As a new legislative session begins, Senate Republicans are again calling on the chamber to take action to fix the current partisan practice of drawing gerrymandered maps.
Every ten years, the state is required to reapportion legislative and Congressional districts to match the results of the most recent census. Illinois currently has a “winner take all” system where one party has the complete power to draw the maps, which typically leads to confusing and strangely shaped or “gerrymandered” districts. They note that the maps are typically drawn not to represent the people of Illinois and their communities best, but to offer the party in power the best chance at electoral success. The process has often been called out for allowing politicians to pick their districts, instead of the people choosing their representatives.
Numerous attempts throughout the years to fix the system have been blocked by legislative leaders and lawsuits. Still, the Illinois General Assembly does have the power to put the question of whether to fix the current system on the ballot for voters to decide.
The senators noted that the concept of fair maps has broad bipartisan support, and that current Governor JB Pritzker has expressed his support for the idea, along with former President Barack Obama making the issue a key component of his speech to the General Assembly in 2016.