With the general election in November approaching fast, concern over the way political maps are drawn continues to grow among voters. Some citizens of Illinois have come together and attempted to change the way districts are drawn. Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected a petition that would have allowed an independent board to draw political districts. State Representative Avery Bourne says the way districts are drawn now could be more fair.
"The way it's done now is completely by political parties who sit there, look at which party is stronger in that area, and draw it to fit a certain legislator," she said. "(The Petition) was an initiative by citizens who collected about 600,000 signatures who said 'let's take political parties out of it. Let's give this to an independent board who will draw these districts fairly,' and I think that gives voters a fair shot too."
Representative Bourne added that the time has come for the legislature to step up to the plate and act.
"The Supreme Court has struck (the petition) down, and so I think now it's time for the legislature to act and put this into place so voters get a say."
The petition also had support from local residents.
"There were quite a few local groups that were working on it," Bourne said. "I'm sure a lot of folks signed the petition. I know I did. I was going to a county fair and they were asking for signatures. The local farm bureaus pushed really hard and got a lot of signatures for it, so there was engagement across the state for this initiative."
Though nothing has been completed in the General Assembly yet, Bourne said the initiative has had bi-partisan support.
"We actually voted on a redistricting reform proposal in the House that was sponsored by Democrat Jack Franks. It got over 100 yes votes, and then the Senate didn't call it. The Senate had their own piece of legislation that never got called in the House. It's kind of been a political football. I think if we could get everyone in a room together, certainly there would be a lot of bi-partisanship."
August 31, 2016