The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 19, 2014

Pull politics out of districts

The Commercial-News

---- — Anyone who looks at a map of districts within the Illinois House of Representatives can tell much thought and effort went into configuring the districts — to be sure they favor whichever party happened to be in the majority at the time. As an example, there are all or parts of three House districts and two Senate districts within Vermilion County.

Illinois law requires the General; Assembly to redraw House and Senate districts after every federal census. The practice, in reality, becomes nothing more than a way to lock in incumbents by drawing the districts’ boundaries in their favor.

A group recently organized to change all of that. They want to place the Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment on the ballot to pull the task of redrawing the legislative districts and hand it to an independent, transparent and non-partisan 11-person commission. More information is available at the group’s website, independent Former Gov. Jim Edgar has tossed his support behind the effort.

As more of the state’s population concentrates in the area around Chicago, downstate areas will find it more and more difficult to be heard in Springfield. This effort to create fair, non-partisan legislative districts that keep local government units — such as cities — intact as much as possible, would help.

This effort deserves the public’s support.