ILLINOIS FARM BUREAU TO SUPPORT INDEPENDENT MAP AMENDMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2015
Director of State Legislation
Illinois Farm Bureau
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) today announced its support of the Independent Map Amendment coalition, a group seeking an Illinois constitutional amendment to change the way state legislative districts are drawn.
“This is a great opportunity for the voters of Illinois to put on the ballot an option for change,” said David Erickson, vice president, IFB. “Illinois Farm Bureau members have long sought to bring an independent process to the way our state legislative districts are drawn and this proposal is a balanced approach.”
IFB will work with the coalition to reach the goal of gathering 600,000 signatures of registered voters by April 2016. The Illinois Constitution requires that any petition seeking to amend the Legislative Article of the Illinois Constitution gather at least 290,216 valid, registered voter signatures.
“We are delighted the Illinois Farm Bureau has joined the fight for fairness in the redistricting process,” said Dennis FitzSimons, Chair of Independent Maps. “Illinois farm families want a fair shake in Springfield and understand that the current way state legislative districts are drawn makes that more difficult. Last November, only one candidate was on the ballot in 60 percent of legislative elections. Voters deserve better: Elections with choices, where issues are debated and candidates listen to their constituents.”
The proposed constitutional amendment would create an 11-member independent redistricting commission to draw legislative districts for General Assembly members. The commissioners would be selected at the same time of each federal decennial census, with the first commission appointed in 2021.
New districts drawn by the commission would be contiguous and substantially equal in population and would comply with federal law. All of the commission’s meetings and records would be open to the public. After a majority of commission members approve a plan, the new districts would be established.
“We are very excited to support the Independent Map Amendment coalition,” Erickson said. “We believe a change in the way maps are drawn will benefit not only our members, but every voter in the state, which is why we will be encouraging Farm Bureau members to sign the petition and then circulate the petitions amongst their families, friends, and communities.”