Illinois District Boundaries Amendment (2010)

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Illinois District Boundaries Amendment, also known as the Fair Map Amendment, did not appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Illinois. Three proposals were filed for consideration: one initiated constitutional amendment and two legislatively-referred constitutional amendments. Of the two legislatively-referred constitutional amendments, one was filed by Republicans and another by Democrats.[1]

Both the initiative and the Republican proposals called for removing the legislature's power to draw the boundary lines and transferring that responsibility to a nine-member commission. The Democratic proposal, on the other hand, called for allowing both the House and the Senate to adopt their own district maps. The legislature would then have to approve the maps with a three-fifths vote. However, the proposed measures would not affect congressional districts. Only only state Senate and House districts would be affected.[2][3][4]

The proposal required the approval of both the House and the Senate - it failed to pass the House. Despite the Senate voting 36-22 on April 14, 2010, the House shot down the proposed Democratic redistricting plan with a vote of 69-47 on April 29, 2010; falling 2 votes shy of the two-thirds requirement.[5] The vote came the same day that Gov. Pat Quinn offered a statement against the proposed amendment. "I’m not sure it’s a reform or not, to be honest. Too often this is an exercise of protecting incumbents of both parties. I don’t think that’s healthy," said Quinn.[6]

Also, on April 29, 2010 initiative supporters announced that they failed to collect sufficient signatures. A minimum of 278,934 valid signatures were required by May 2, 2010.As of April 19, initiative supporters reported gathering more than 120,000 petition signatures; still falling short of the 278,934 signature requirement.[7][8][9]


Illinois Constitution
Flag of Illinois.png

District boundary lines are re-established every 10 years, following the completion of the U.S. Census. The Illinois General Assembly divides the state into 59 districts for the State Senate and 118 for the House.[10] However, if the governor and the legislature can't agree on the boundary lines, an eight-member committee makes the decision. And if the committee is also split then the disagreement is resolved by choosing a name out of a hat.[11]

Proposed measures


According to the "Fair Map Amendment," the initiative proposes turning the restricting process over to an independent, bipartisan commission. The commission would have been required to hold open meetings and accept public input. The amendment required two-thirds legislative approval of the commission's map. District boundaries, however, would have been required to follow geographical and municipal boundaries. Additionally, the commission cannot take into consideration, with exceptions for complying with federal laws, voting history, party registration or the incumbency of lawmakers during the process.[10]

Republican proposal

The proposal sponsored by Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno and House Republican leader Tom Cross called for assigning a bipartisan committee to draw the district boundaries. The map would then be referred to the legislature would have to be approved with a two-thirds vote.[12][13] However, according to reports, in late April 2010 Republican leaders announced their support for the citizen-proposed initiative.[14]

Democratic proposal

According to the proposal filed by Sen. Kwame Raoul it would have allowed citizens to submit their own suggestions for dividing the state's political districts. Specifically, the proposal called for the House to adopt a map that divides the House districts and the Senate to do the same for Senate districts. The legislature would then have to approve the maps with a three-fifths vote.[15][13]


Despite there being three separate propositions regarding district boundary amendments, all groups said they agreed that "citizens should be involved in the process."[16]

  • Sen. Kwame Raoul, who proposed the Democratic proposal, said it is important to get voter feedback on district boundaries but added that he believes that "redistricting is better understood by the legislature and therefore has a better chance of a fair outcome."[16]
  • Mary Schaafsma of the Illinois Fair Map Amendment Coalition said,"We are engaged now in a process of getting voters and citizens involved in this initiative, both to get them to understand they have a stake in the process, but also to reform how it is currently done."[16]


  • The Republican legislatively referred amendment was sponsored by Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno and House Republican leader Tom Cross.[12]

Initiative supporters

According to the Illinois Fair Map Amendment Coalition, the proposed amendment was supported by the League of Women Voters, Better Government Association, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, Common Cause - Illinois, Americans for Prosperity and Illinois Farm Bureau. Additional supporters can be viewed here.[18] Despite a separate Republican proposal in the legislature, in late April 2010, according to reports, Republican leaders embraced the Fair Map Coalition's proposal.[19]

  • Jan Czarnik of the Illinois League of Women Voters argued that although several of the state's problems may be due to the economy, it is the "state’s responsibility to find solutions" and the proposed legislation can help create new mixes of leadership that will sponsor new ideas to help the state.[20]
  • Former state Sen. Duane Noland said,"Redistricting is the most egregious thing we have out there. It's incumbent protection. In 1990, Republicans drew the map, and I benefited, and in 2000, Democrats drew the map, and I'm no longer in office."[21]
  • The Warren County Republican Committee was active in circulating petitions. Chairman Andrew Youngquist said,"It’s time to take the politics out of redistricting and for people to pick the politicians, not for the politicians to pick the people."[22]
  • The Warren-Henderson Farm Bureau was also active in circulating petitions. Manager Carol Ricketts said,"This is not a fair way for drawing the districts. With an unbiased party, the incumbents won’t be so assured of winning."[22]
  • Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Amy Looten argues that the current redistricting process leaves a lot to chance and favors incumbents and the party in power.[23]
  • Adams County Farm Bureau president Terry Smith said,"I think they're carving political districts to favor incumbents instead of making districts to represent the people as a whole. Let's be a little fairer in the mapping."[23]
  • League of Women Voters of Adams County acting president Claire Safford said,"Part of the reason for [the little turnover was] the way the system works to perpetuate itself when they do the redistricting every 10 years after the census, with the legislators drawing up the maps, more or less behind closed doors, with little input from the public. They tend to draw it to maintain the status quo, and it tends to protect the incumbents."[23]
  • The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce announced in late March that they supported the proposed initiative and urged voters to sign the petition before the April petition drive deadline. The chamber voted unanimously in support of the proposed measure.[24]

Media editorial positions

Editorial boards in support

  • Daily Herald newspaper supported the proposed district boundaries amendment initiative. In an editorial, the board said,"A random drawing is a stupid way to break a tie, to be sure. But it's also unfathomable that representatives are allowed to draw their own districts, picking which pockets of voters are most likely to keep them in their jobs...If the people don't act now, Illinois likely will be stuck with a system that almost always ensures victory for incumbents regardless of their record. It's a system that breeds corruption and prevents accountability."[25]
  • Chicago Tribune endorsed the "Fair Map amendment." In an editorial, they said,"If you want your lawmakers to be accountable to you, then take away the pen. A handful of states have handed the redistricting process to independent, nonpartisan panels, and similar proposals are being promoted all over the country. In Illinois, a coalition of government watchdog groups is collecting signatures to place its Fair Map amendment on the November ballot. That same plan is being pushed by Republicans in the General Assembly. Senate Democrats are drafting a separate proposal. The status quo has to go. The best idea would be a pure, uncluttered process to draw a map — the way Iowa does it. But that hasn't gotten traction here. So we endorse the Fair Map amendment."[26]
  • The State Journal-Register said that although they don't endorse a particular redistricting proposal, legislators should make sure redistricting is on the November ballot. "As long as legislators get first crack at drawing the map, there’s little doubt they’ll do anything except try to draw districts that protect their party and its incumbents. The good thing about both plans is that they get rid of the current, often derided coin-flip system, in which if there’s gridlock, the party that wins gets to draw the map. That bizarre and unfair process is what has happened in every redistricting period since 1980."[27]
  • The Pantagraph supported the proposed redistricting initiative. In an editorial the newspaper board said,"The Fair Map Coalition brought together good government groups and other organizations, such as the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Farm Bureau, to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall to change the remap process...The flawed proposal approved by the Senate wouldn’t be much of an improvement because it doesn’t shake loose the remap process from those with a vested interest."[28]

Path to the ballot

Supporters had two avenues to place the measure on the November 2, 2010 ballot: the legislature and a citizen petition.[29][30][31] All attempts to refer the measure to the statewide ballot, failed.[32]


In order to be placed on the ballot via state legislature the measure required a three-fifths approval by both chambers. On April 14, 2010 the Senate voted 36-22 in favor of referring a democratically proposed district boundaries amendment to the 2010 ballot.[33][34] A House committee approved the democratic plan on April 27, moving the proposed measure to the full House.[35] On April 29, 2010 the House voted 69-47; falling 2 votes short of the two-thirds requirement.[36][37]

Citizen initiative

Via citizen petition supporters are required to collect a minimum of 278,934 valid signatures by May 2, 2010. As of April 19, initiative supporters reported gathering more than 120,000 petition signatures; still falling short of the 278,934 signature requirement.[38][39][40][41] On April 29 supporters announced that they were unable to gather sufficient signatures.[8][42]

See also


External links

Suggest a link

Additional reading



  1. Chicago Public Radio, "Senate Dems Introduce Redistricting Plan," April 7, 2010 (dead link)
  2. Southtown Star, "Congress not part of Fair Map Campaign," February 24, 2010 (dead link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pantagraph, "Illinois Democrats unveil their own redistricting reforms," February 25, 2010
  4. Rockford Register-Journal, "Battle over state's legislative districts set to begin," April 10, 2010
  5. Chicago Tribune, "Illinois House votes down redistricting reform," April 29, 2010
  6. The Pantagraph, "Illinois district remap plan defeated," April 29, 2010
  7. The Telegraph, "Fair Map Amendment in peril," April 19, 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 Chicago Public Radio, "Dem Redistricting Plan Fails, Citizens Initiative Falls Short," April 29, 2010 (dead link)
  9. Chicago Tribune, "Redistricting is dead," May 3, 2010
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 The Telegraph, "Petition drive seeks to change redistricting process," February 14, 2010 (dead link)
  11. Elmhurst Press, "GOP lawmakers support Fair Map petition drive," February 25, 2010
  12. 12.0 12.1 The State Journal-Register, "Illinois GOP leaders seek change in remap procedures," February 19, 2010
  13. 13.0 13.1 Murphysboro American, "Battle over legislative districts set to begin," April 7, 2010
  14. Chicago Tribune, "Illinois Democrats, Republicans offer dueling redistricting plans," April 26, 2010
  15. KMOX, "Another plan to redistrict legislative boundaries," February 25, 2010
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Illinois Statehouse News, "Lawmakers, reformers want voter input on redistricting," March 2, 2010
  17. Illinois Farm Bureau, "IFB supports Fair Map Amendment effort," February 18, 2010 (dead link)
  18. The State Journal-Register, "Farm Bureau among groups pushing remap amendment," March 26, 2010
  19. Associated Press, "Parties clash over drawing state political map," April 25, 2010
  20. The Journal Star, "Petitioners: What redistricting process could be better?," February 20, 2010
  21. Herald-Review, "Noland puts weight behind amendment to change redistricting process," February 20, 2010
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Daily Review Atlas, "Lawmakers, citizens push for changes to redistricting process," March 10, 2010
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Quincy Herald Whig, "Edward Husar: Three local organizations throwing support behind Illinois Fair Map Amendment," March 21, 2010
  24. Register-News, "JCCC supports Fair Map Amendment," April 2, 2010
  25. Daily Herald, "Voters, this is your chance to fight corruption," March 1, 2010
  26. Chicago Tribune, "Take away the pen: Fair Map amendment takes redistricting process away from legislators," March 14, 2010
  27. The State Journal-Register, "Our Opinion: A redistricting proposal ought to be on ballot," March 25, 2010
  28. The Pantagraph, "Time to put true remap reform on fall ballot," April 27, 2010
  29. The State Journal-Register, "Illinois GOP leaders seek change in remap procedures," February 19, 2010
  30. The Hawk Eye, "Illinois redistricting petition circulates," April 9, 2010
  31. Herald-Review, "Battle over redistricting coming to a head at state Capitol," April 18, 2010
  32. Chicagoist, "Redistricting Not In The Cards For State," April 30, 2010
  33. Chicago Tribune, "Illinois Senate approves new plan for drawing lawmakers' districts," April 14, 2010
  34. The State Journal-Register, "Senate narrowly approves redistricting measure," April 15, 2010
  35. Illinois Statehouse News, "Dem Redistricting Plan Moves to Full House," April 27, 2010
  36. The State Journal-Register, "House rejects Dem redistricting plan; Fair Map petition dropped," April 30, 2010
  37. WBeZ Blog, "The Election File: No vote today on redistricting changes," April 28, 2010 (dead link)
  38. The Telegraph, "Fair Map Amendment in peril," April 19, 2010
  39. Journal Star, "Fair Map far short of petition goal," April 19, 2010
  40. Associated Press, "Slow Going For Ill. Reformers' Petition Drive," April 19, 2010
  41. WGIL14, "Final Push for Fair Map Amendment," April 20, 2010
  42. The Daily Herald, "No change on state's redistricting system," April 30, 2010