The voices of Illinois voters stand to increase in volume significantly if an effort to pull a big piece of political power out of the hands of the General Assembly works as its supporters hope.
A group called Yes for Independent Maps filed petitions Thursday with the Illinois Board of Elections in Springfield with more than 500,000 signatures — more than twice the number needed — to allow an independent commission to draw boundaries for Illinois House and Senate districts.
The state goes through the process every 10 years, and the party in power at the time — it really doesn’t matter which one it is — can slide boundary lines all over the place until they create legislative districts most beneficial to its members.
What’s nice for the politicians, however, leaves out the most important part of the electoral process — the voters. While the gerrymandered boundaries help the same people be elected time after time, it can fracture common concerns among residents. For example, parts of Vermilion County are in three House districts and two Senate districts. That kind of self-serving political maneuvering muffles what could be a loud, united view from local residents.
Democrats, who happen to be the majority party in the House and Senate, call the ballot effort a “power grab” by Republicans. If roles were reversed, it would the the GOP’s representatives calling it a “power grab” by the Democrats.
Illinois lawmakers don;t want voters involved in their fun in Springfield. They’ve already knocked down an attempt to put the idea of term limits up for a vote, they are creating all sorts of horrific scenarios to build support to expend the state’s “temporary” income tax increase and they simply ignored a proposal to allow voters to decide on a progressive income tax plan.