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Independent Maps Completes Massive Petition Drive

CHICAGO — Independent Maps, the non-partisan statewide coalition advocating for redistricting reform, announced on Friday that its yearlong petition campaign has been completed successfully with the collection of more than twice the number of signatures needed to place the reform before voters this November.

"Volunteers from every corner of Illinois have built a mountain of petitions signed by hundreds of thousands of voters looking to stop Illinois politicians from drawing state legislative maps, in secret, for their own benefit," said Dennis FitzSimons, Chair of Independent Maps. "We will now travel to Springfield to submit our petitions with the purpose of placing the Independent Map Amendment on the fall ballot. Illinois voters deserve a chance to replace the current, flawed system and have their legislative district maps drawn by an independent commission in a transparent and fair manner."

Independent Maps will submit petitions with at least twice the mandated minimum of 290,216 signatures of registered voters. The exact number will be known after each petition page is reviewed again by coalition staff in Springfield and loaded into a secure metal box as required by state regulations. Submission to state officials will occur before the May 9 deadline to qualify proposed constitutional amendments for the November election.

"Voters have had enough of Illinois electoral maps being drawn by politicians for politicians," FitzSimons continued. "They are tired of uncontested elections and more than ready to take back their state by having an independent commission draw Illinois district maps so that citizens' votes count again."

“When we began a year ago, we believed the Independent Map Amendment would be popular with voters,” said Christie Hefner, a Director at the Center for American Progress Action. “Some said it was too wonkish – too inside baseball – to catch on with voters and that it would take too much effort to explain redistricting to voters. But voters clearly do get it. Nearly two-thirds of Illinois voters favor redistricting by an independent commission, according to a poll conducted this year by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. Now, they’ll have an opportunity to make reform happen.”

Former State Rep. Kathy Ryg, D-Vernon Hills, said voters were eager to sign her Independent Map petitions and want more choices when they vote in elections. “In this year’s primary, only one candidate was on the ballot in nine of 10 legislative primaries,” Ryg said. “This November, voters won’t have a choice in nearly 70 percent of the legislative elections. That’s what happens when legislative district boundaries are skewed to benefit the party with the power to draw maps, and potential candidates don't even bother to run for the office.”

Ra Joy, Executive Director of the political reform coalition CHANGE Illinois, stressed the importance of a transparent map-drawing process and one that protects minority voting rights. “It is clear to me that adopting the Independent Map Amendment would protect minority voting strength statewide and bring fair and open redistricting to Illinois,” Joy said. “We are eager to get this on the ballot and to make real change happen.”

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Independent Maps is a non-partisan statewide coalition supporting the petition campaign to place the Independent Map Amendment before voters in November 2016. The Independent Maps coalition’s board of directors includes prominent members of both major political parties, as well as leaders from the clergy, academia and philanthropic organizations. For more information about the Independent Map Amendment, including a list of supporters of the amendment, visit our website (www.MapAmendment.org).

Keywords: FItzSimons, Hefner, Kathy Ryg, Ra Joy

Posted in News Releases

Paid for by Support Independent Maps.  A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board's official website or for purchase from the Illinois State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.