In spite of overwhelming bipartisan support for a fair maps process in Illinois, Illinoisans have once again been denied the opportunity to vote on whether or not the map-making process should be removed from the hands of politicians. The deadline for putting such a measure on the November 6 ballot was Sunday, May 6.
Article XIV of the Illinois Constitution requires a minimum six-month window between when a constitutional amendment ballot referendum is approved by three-fifths of both chambers of the General Assembly and the next General Election. Consequently, there will be no “Fair Maps” referendum on the November 6 ballot this year.
State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove), who co-sponsored two pieces of fair maps legislation this year, said the lack of legislative action points to a desire by some in Springfield to put politics ahead of good policy. “I am extremely disappointed that yet another year will pass when voters are denied an opportunity to vote on fair maps for Illinois,” said Olsen. “When my constituents ask me what they can do to help turn the state around, I suggest they educate themselves on how legislative maps are drawn in this state and encourage them to get behind an initiative that removes opportunities for gerrymandering and ensures a fair and transparent map process.”
Olsen is a co-sponsor of HJRCA 46, which would provide for the creation of an independent legislative redistricting commission that would lead a detailed review process of maps submitted by any Illinoisan who would wish to suggest a map. The commission, appointed equally by the four legislative leaders from the Republican and Democratic caucuses, would provide the public with necessary data and tools with which to create map proposals, and a multi-faceted scoring rubric would be used to rank all submissions with higher scores generated by maps that keep municipalities and counties together and which are compact in nature.
He is also a co-sponsor of HR 995<http://ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=995&GAID=14&GA=100&DocTypeID=HR&LegID=112412&SessionID=91>, which expresses support for independent redistricting reform and advocates for a non-partisan map-making process for the upcoming redistricting cycle. Both proposals would have applied to redistricting beginning in 2021 for the elections to be held in 2022.
Olsen posted an online petition<http://www.ilhousegop.org/redistricting> for those who oppose gerrymandered legislative maps and support a fair maps process, and encourages all Illinoisans who support fair maps to sign it.