This fall the voters of Illinois may have the chance to vote on a very important amendment to the Illinois Constitution, the Independent Map Amendment. This amendment puts the redistricting process into the hands of non-partisan and independent map makers and takes it out of the hands of whomever is currently in power in Springfield. 

After two spring sessions have come and gone without a full budget, it is time to take back some control from the representatives in Springfield who set up their own districts. In short, they choose us, instead of vice versa.

 Both parties have been to blame for the terrible shape of Illinois’ finances and the crazy shaped districts that they call “fair.” The tiny town of Riverside has been cut, pasted, wiggled and squished into neighboring districts in a process known as gerrymandering. 

This process keeps the power in the hands of those who draw the maps. This process also leads to non-competitive elections. Over half of the current representatives in Springfield had no opponents in the last election. 

This is not a new process; it goes back to the 1820s in the very old state of Massachusetts. Even the governor at the time, Governor Gerry (after whom the process was cynically named), did not like it.

 If this amendment survives the inevitable court challenges that have more to do with retention of power than with sound constitutional issues, everyone should vote “yes” in the fall. 

This amendment has already gathered twice the number of necessary signatures. It has been certified by the state board of elections. Other states have applied this method with excellent results. It is time for the voters to put democracy back into the state of Illinois

 Jan Goldberg

Riverside