Legislative leaders failed to give you the option of creating an independent commission to draw district maps, but your reaching out to lawmakers did make a difference.
Sunday, May 6th, was the deadline for the Fair Maps Amendments ( HJRCA 43 and SJRCA 26) to pass the Illinois General Assembly in order to appear on the November 2018 ballot. Even though we did not succeed in getting the amendment onto the floor of the Senate and House for a vote, we have come far in the effort for fairer maps in Illinois. Change is built little by little and it’s clear redistricting reform isn’t an issue that’s going away.
We had a tremendous amount of support from civic-minded residents across Illinois. 558 of you sent messages to your Springfield lawmakers in response to the BGA Policy and Civic Engagement team’s action alert. Our collective voice was heard as the Fair Maps Amendments gained 28 co-sponsors in the House and 39 co-sponsors in the Senate out of a total of 59 senators. That means that had the amendment been called for a vote in the Senate, it would have passed with broad bipartisan support. In addition, both governor candidates have gone on the record and pledged that they will veto any gerrymandered map sent to them.
Governor Rauner has said “independent redistricting is badly needed in our state.” In recent weeks, Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti restated their joint commitment, “The truth is, political strategy and partisan priorities should have no place in the map-making process. Our current system is failing the people of Illinois.”
Democratic governor nominee J.B. Pritzker has said we shouldn’t just “have a Democrat that’s there forever, or a Republican that’s there forever, but actually have candidates across the board … I want to enhance competition and that’s why I’m in favor of independently drawn maps.”
No matter the result of the November election, we will hold the occupant of that office accountable. They made a promise and we will ask them to deliver.
The movement to advocate for fairer maps in Illinois will continue and we will not rest until we have restored integrity in our democratic process. The BGA Policy and Civic Engagement team, alongside its coalition allies, will work to hold the next governor to their word and ensure that all those who signed on to the amendments stay committed to its principles of independent, nonpartisan, fair maps for the people of Illinois.