Push for signatures to get redistricting reform on the ballot - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Push for signatures to get redistricting reform on the ballot

QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -  A group that wants to change the way Illinois draws its political districts says it has the signatures it needs to put a measure on the November ballot.

The reform proposal would make redistricting, which happens every 10 years, more of an independent process than a political one. The hope is it will lead to more turnover in Springfield.

State representative Norine Hammond saw her district take on a much different look after the 2010 redistricting process. The 93rd district now includes all or part of eight counties.

"You have a southern tip of Warren County and an eastern edge of Warren County just enough to get you over into Knox County," Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) says. "It's just crazy. It makes absolutely no sense the way it's done."

Hammond is in favor of making redistricting an independent process rather than a political one.

As it is now, the party in power redraws the maps. Democrats ended up with super majorities in both the Illinois House and Senate after the 2012 election.

"Some of the districts, it's so blatantly obvious, it's criminal," Hammond says.

"They can't help but draw maps that help favor themselves and hurt their political foes," Michael Kolenc says. "It's in their nature, whether it's Republicans or Democrats."

Michael Kolenc the campaign manager for Yes! for Independent Maps.

It's already collected more than enough signatures to make the November ballot. It needs almost 300,000 to be on the ballot. The group has close to 350,000 but would like almost 450,000 by the May 5 deadline.

Kolenc says under the current system, competition doesn't have a chance to foster.

97-percent of incumbents were re-elected in the last election, and two-thirds of them didn't even have an opponent. He says redistricting reform should change that.

"Fairer maps drawn where you're keeping communities of interest whole rather than dividing them up to help or hurt someone is good for everyone. It will help elect better legislators and it might elect some of the same people," Kolenc says.

If you'd like to sign the petition drive, click here.

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