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Independent Maps Names Campaign Consultant and Campaign Manager

Independent Maps Names Campaign Consultant and Campaign Manager

Two-thirds of the way to goal of 600,000 petition signatures, coalition continues
petition collection and begins transition to 2016 election campaign

CHICAGO – In preparation for a 2016 ballot referendum on Illinois legislative redistricting reform, the Independent Maps coalition on Thursday announced the addition of Hilltop Public Solutions as campaign consultant and Dave Mellet as campaign manager.

“With the petition drive on target to meet our goal of 600,000 signatures, we now can begin to gear up for a larger education campaign and the expansion of our statewide network of volunteers,” said Dennis FitzSimons, Chair of Independent Maps. “Our campaign is well underway, and we have added two seasoned veterans of statewide campaigns to help lead us to victory at the polls in 2016.”

Hilltop Public Solutions specializes in coalition building and managing high-stakes, high-profile campaigns by using the strategies and tactics it takes to win modern campaigns.

“Hilltop’s Bill Hyers, who managed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2013 campaign and has extensive campaign experience across the country, will lead the Hilltop team in Illinois for the Independent Map Amendment,” FitzSimons said. “Hyers, who has been named a rising star by Politics magazine, has a reputation as one of the top campaign managers and political strategists in the United States.”

"Its time to bring fair elections back to Illinois, and I'm thrilled to be a part of this talented and experienced team,” Hyers said. “For too long, voters in Illinois have suffered from a partisan process that has called into question the very concept of fair elections. With the gridlock in Springfield, now more than ever Illinoisans need an open, transparent government that puts people before politics."

Hilltop’s Elizabeth Lucas will be part of the team assisting Independent Maps. Lucas, founder of The Initiative Group, has worked on and advised hundreds of ballot initiatives around the country. She served as Political Director at the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center and field director for the Ohio Democratic Party against the anti-union SB5, a statewide voter referendum defeated by an overwhelming majority in 2011. She also has served as State Director of Organizing for America in Pennsylvania and on several presidential and state-level campaigns in battleground states.

“Dave Mellet, who was campaign manager for former Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon’s 2014 campaign for comptroller, will be our campaign manager and execute the non-partisan coalition’s campaign strategy,” FitzSimons said.

Mellet has worked on state and local campaigns for close to 10 years. After receiving a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania, Mellet started his career working on Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's successful 2006 reelection campaign. He went on to staff and manage campaigns for mayor, city council, state senate, and alderman. He has lived in Illinois for several years, working as a staffer for a direct mail firm and as the campaign manager for Simon last year.

Cindi Canary, who has been serving as executive director since June, will continue in that position during a transition period through the end of the year, when she will become a senior consultant to our board.

“Cindi’s leadership has been key to expanding our base of volunteers and putting us ahead of schedule on our signature collection timeline,” FitzSimons said. “She also helped us recruit and interview campaign manager and consultant candidates, and we’re pleased that she will remain very much involved.”

Independent Maps has collected more than 400,000 petition signatures, more than two-thirds of the way to its goal of 600,000 signatures. The campaign has until May 2016 to collect at least 290,216 valid signatures of registered voters – equal to 8 percent of the total number of votes cast in the most recent election for governor. Because reform opponents will challenge signature validity, the coalition set a goal of collecting twice as many signatures as required by law.

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

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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

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.

Keywords: Bill Hyers, Canary, Elizabeth Lucas, FItzSimons, Hilltop, Mellet

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.