Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

April 30, 2014

Ignore SpeakerMike Madigan - fair maps essential

Mike Madigan opposes the Yes for Independent Maps movement.


Of course the speaker of the House thinks it’s a bad idea to change the way Illinois draws its political boundaries.

The current system has helped make the Chicago Democrat the most powerful politician in the state. The 2011 map helped Democrats achieve veto-proof, three-fifths majorities in both the House and Senate in the 2012 elections.

However, what’s good for Madigan and Democrats is not good for Illinois.

Madigan’s recent jabs at Independent Maps probably are merely a warm-up for the fight that’s about to come. Independent Maps has more than enough signatures to put a referendum question on the November ballot. The group plans to deliver the petitions May 1. Madigan or his allies will surely challenge signatures in an effort to kill the measure.

Recently, Madigan dismissed Independent Maps as “Republican politics,” ignoring the fact that prominent Democrats support the movement. David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, is on board, as is Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon.

No one party has a patent on good ideas. Illinois arguably had its best days when there was divided government, with Democrats and Republicans working together for the benefit of Illinoisans.

The Illinois Constitution requires that once every decade, after the decennial census, legislators get together to draw political boundaries that affect House, Senate and congressional districts. The process has been required since the U.S. Supreme Court’s “one person, one vote” decision in 1964. In that landmark case, the court required that legislative districts had to represent equal numbers of people.

Every decade, districts were to be redrawn based on the new census figures.

The referendum question that we hope makes it on the November ballot would amend the constitution so a nonpartisan commission could draw political boundaries after the 2020 census.

It will be up to you whether that referendum question turns into law. November is a long way away, and we’re sure you’ll hear Madigan and others who benefit from the current system offer reasons to vote no.

(Peoria) Journal Star

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