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INDEPENDENT MAPS HALFWAY TO GOAL OF 600,000 PETITION SIGNATURES FOR REDISTRICTING REFORM AMENDMENT

INDEPENDENT MAPS HALFWAY TO GOAL OF 600,000 PETITION SIGNATURES FOR REDISTRICTING REFORM AMENDMENT

More than 300,000 Illinois Voters Sign Petitions to Take Partisan Politics Out of Legislative Redistricting

CHICAGO – The non-partisan Independent Maps coalition announced it is more than halfway to its goal of collecting 600,000 petition signatures for a state constitutional amendment to create a non-partisan independent commission responsible for drawing state legislative districts.

“In less than five months, more than 300,000 Illinoisans signed petitions to put this important amendment before voters in 2016, and that puts us halfway to our goal of 600,000 signatures,” said Dennis FitzSimons, Chair of Independent Maps.

“Because entrenched political interests don’t want to give Illinoisans an opportunity to vote on this amendment, we know they will challenge the validity of some of our petition signatures,” FitzSimons said. “To be absolutely certain we will meet the Illinois Constitution’s requirement of 290,216 valid signatures, we’re going to collect more than twice that number. Defenders of the current partisan system will not be able to overcome those numbers.”

“We’re ahead of schedule, and that is thanks to the hard work of volunteers giving up weekends and evenings to collect signatures and to voters who signed the petition because they are fed up with the results of rigged legislative maps,” FitzSimons said.

“Voters are frustrated and feel their voices are not being heard in the General Assembly,” said Cynthia Canary, Executive Director of Independent Maps. “The discontent is real, and it stems in part from the fact that 60 percent of the legislators elected last year didn’t have anyone running against them. When legislative districts are designed to maximize partisan advantage, the likelihood of true competitive elections is minimized. Partisan maps discourage competition and give us legislators who cruise into office without having to debate a challenger or even listen to a single voter.

“Volunteers have told us that voters are sometimes so eager to sign petitions that they grab the clipboards out of their hands, sign the petition and ask others around them to sign, too,” Canary said. “We’re very encouraged by the response throughout Illinois, but there’s a lot of hard work ahead of all of us.”

Independent Maps got off to an early and fast start this spring thanks in large part to the Illinois League of Women Voters, which has local and regional Leagues across the state, and to thousands of volunteers engaged in two previous amendment campaigns. Last month, the Illinois Farm Bureau – with more than 400,000 members in Illinois – increased the reach of the coalition and made its 95 offices collection points for volunteers to turn in completed petitions.

From Sept. 20 to 27, Independent Maps is challenging Chicago area volunteers to deliver 10,000 signatures in 10,000 minutes. The #10in10Campaign will use social media to tell the stories of our volunteers’ involvement and encourage others to help us reach our goal of collecting 10,000 fresh signatures by 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27. To learn how to get involved, like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MapAmendment) and follow us on Twitter (@mapamendment).

Petitions and instructions are available at www.MapAmendment.org.

The Independent Map Amendment would create an 11-member commission representing the demographic and geographic diversity of the state. The commission meetings and records would be open to the public, and the commission would be required to hold public hearings throughout the state. The commission drawn maps would be required to protect the voting rights of racial and ethnic minorities, and the maps would be drawn without regard to incumbency or partisanship. Adoption of the maps would require approval of seven commissioners, including at least two Democrats and two Republicans. The amendment text and more detailed explanation of the reform are available at www.MapAmendment.org.

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About Independent Maps

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, visit www.MapAmendment.org.

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 (www.elections.il.gov) or for purchase from the Illinois State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois.

Keywords: Canary, FItzSimons

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.