Guest Editorial: League of Women Voters supports Illinois Fair Map Amendment

By on February 18, 2010

by Kimberley Haag
Co-President
Leage of Women Voters,
Geneva/St. Charles

The League of Women Voters of Geneva-St. Charles has launched a drive to win support for the Illinois Fair Map Amendment. In celebration of the League of Women Voters 90th birthday, the local group has set a goal of getting 900 petition signatures for the Fair Map Amendment in nine weeks.

This measure, in the form of an amendment to the Illinois constitution, would change the process for drawing up the districts from which state legislators are elected. Illinois House and Senate district boundaries are redrawn every 10 years, following the completion of the U.S. Census.

“The current system of district map drawing is politically driven, producing gerrymandered districts designed to favor one party over the other,” said Janet Craft, co-president of the league, adding that “The Illinois Fair Map Amendment would move the power away from the State Legislature and closer to the people.”

The Fair Map Amendment places the power to redraw district maps with an independent, nine-member commission. None of the commission members can be a lobbyist, lawmaker, public official, state contractor, state employee or immediate family member of any of those positions. The commission would be guided by stringent, established criteria.

The amendment also ensures greater transparency. Meetings of the commission would be open and would invite the public to propose maps as well. Ultimately the General Assembly would vote on the proposed maps. A two-thirds majority would be required in both the Senate and the House. If the General Assembly fails to approve the proposed map, an alternative is provided by the Commission. If the alternative map is not approved, the commission will have the authority to decide.

In addition to the League of Women Voters, the amendment is supported by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Farm Bureau, Better Government Association, Common Cause—Illinois, and Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

“Anyone who is interested in reducing corruption in Illinois should sign a petition for the Fair Map Amendment,” stated Kim Haag, League co-president. She added, “Our members will be reaching out to friends, neighbors, organizations, and the general public to explain the amendment and ask for signatures.”

Statewide, the goal is to obtain 500,000 signatures by April 15 to assure that the amendment is placed on the November ballot.

For additional information or to sign a petition, contact the League of Women Voters of Geneva-St. Charles, www.lwvgenstc.org.

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