A coalition of good government groups and individuals hopscotched the state in the past two months to talk about launching an effort to improve the way legislative districts are drawn in Illinois. Reboot Illinois joined that effort, hosting a town hall meeting in Peoria with Ryan Blitstein of CHANGE Illinois!
We got terrific feedback and advice then. We did a lot of listening. And today begins phase two.
Blitstein, a senior strategist for the effort, and Campaign Manager Michael Kolenc will jump-start the signature collection effort today under a new name: Yes for Independent Maps.
If you've been looking for something you can do to stem corruption in Illinois, boost fairness and return power to the people of Illinois, this is your chance. Sign on. Sign up. Grab some signatures of your family, friends and neighbors. Talk it up.
"We are excited to launch this campaign to fix Illinois' broken, behind-closed-doors redistricting process and put the voters back in charge," Blitstein said.
As it works now, corruption is born when politicians game the election process by fixing the maps to outcomes they practically predetermine. After every census, one political party or the other gains control of the mapmaking. They retreat to a closed room and drawn the lines to give themselves as many election victories as possible.
In essence, they pick the voters rather than voters picking them. In essence, they render your choice and your vote practically meaningless and create districts with as few truly competitive contests as possible. They ensure their political party will win as many districts around the state as possible to give them the majority power in Springfield.
The Yes for Independent Maps nonpartisan coalition today will start the herculean task of collecting more than 300,000 signatures of registered Illinois voters. Those signatures will be needed by May 4, 2014 to secure a spot on the November 2014 ballot.
Members of the coalition so far include Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, CHANGE Illinois!, Reboot Illinois, Chicago Appleseed, Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights; Citizen Advocacy Center, Illinois Public Interest Research Group and Latino Policy Forum.
It will take people speaking up, acting up and fighting for change to make this work. The power grabbing starts when the political parties draw the maps to their utmost advantage. It's not right and it takes away power from the people who truly own this government and who fund it.
You can make a difference right here and right now. Together we all can work for a better Illinois. Find out more by staying tuned to Reboot Illinois and visit IndependentMaps.org
It's time the people came first in Illinois. It's time we all worked together to put voters back in charge. Let's do it. Let's say Yes! for Independent Maps.
Sign up to put people first here and we'll alert Yes! for Independent Maps that you want to help.