Illinois Fair Map is in Peril

Yeah, right; this is a MEGO (My eyes glaze over). But all of you people out there who bitch about rotten Illinois government, but only read about the best pick-up lines, have to pay attention, or just shut up.

One of the reasons that Illinois government sucks is the way that the districts from which state senators and representatives are created. Every ten years, the state (actually politicians) use the new federal census to decide where the district boundary lines are drawn. If a computer or a fair-minded person were doing it, it would be a simple and straight-forward process. Make the districts compact and square. Instead, some district look like worms shriveled up on the sidewalk after a storm. (Continue reading below maps.)
That's because whatever party that gets to create the districts draw the lines to favor the party, and shaft the other. The process is called gerrymandering. How does a party get to be the one that draws the lines? This will amaze you: In Illinois, it basically comes down to who wins a coin flip.
So, if Democrats win the coin flip, as they did ten years ago, they get to draw the lines. The way they drew lines, of course, favored Democrats, which helped give them a majority in the Legislature. Which explains why we're stuck with the party's leader, Michael Madigan, running the House as a virtual dictator.
If we want to reform Illinois, we need to unseat Madigan as House Speaker. To do that, it is necessary to restore some sense to redistricting, where reason and fairness decide how the district lines are drawn.  Doing that takes a constitutional amendment. Amending the Constitution requires a long and difficult process, including gathering enough signatures to put the question on the next election ballot.
Some folks are gathering signatures now, but the warning has gone out that they may not have enough. The full story is here, in the Illinois Statehouse News, a reliable and fair source.  I strongly encourage your to read it. Or else stop your bitching. 

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  • There are several states that use zip codes to district their states.Iowa has a fair districting.I'm not holding my breath waiting for the crooks in power to level any playing field.

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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