Sangamon Sun

Sangamon Sun

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Hammond backs petition drive to support non-partisan legislative map drawing


By Zeta Cross | Jul 24, 2019

Legislative district maps will be redrawn in 2021 | mugfile

State Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) is renewing her push for “fair maps” for Illinois elections. Hammond supports the creation of an independent commission to redraw the maps of Illinois’ legislative districts in 2021 to combat gerrymandering.

Redistricting maps are currently redrawn by legislators every 10 years, giving an unfair advantage to the majority party, critics maintain. 

Hammond says majority party lawmakers will keep gerrymandering unless the power to redraw districts is taken away from them.

State Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) | Hammond's website

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale has been tracking voter sentiment on the issue since 2010. A 2016 poll showed that 64 percent of Illinois voters, both Democrats and Republicans, support the effort to create an independent, map drawing body.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear gerrymandering cases, punting the issue back to the states. 

Hammond, a Republican from the 93rd District, said the Supreme Court decision caused her to renew her effort to raise public awareness of the issue. Hammond wants voters to sign a petition supporting HJRCA 10, the Illinois House bill that would turn the map making process over to an independent body before 2021, when the maps are set to be redrawn.  

Reform is needed, Hammond says, because the current system enables the majority party to draw partisan districts designed to get them re-elected. 

Steven Westerfield of Granville, a longtime Illinois Republican who is active in the party, said he is fully behind Hammond’s effort. 

“Whether you are in the majority party or the minority party, it doesn’t matter,” he told the Sangamon Sun. “Everybody wants fairness.” 

More than 1,200 people have signed the petition. 

Westerfield does not trust the legislators to appoint the members of an independent committee. He said he would like to see an application process or some other method for choosing people to oversee the process. To make the map drawing process non-partisan, Westerfield says legislators should not be involved. 

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