Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment
Our proposal to reshape the way we draw the lines will create a system that is independent, nonpartisan, and transparent. It is the opposite of the current process which is conducted behind closed doors by politicians with only themselves in mind. Our amendment was crafted by Illinoisans across the state in pursuit of a fair process for redistricting that protects minority communities and is completely transparent.
Please click here to download our full amendment, or check out our brief summary below.
Our Amendment: A Summary
The Illinois Constitution currently specifies that the General Assembly draws the state Senate and House Districts after every Census. If that process fails, a legislatively appointed commission creates the maps.
The Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment would establish an 11-member Independent Redistricting Commission to draw the maps. The new structure and process builds on the most effective, fair redistricting systems in other states, tailored to the unique politics and legal requirements of Illinois.
Under the proposed amendment, the independent Commission would draw district boundaries using the following criteria:
- Contiguous, substantially equal in population, and in compliance with federal laws
- Not drawn to dilute or diminish the ability of a racial or language minority community to elect the candidates of its choice
- Respecting the geographic integrity of cities, towns, and other units of local government
- Respecting the geographic integrity of communities sharing common social and economic interests
- Not drawn to purposefully or significantly discriminate against or favor any political party or group, and not considering the residence of any person
The Commission would hold public hearings throughout the state both before and after it releases its draft maps. The process would be extraordinarily transparent: All Commission records and communications between Commissioners will be open for public inspection, and all Commission meetings will be open to the public and publicly noticed at least two days ahead of time.
In order to approve any plan, seven of the Commission’s eleven members must vote for it—including at least two Democrats, two Republicans, and two unaffiliated members. The amendment would not affect Illinois’s Congressional district or local maps.
Commission members would be selected through the following 5-step process:
Application—Any interested Illinois citizen can apply to be a member of the Commission.
Qualification—A nonpartisan Applicant Review Panel, appointed by the Auditor General, eliminates applicants who have conflicts of interest, such as lobbyists and public officials. The Panel selects the 100 most qualified applicants on the basis of analytical skills, impartiality, fairness, and diversity.
Removal—In a process similar to jury selection, the four top legislative leaders may each “strike” up to five applicants from the applicant pool.
Selection—Commissioners are selected by lottery to create a group of two Democrats, two Republicans, and three unaffiliated with either party, all proportionally representing Illinois’ five judicial districts.
Appointment—The four top legislative leaders each appoint one commissioner from the remaining pool, to ensure that the Commission reflects Illinois’s diverse demographics and geography.
If the Commission fails to approve a plan, the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court and a senior Justice from the other major party would select a Special Commissioner for Redistricting to draw a final map. The Special Commissioner would be required to follow the same criteria established for the Commission. The Special Commissioner’s maps would become law before the next election.