Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment (2014)

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The Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment was not on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Illinois as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure, which was also known as the "Yes for Independent Maps" campaign, sought to create an independent, nonpartisan commission, consisting of eleven members, for the purpose of redrawing district lines for the Illinois General Assembly.[1] The measure was sponsored by Yes for Independent Maps.[2]

The amendment would also have created a process for selecting members of the commission that would have been open to application by any Illinois citizen. The method for determining the final eleven-member commission was outlined by the proposed amendment as follows:

  • A nonpartisan Applicant Review Panel, to be appointed by the Illinois Auditor General, eliminates any applicants who may have conflicts of interest, such as lobbyists and public officials, and produces a pool consisting of 100 finalists.
  • From that pool, the four top legislative leaders in the state may each eliminate up to five applicants from the pool.
  • Seven members of the commission are then chosen by lottery and would form a group comprised of two Democrats, two Republicans and three unaffiliated with either party.
  • The final four commissioners are then chosen as nominees from each of the four top legislative leaders.[3]


See also: Illinois District Boundaries Amendment (2010)

Following the 2010 U.S. Census, Illinois faced the responsibility of redrawing legislative district lines in accordance with the state constitution. At that time, several proposals were put forth by the legislature as legislatively-referred constitutional amendments and one by the group Illinois Fair Map Amendment Coalition as an initiated constitutional amendment. Ultimately, none of the proposed constitutional amendments made it to the ballot that year.

In 2011 Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed the controversial Illinois Voting Rights Act of 2011, which required that legislative districts be redrawn to ensure people of "racial and language minorities" were given the opportunity to elect their preferred candidates. Because both the state legislature and the governor's office were controlled by Democrats at that time, many argued that the new redistricting procedures served to protect the Democratic majority and keep incumbents in office.[4]

Text of measure

Constitutional changes

The measure would have amended Section 3 of Article IV of the Constitution of Illinois.[3]

The full text of the proposed amendment can be read here.

Illinois Constitution
Flag of Illinois.png


The measure was sponsored by Yes for Independent Maps, formerly known as CHANGE Illinois!, a coalition of groups and individuals with an interest in redistricting reform.[2]


The following organizations and elected, appointed and civic leaders were listed as supporters of the initiative:[5]


  • AARP Illinois
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago
  • Better Government Association
  • Business and Professional People for the Public Interest
  • CHANGE Illinois!
  • Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice
  • Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Citizen Advocacy Center
  • The Civic Alliance of East St. Louis
  • Common Cause Illinois
  • Community Renewal Society
  • Hanover Township Democrats & Independents
  • Illinois Chamber of Commerce
  • Illinois Campaign for Political Reform
  • Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
  • Illinois Public Interest Research Group
  • IVI/IPO (Independent Voters of Illinois/Independent Precinct Organization)
  • Kenwood Oakland Community Organization
  • Latino Policy Forum
  • League of Women Voters of Illinois
  • Metropolis Strategies
  • Next Rockford
  • Openlands
  • Reboot Illinois
  • Robert R. McCormick Foundation
  • Small Business Advocacy Council
  • SOUL (Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation)
  • Tooling & Manufacturing Association
  • United Power for Action and Justice

Current & former elected & appointed officials

  • Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis
  • Ald. John Arena
  • Fmr. Mayor Rich Auman
  • Fmr. DEA Administrator Peter Bensinger, Sr.
  • St. Sen. Daniel Biss
  • Fmr. Chair, Ethics Reform Task Force Cindi Canary
  • Fmr. Chair, Illinois Reform Commission Patrick Collins
  • Fmr. Rep. John Cox
  • Fmr. DNC Vice Chair Lynn Cutler
  • Fmr. US Secretary of Commerce Bill Daley
  • Fmr. Gov. Jim Edgar
  • Fmr. Ald. Edwin Eisendrath
  • Fmr. State Rep. Judy Erwin
  • Fmr. Carbondale Mayor Joel Fritzler
  • Fmr. Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias
  • Fmr. US Rep. Debbie Halvorson
  • Fmr. RNC Committee Member Margo Hart
  • Fmr. Inspector General David Hoffman
  • Rock Island County Democratic Party Chair Doug House
  • Fmr. Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman
  • Fmr. St. Charles Mayor Sue Klinkhammer
  • Normal Mayor Chris Koos
  • Chair, IL Task Force Social Innovation Marc Lane
  • Fmr. US Atty. Scott Lassar
  • Fmr. Illinois Reform Commission member Brad McMillan
  • Fmr. FCC Chair Newt Minow
  • Rockford Mayor Lawrence Morrissey
  • Fmr. Chicago Federal Reserve Bank CEO Michael Moskow
  • Ald. Rick Munoz
  • Fmr. St. Rep. Jim Nowlan
  • Fmr. Ald. Marty Oberman
  • Ald. Ameya Pawar
  • Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner
  • CPS Board of Education VP Jesse Ruiz
  • Treasurer Dan Rutherford
  • Fmr. St. Rep. Kathy Ryg
  • Fmr. Asst. Atty. General John Schmidt
  • Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon
  • Fmr. Ald. Bill Singer
  • St. Rep. Mike Smiddy
  • St. Sen. Heather Steans
  • Rock Island County Republican Party Chair Mike Steffin
  • Fmr. Sen. Adlai Stevenson III
  • Fmr. Amb. Robert Stuart
  • Fmr. Amb. Lou Susman
  • Fmr. U.S. Attorney Tony Valukas
  • CPS Board of Ed. Chair David Vitale
  • Ald. Scott Waguespack
  • Libertyville Mayor Terry Weppler
  • Fmr. Lt. Gov. Corinne Wood

Business, civic and community leaders

  • David Axelrod
  • Ed Bachrach
  • Greg Baise
  • Frank Beal
  • Peter Bensinger, Jr.
  • Frank Beidler
  • Marjorie Benton
  • Judy Block
  • Andrew Bluhm
  • Peter Bowe
  • Rev. Dr. Byron Brazier
  • Jeff Brincat
  • John Canning
  • Todd Connor
  • Jim Crown
  • Lester Crown
  • Robert Crawford
  • Roxanne Decyk
  • John Dick
  • Jim Donnelley
  • Deborah Epstein
  • Ty Fahner
  • Jim Farrell
  • Fmr. US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald
  • Einar Forsman
  • Lenny Gail
  • Sonny Garg
  • Ron Gidwitz
  • Michael Golden
  • Jim Gorter
  • Anne Griffin
  • Ken Griffin
  • Nav Gupta
  • Habeeb Habeeb
  • Deborah Harrington
  • King Harris
  • Fmr. Daley Chief of Staff Lori Healey
  • Christie Hefner
  • Hamilton Hill
  • David Hiller
  • John Holzhauer
  • PJ Huizenga
  • Blair Hull
  • Justin Ishbia
  • Michael Keiser
  • Steve Kersten
  • James Klutznick
  • Liam Krehbiel
  • William Kunkler
  • Alan Lacy
  • Charles Lewis
  • John Lillard
  • Michael Lombard
  • Vern Loucks
  • Ben Lumpkin
  • Barry MacLean
  • Robert Malott
  • Paul Mang
  • Lawrence Marcucci
  • Belinda Mathie
  • John McCarter
  • Robert McCormack
  • Terry McKay
  • Harriet Meyer
  • Judd Miner
  • Matt Moog
  • Jason Plummer
  • Deborah Quazzo
  • George Ranney
  • Dan Ratner
  • Jerry Reinsdorf
  • Chris Reyes
  • Elliot Richardson
  • Janice Rodgers
  • Joshua Rogers
  • Sheli Rosenberg
  • Ian Ross
  • Patrick Ryan, Jr.
  • Patrick Ryan, Sr.
  • Lowell Sachnoff
  • Manny Sanchez
  • Gordon Segal
  • Mark Segal
  • Harry Seigle
  • Fmr. First Lady’s Chief of Staff Susan Sher
  • Fmr. White House Chief of Staff Sam Skinner
  • Jerry Smiley
  • Robert Smith
  • Lisa Snow
  • Daniel Sprehe
  • Harrison Steans
  • Jennifer Steans
  • Robin Steans
  • Barbara Lynn Stewart
  • Roger Stone
  • Richard Strubel
  • Sandy Stuart
  • Lawrence Sullivan
  • Dale Taylor
  • Richard Thomas
  • Don Turner
  • Lew Watts
  • Edward Wehmer
  • David Weinberg
  • Lou Weisbach
  • Robert Weissbourd
  • Doug Whitley
  • Linda Wolf
  • Steve Wolf
  • Joel Zemans


  • Yes for Independent Maps said that fixing the redistricting system would be a step in the right direction for Illinois because it would have increased voters' ability to hold elected officials accountable. The group argued that legislative control of redistricting would essentially allow "politicians [to] choose their voters, instead of the people deciding who will represent them."[6]
  • The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law argued that gerrymandering is one of the chief reasons why the needs of voters’ and legislative outcomes are not aligned. The Committee added that even though independent citizen commissions cannot possibly please everyone, they are a better alternative to allowing partisan lawmakers to draw their own districts.[7]
  • In an op-ed published by the Chicago Tribune, Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, argued that an independent redistricting process is necessary because the risk is too great that politicians drawing district lines will place their own interests above those of the public. He compared it to the Federal Reserve, which he says exists because "we don't trust elected officials to set interest rates based on the economy's condition instead of their own re-election needs." He also argued that a primary reason to support the amendment is because redistricting commissions work, highlighting the success of the California commission created in 2010. He pointed out that the amendment would establish a system very similar to California's and that there is reason to suspect similar results in Illinois.[8]

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Illinois ballot measures, 2014


  • The Peoria Journal-Star said, "There are no guarantees in life but better government starts with better representation, which begins with voters having a greater array of high-quality candidates on a fair playing field...How many more legislative sessions like this last one can Illinoisans tolerate? See how you can help by going to"[9]
  • Reboot Illinois said, "It’s time the people came first in Illinois. It’s time we all worked together to put voters back in charge. Let’s do it. Let’s say Yes! for Independent Maps."[10]
  • The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board said, speaking about both the Yes for Independent Maps Campaign and Illinois Term Limits and Reform, "These proposals are rare and genuine opportunities to begin fixing Illinois."[11]


On April 29, 2014, a lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court seeking to prevent the redistricting measure, as well as the Illinois Term Limits for Legislators Amendment, from being placed on the ballot. The suit, which many thought would go all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court, was filed by a group of business and nonprofit leaders. Supporters of the measures were anticipating legal challenges and felt confident that their respective measures would make the 2014 ballot. Michael Kolenc, of "Yes for Independent Maps," said, "Our coalition is confident that the independent maps proposal meets the structural and procedural requirements to amend the Illinois Constitution. Legal experts across the state agree with our position." According to the lawsuit, the formal complaint by the plaintiffs stated the following:[12]

This taxpayer action seeks to restrain the expenditure of public funds to consider the propriety of two petitions proposing multiple amendments to the Legislative Article of the Illinois Constitution which should be enjoined because each of these proposed petitions fails to comply with the constitutional requirements of Section 3 of Article XIV of the Illinois Constitution for such amendments. [...] The other petition (the "Redistricting Initiative") is likewise invalid for several reasons, including that it contains not a single structural or procedural change to Article IV, and in fact reaches far beyond Article IV to impose new eligibility requirements on all legislative, executive and judicial branch officeholders.[13]

—Plaintiffs, [14]

On June 27, 2014, Judge Mary Mikva threw the redistricting amendment, as well as the term limits amendment, off the ballot, saying it was unconstitutional. Supporters of the redistricting amendment decided to end their campaign as the result of her ruling. Yes for Independent Maps' chair Deborah Harrington said, "We have concluded that we are not going to proceed in this election cycle. Instead, we will put the lessons learned in this campaign and from the judge’s ruling to good use."[15]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Illinois Constitution

Initiated constitutional amendments in Illinois require signatures totaling eight percent of the total votes cast for governor in the last election. These names must be submitted six months before the general election. Also, initiated amendments in Illinois can only apply to "structural and procedural subjects" contained in Article IV of the state constitution. Once on the ballot, the amendment must receive either a supermajority vote of 60% of those voting on the question or a simple majority of those who cast a ballot for any office in that election.

To qualify for the 2014 ballot, supporters were required to collect and submit 298,399 signatures by May 5, 2014.

Proponents submitted approximately 532,000 signatures on May 1, 2014.[16] The state elections board determined, after reviewing a 5 percent sample, that less than half of the overall signatures were valid. Supporters wanted to attempt to "rehabilitate" their signatures. However, by ruling the measure unconstitutional, Mikva stopped the elections board from spending any taxpayer dollars on the measure, thereby preventing supporters from trying to validate the signatures.[15]

Similar measures

See also

Suggest a link

External links


  1. PRNewswire, "CHANGE Illinois! Launches Statewide Redistricting Ballot Initiative," May 15, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Yes for independent maps website, accessed March 5, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 Yes for Independent Maps, "Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment," accessed July 31, 2013
  4. Huffington Post Chicago (blog), "Illinois Redistricting: Democrat-Backed Maps Head to Quinn's Desk, Threaten Republican Gains," May 31, 2011
  5. Reboot Illinois, "These people support fair maps. You should too," April 24, 2014
  6. Yes for Independent Maps, "The Campaign," accessed July 31, 2013
  7. Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, "An Independent Redistricting Commission for Illinois? Yes please!" July 22, 2013
  8. Chicago Tribune, "Op-Ed: Time to get the foxes (Illinois politicians) out of the henhouse (legislative redistricting)," July 18, 2013
  9. Peoria Journal-Star, "Our View: Give hope a chance, support redistricting reform," June 3, 2013
  10. Reboot Illinois, "Fight corruption: Say yes to Yes for Independent Maps," July 11, 2013
  11. Chicago Tribune, "The Tribune's endorsements for the March 18 primary: Please vote--and sign these two petitions to start reforming Illinois," February 28, 2014
  12. Crain's Chicago Business, "Lawsuit fights Illinois term limits, remap moves," April 30, 2014
  13. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  14., "Remap, term limits lawsuit," accessed May 14, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Chicago Tribune, "Remap group pulls plug after judge's ruling," June 27, 2014
  16. WQAD, "Petition submitted to take redistricting powers away from Illinois lawmakers," May 2, 2014