IVN News

Major Support for Independent Maps May Be Giving Campaign the Boost it Needs in 2016

Paid Advertisement

The drive for reforming the drawing of congressional maps has gained a supporter who is hoping to ride a reformist challenge against a long-time incumbent.

Independent Maps seeks to get its initiative on the 2016 state ballot to create an independent redistricting commission in Illinois to determine congressional district boundaries. For years, politicians have drawn the lines. In a state such as Illinois, it can even be done without input from the opposition party.

State Senator Kyle McCarter, who is currently challenging U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (IL-15) in the Republican primary, said it is essential to “[l]et people draw the maps rather than the politicians.” In an interview, McCarter said the commission may be the answer:

“Such a commission would remove or minimize political considerations from the redistricting process. It would bring fairness and objectivity to the process and improve the representation of citizens through legislative districts that are more representative of the people who live there.”

Creating independently-drawn congressional maps is a cause even President Barack Obama, in his final State of the Union address, supported.

“We have to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around,” the president said in his final annual speech to Congress on January 12.

Independent Maps Chair Dennis Fitzsimmons, commenting on Obama’s upcoming trip to Illinois to address the General Assembly, said, “It would be the perfect opportunity to repeat his call to ‘change the system to reflect our better selves’ and change to a fair and impartial system of drawing maps.”

The campaign for creating an independent political map has had a tumultuous ride in Illinois. After collecting a sufficient number of signatures in 2014, large numbers of those signatures were ruled ineligible and the effort was postponed for another year.

Independent Maps has collected more than 483,000 petition signatures. If the wording of the amendment is ruled constitutional, which it was not in 2014, the group may be in a good position to see their ballot initiative become a reality.

Kyle McCarter faces an uphill battle prior to the March 15 Republican primary. An early poll from January of likely GOP voters showed Shimkus leading 65-13. McCarter has had difficulties disseminating his name throughout a district his opponent won handily in 2014. Although McCarter has made term limits a focus of his campaign, attaching his name to a genuine effort to change how politics is done in Illinois may add fuel to his bid in the weeks leading up to the primary.

Photo Credit: Henryk Sadura / shutterstock.com

Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.

The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


Learn More About IVN

28 comments
GregParker
GregParker

McCarter sounds like my kind of guy.

citizen2009
citizen2009

We need Federal election department linked to the courts.

Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson

Ben Hardin sounds like a combination of an imperial president & mob rule... No thanks

Glen Harding
Glen Harding

The best way to draw out precincts is to use maiden head grid square.

Dallas Cox
Dallas Cox

No, it should be done strictly and evenly with geography. Both parties (but more so the Dems in my opinion) have gerrymandered outrageous geographic districts simply to increase partisan votership.

Patricia Sari
Patricia Sari

Absolutely not. Gerrymandering has been the bain of true representation. Michigan is a prime example of redistricting throwing the balance of power to a minority party.

Ben Hardin
Ben Hardin

The Convention of States Project ostensively holds that federal government through unaccountable bureaucracy has overreached its constitutionally established boundaries. That’s a view I think is more prevalent in the States that pleaded for States rights since before they lost the Civil War. But from a different perspective my concern is that oligarchy has impeded democratic expression, absent bounds that should heretofore have been in the Constitution. Amendments that I believe might capture the imagination of citizens in both red and blue States are as follows: 1. Nonpartisan (not bi-partisan) congressional redistricting commissions nationwide. 2. At-large congressional districts in smaller States and five-seat or a combination of five-seat and at-large districts in States with six or more Representatives. 3. Electing, in a nonpartisan process, the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate by the general electorate in presidential election years and revamping, through a nonpartisan process, legislative committees. 4. Initiative and Referendum measures on general election ballots. 5. Banning of official party primaries and providing uniform access for candidates’ names on ballots in nonpartisan primaries and general elections. 6. Replacement of first-past-the-post voting method with a uniform information-rich expressive voting method such as approval plus grade. 7. Presidential authority to “veto” line item appropriations in bills and Congressional authority to override the line-item veto with a simple rather than 2/3 majority. 8. Presidential authority, in the last half of his/her second term, to proposed amendment(s) to the Constitution which if not ratified by a 3/4 majority in Congress, could be ratified by a 60 percent majority in the next general election and a 70 percent majority in the following second next general election. 9. General electorate authority to propose initiatives for constitutional amendments which the general electorate could also ratify through supermajority votes of at least 70 percent in two successive election cycles. 10. Nonpartisan nominations and elections of Presidents and abolition of the Electoral College voting method. 11. Expanding the number of Supreme Court justices to the original 11 and authorizing the President, at least eight years after the expansion, the option of dismissing one justice, without stating prejudice, from among at least three justices who have served longer than 18 years or who have reached the age of 72, and allowing the justice to remain seated until a replacement is nominated and confirmed.

Ben Hardin
Ben Hardin

Although I favor nonpartisan (not bipartisan) redistricting, the antidote for gerrymandering that I also favor even more and in addition to it is having multi-seat congressional districts. See the January 13 posting on the FB page Electoral Reform for a More Favorable Congress.

Samuel Bernard Johnson III
Samuel Bernard Johnson III

What Illinois seeks to do is similar to what the State of California did. Also, see recent ruling from the United States Supreme Court on Independent redistricting commissions. See California Officials Praise Supreme Court Ruling On independent Redistricting Commissions at http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-supreme-court-congressional-districts-gerrymander-20150629-story.html. My fellow Independents our grassroots movement continues to move forward! Join the revolution and support your fellow Independents who run for office at the state and Congressional levels!

Duck Dragoon
Duck Dragoon

The drawing of district lines by partisan politics had been going on from the beginning. A strongly Anti-Federalist Virginia Legislature drew very partisan boundaries in an attempt to keep James Madison from winning a seat in the first House of Representatives.

Robert Weber
Robert Weber

Hee hee Hee.... Tell me where you are going to get a totally independent panel from???? The very how what when where of establishing such a guideline would would incorporate parties.. Three independents three republicans three democrats or whatever numbers the " independents would be cornered / out gunned.... And getting seven independents verses six DEMS / Rep would never happen . The court time/ the money/ and ofcoarse the so called Supreme Court or DOJ Would rule / judge how???? ......... Said it before many many times..... The CONSTITUTION SAYS " ONE LEGAL CITIZEN, ONE LEGAL VOTE" until the American public realize we have been manipulated into the " ELECTORIAL college" " cacuses " " winner take all" " districting" we are plain and simply F... sorry for that ... If we want change Demand / peaceful protest/ million person March to Washington for " ONE LEGAL CITIZEN, ONE LEGAL VOTE" everyone votes , all votes counted, the state's representatives run for Senate/ House the number allowed for each state / the top popular E votes fill those positions..... Districts is just a way to seperate the state from the people......

Ken Hald
Ken Hald

Give me a nano second to think...No.

Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson

Truly independent voters should support the conventionofstates.com. Take the power back from entrenched cronies

Marty Wolff
Marty Wolff

Independent and (hopefully) non-partisan redistricting? Gotta love it.

Brian C McKinley
Brian C McKinley

District lines should be random groupings of equal population done by a computer.

Greg Williams
Greg Williams

County lines should be the district and the counties should vote for which counties they are tied to when population demands multiple counties in a district.

Raymond Berry
Raymond Berry

Wrong, they carve up districts exactly so voters matter. To the political class what is good for white people is not good for black people. What is good for men is not good for women. What is good for the young is not good for the old, and what is good for Christians is not good for atheist. The districts are drawn so that you can have a black congressman, or a leftist congress woman.

Chris Warner
Chris Warner

No! In CA we have an independent commission made up of democrats, independents, and republicans in the same percentages as registered voters in CA. So far so good, the democrats have lost their super majority in the state senate.

Ed Montero
Ed Montero

For the people and by the people. We need to make them understand that. The parties don't represent us anymore and we need every vote to count. The electoral college doesn't represent us anymore. Corporations own the media and we are lied to everyday. I want my voice to be heard. The country is broken and we need to start over again. Rebuild reset revolt replace rise up and make them feel the Bern.

Steve Chasteen
Steve Chasteen

Here's what McFarter won't tell you. He and Shimkus are both in a district that is very heavily Republican! They both pushed for it to be that way! Shimkus is a career politician and McFarter is working on it! Both are two of the biggest liars on the planet! How do I know, I live in that district!

Anatole Evans
Anatole Evans

Seriously when was the last time you saw smart foreign policy??? Not until we fix the rigged economy will we get smart policy abroad!!! Yes the military industrial media complex are able to manipulate congress in the same way as big oil, big Pharma, and Wall Street! Expect more status quo with HRC and more stupid wars of aggression! Look at the polling trajectory of where Sanders started and how far HRC has fallen! Amazing and totally missing from the discussion! Hillary Clinton is asking us to believe the corrupting influence of money does not change congressional bills and votes! She is asking us to believe the one percent are spending billions in lobbying for no reason! If you are buying this I got some things I would like to sell you!!! Yes the media blackout is in full effect! Check out Trump coverage Vs. Sanders!!! Guns and abortion! Keeping the people distracted and stuck on stupid! Divide and conquer! Only rich lives matter? Stand up to Hill first!! Trump is next! About as fair and balanced as the Corporate media! Feel the Bern! The two party system has been playing the same game for forty years! The only ones benefiting and getting what they want is the one percent! Just a trending news story brought to you by repetition creates reality inc. Also brought to you by just ignore Bernie Sanders inc. Not all that different from how Bill Cosby handled these questions! Bill Clinton is just a much better liar! Check out the list of allegations and the number of women making them! I believe victims and I don't trust the Clintons! Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby used power, intimidation, and a persona larger than life to silence a lot of women! Just wrong! Rape was part of the allegations and money was paid out! How many women need to come forward before we believe them? HRC is enabler in chief!

Hayden Wilson
Hayden Wilson

No way. The entire point of elections is to serve people. So how did we ever get to a place where legislators could, in a bipartisan manner, carve up districts so that voters don't matter? Perfect example of both parties working against the voters.

Jeff Marston
Jeff Marston

For Obama to discuss this issue--to support this issue before the legislature of his home state is critical.  If he doesn't, he should be asked why not?  If he doesn't, his lack of leadership here is truly part of the problem.

Albert P
Albert P

I want to see Obama come out more strongly in favor of this. It was nice to hear it during the SOTU but I'd like to hear him come out in support of Independent Maps.