A bipartisan group of legislators and policy watchdogs met Thursday to discuss their commitment to bringing fair district mapping to state and local politics throughout Illinois.
Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), one of the three Senate co-sponsors of Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment (SJRCA) 18, said the practice of drawing district lines to create "safe" publicly held seats must end.
"Prep for the 2020 Census is well underway," Bush said. "When unfair maps exist, it is impossible to level the playing field. Gerrymandering is ruining our democracy – the power of gerrymandering leads to extreme partisan politics. Those in the middle lose their seats; we lose any chance to have any healthy balance. 'Safe' seats must end – we need a system that shows voters that their vote matters."
Illinois state Sen. Dan McConchie (R- Hawthorn Woods)
CHANGE Illinois Executive Director Madeline Dubeck said that SJRCA 18 and House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 41 must be passed by May 3 in order to get an independent commission to create fair maps, which is the first, most important step toward fighting corruption in state politics.
"No one group can control the map-making process," Dubeck said. "The overwhelming majority of people support fair maps."
Illinois state Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) agreed that in order to root out corruption, fair mapping is the best way to start.
House Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Rogers Park) said that as a representative who as a "safe" seat, she wants to be held accountable to her voters and not the other way around.
"I am so grateful to so many members who have stated that they want to do what is right for their constituents," Cassidy said. "I'm grateful to stand with people putting everything out there to do what is right."