


Share
Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2013, 6:08 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com
MOLINE -- A campaign is underway to to take redistricting in Illinois out of the hands of politicians.

A coalition called Yes for Independent maps is working to collect 298,000 signatures to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot in November 2014.

If approved, the amendment would create an independent commission that would draw political boundaries after each census.

Supporters says the commission would help to end gerrymandering and reduce the power of incumbents.

At present, the party that's in power in Springfield after a census controls the way boundaries are drawn to create the map for Illinois House, Senate and congressional districts. This allows the dominant party to draw boundaries in ways that suit their candidates.

The constitutional amendment proposed by Yes for Independent Maps would create an 11-member commission to draw the electoral map. The amendment would not affect congressional districts or local maps.

Any Illinois citizen could apply to join the redistricting commission.

A nonpartisan applicant review panel appointed by the Auditor General would eliminate applicants with conflicts of interest, such as lobbyists or public officials.

A lottery would then be used to select commissioners to create a a group of two Democrats, two Republicans, and three unaffiliated with either party, all proportionally representing Illinois' five judicial districts.

The four top legislative leaders in Illinois would each appoint one commissioner from the remaining pool. Commission meetings and records would be open to the public.

Yes for Independent Maps director Michael Kolenc said the system is modeled on one in use now in California.

"People really believe Springfield is broken and this is a way to fix it," he said. "More competitive elections with maps drawn in a fair and transparent way will create better government."

Districts would have to contiguous and respect the geographic integrity of cities, towns, and other units of local government.

Mr. Kolenc said Yes for Independent Maps plans to run a "multimillion dollar campaign to get this on the ballot."

The coalition already has started an aggressive campaign to collect 298,000 signatures by the May 4 deadline to get the amendment on the ballot, he said.

One local supporter of the project is Coal Valley Republican precinct committeeman Dennis English who is helping collect signatures for the petition drive.

"The system we have now reduces the number of competitive elections in Illinois," Mr. English said. "Whether it's Republicans or Democrats, they shouldn't be allowed to carve out voters for themselves."

Mr. Kolenc believes the campaign has broad bipartisan support. But he said there is strong opposition to a project from those who benefit from keeping political control of redistricting.

"We fully believe that people who benefit from the status quo will fight this," Mr. Kolenc said.

State Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, said he'd like to see details of the plan for independent redistricting before he could support it.

"I don't have a problem with the way they do it now," he said.

Supporters of Yes for Independent Maps include Republican state treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Dan Rutherford and David Axelrod, a Democrat who has worked as a top adviser to President Barack Obama. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Latino Policy Forum also support the campaign.





On the web
independentmaps.org














 



Local events heading








  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.






(More History)