Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker
All eyes will be on Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker at the start of the new session to see if the Democratic leader has any intention of making good on his pledge to bring fair electoral mapmaking to the state.
Illinois remains among the decreasing number of U.S. states that still grant lawmakers the authority to redraw their own legislative districts as they see fit, largely accounting for the fact that roughly half of all House and Senate members up for reelection last year ran unopposed. The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) notes that several other states are already trending in the direction Pritzker has said he plans to go.
“We should amend the constitution to create an independent commission to draw legislative maps, and I have supported this effort for years,” Pritzker wrote in 2018. According to CHANGE Illinois, the governor went so far as to donate $50,000 to the cause of independent mapmaking in Illinois.
“But even without a constitutional amendment, there are statutory changes lawmakers could make as soon as the session resumes to get politics out of mapmaking following the 2020 Census,” IPI posted in an article, pointing to the creation of an independent redistricting commission to study the issue that would exclude lawmakers, their family members and Springfield political lobbyists as a potential starting point. “Before Illinois lawmakers can recover voters’ record-low trust in their political leadership, they must first recover voters’ trust in the legitimacy of the districts they’re elected to represent.”