Leven: 2020 is the End of the Line to Get Redistricting and the Census Right

Illinois has less than two years to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot and get ready for the 2020 Census.

Demonstrators gather outside of The United States Supreme Court to call for an end to partisan gerrymandering on October 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

You could practically hear the air deflating from a balloon after the U.S. Supreme Court punted on two gerrymandering cases this week. The rulings were a major letdown on the national stage.

Lucky for us here in Illinois, there is no pending litigation. In fact, the Supreme Court had already become sideshow. What really matters in Illinois is 2020. Before you say that’s years away, let me remind you that June is almost over, and by the time you figure out how to get your AC working properly, September will be gone. So, the work starts — on two fronts — now.

The first fight is getting a constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot. This initiative failed last spring, despite support from good government groups, including the Better Government Association’s policy team. The good news is that there was and is a growing cry for fair maps across the state. Candidates for November’s election are being asked to take a side, a clear side, and we hope voters hold them to their commitments. Given the Supreme Court’s apparent shrug, here and across the country independent maps will not be drawn until popular sentiment forces a change.

But, the truth is no maps from any process will be accurate if the underlying numbers aren’t right. That’s why the second fight is the 2020 Census. 

Read the rest at the Chicago Sun-Times.