Legislative boundaries are drawn to favor the party in power

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I want to thank the Tribune for the forceful editorial encouraging the State Board of Elections to give the Yes for Independent Maps supporters more time to prove that they’d collected sufficient signatures to place an amendment on November’s ballot, removing politics from the process of drawing the boundaries for Illinois’ legislative districts.


I’m glad that the Elections Commission came to the same conclusion you did, and voted 5-3 at its meeting to allow the Yes for Independent Maps folks to submit additional evidence.


I’ve worked in Chicago independent politics since 1973. In my first election in Chicago’s 50th Ward, the precinct captain stood inside the polling place and greeted all of the Jewish voters in Yiddish with a cheery “41-A!” (the lever number of the candidate he supported). A few elections later, while we still had mechanical voting machines, somebody put a matchbook under the lever of the (anti-machine) candidate I was supporting, so none of his votes would register.


Politics in Illinois is still big business, but now those in charge have to be a bit more subtle. Good candidates don’t want to run for office because they know the process is rigged. The legislative boundaries are drawn to favor the current officeholders and the party in power. In most districts in Chicago, an independent candidate still can’t win, let alone an ethnic candidate or a Republican.  Downstate, we have districts that haven’t had a real electoral contest in 20 years.


Something must be done to change this!


Those of us who support Yes for Independent Maps will do what we can to see that this amendment gets on the November ballot. We spent months gathering the original signatures, and now we intend to help in the effort to validate them.


I urge all Illinois voters to come to the polls in November and vote in favor of this amendment. And I urge the Election Commission to carefully evaluate the evidence presented and to give the voters a chance to make their voices heard on this matter.


Jane D. Bannor, Chicago

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