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Independent Maps Urges Obama to Support Redistricting Reform in His Home State

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Independent Maps, a nonpartisan coalition seeking redistricting reform in Illinois, applauded President Obama Wednesday for making congressional redistricting reform a priority in his final State of the Union address. The group now urges the president to support independent redistricting in his home state.

“The President’s words in the State of the Union Address – ‘We have to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around.’ – hold true for redistricting of the Illinois General Assembly where he once served,” said Dennis FitzSimons, chair of Independent Maps, in a press release.

IVN previously reported that a 2014 effort (called Yes for Independent Maps) to get independent redistricting on the statewide ballot failed after the Illinois State Board of Elections determined that it did not have enough signatures and a Cook County Circuit Court judge ruled that the proposed amendment was unconstitutional.

Organizers rebranded their efforts in April 2015 under the name Independent Maps or Independent Maps Amendment. The group is calling for “an 11-member non-partisan commission whose decisions and process would be open to the public and to public comment.”

“Voters in Illinois are demanding change in the way the Illinois General Assembly is elected,” said Dave Mellet, campaign manager of Independent Maps. “Our coalition is diverse and includes many who have supported his past campaigns, as well as some opponents. We don’t agree on all policy issues, but we stand together for reform of the system, for elections to be fair, for votes to count and for voices to be heard.”

The Independent Maps coalition includes AARP-Illinois, the Illinois Farm Bureau, CHANGE Illinois, Common Cause Illinois, Latino Policy Forum, League of Women Voters of Illinois, IVI-IPO, Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, Union League Club of Chicago, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and many others (the full list can be found on the group’s website).

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