State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) joins his Senate Republican colleagues in renewing their calls for Gov. Pritzker to make good on his campaign promise to support an independent redistricting process. Public polls have shown more than 75 percent of Illinois voters support an independent process that puts citizens in control of drawing election districts instead of politicians.
Pritzker has publicly stated his support of independent redistricting on numerous occasions. As a candidate in 2018, he was asked: “Will you pledge as governor to veto any state legislative redistricting map proposal that is in any way drafted or created by legislators, political party leaders and/or their staffs or allies?”
He responded: “Yes, I will pledge to veto. We should amend the constitution to create an independent commission to draw legislative maps, but in the meantime, I would urge Democrats and Republicans to agree to an independent commission to handle creating a new legislative map.”
Senate Republicans have sent multiple official requests to the Governor to ask that he, or a senior member of his staff, testify at one of many virtual or in-person redistricting hearings to explain how he intends to keep his promise to voters on independent maps. To date, his office has declined or not responded to all requests.
Senate and House Republicans have introduced the People’s Independent Maps Act that would create a truly independent commission to draw maps and take insiders out of the process. Senate Bill 1325 uses identical language from SJRCA 4, a constitutional amendment for an independent redistricting commission introduced by State Sen. Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) in 2019. That resolution garnered 37 co-sponsors in the Senate, including 18 Democrats. A similar independent commission amendment co-sponsored by House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) passed the House in 2016 with 105 “Yes” votes.
The Chicago Tribune has also added its voice to the call for an independent redistricting process instead of what it terms “The unsubtle duping of Illinois voters on redistricting reform.” In its April 21 editorial, the Tribune notes “Get ready because sometime before they adjourn on or around May 31, you can bet the Democrats who control the General Assembly will pop a new map of legislative districts onto the House and Senate floors for a vote. The map will heavily favor their reelection prospects.”