Lawmakers introduce "fair maps" amendment - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Lawmakers introduce "fair maps" amendment

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WSIL -- Illinois lawmakers propose a change to how the state draws it's legislative districts.

"The ultimate authority in Illinois is the party in power, and it's time to change that system," Sen. Bill Brady, (R) Bloomington, said at a press conference Wednesday.

Supporters of the constitutional amendment, like Brady, say it will create a fairer election process.

It would create a bipartisan panel to draw legislative districts after the next Census count in 2020.

Right now, lawmakers are in charge, giving the Democratic majority the ability to draw lines without much opposition.

"I think the people of Illinois will speak out," Brady said. "They are tired of (lawmakers) gerrymandering their districts."

Gerrymandering is the process of drawing district lines to benefit one party and Illinois has been cited as an extreme case, especially some of the Congressional districts in Chicago.

"It makes it hard for outsiders and newcomers to win in that circumstance," political analyst John Jackson of SIU's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute said.

Jackson also said gerrymandering also leads to partisan politics.

"There are so many deep-red districts versus so many deep-blue districts and those districts are where you get the polarization as opposed to the competitive districts," Jackson said.

Change won't be easy.

First, supporters have to put the issue on the ballot for voters to decide and the amendment needs to get 60 percent of the vote in order to pass.

Jackson said it'll be difficult to get done before the 2020 election, especially since it requires lawmakers to give up some power, but it's not impossible.

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