Plenty of Anger, but Little Chance to Vent at Polls in November

With Illinois state finances in a shambles and our leaders -- who were elected to make hard decisions -- intent on postponing any hard decisions until after they're safely elected again in November, there's a lot of pent-up Illinois voter anger out there.

The problem is, most voters won't have a chance to take out their frustration on the people most responsible for the Illinois budget crisis.

Gov. Bruce Rauner isn't on the ballot this year and, unless you live in House Speaker Michael Madigan's district, you don't get to vote in his race.

And even those who would like simply to vote out all incumbents in Springfield are, mostly, out of luck. Of 158 legislative positions up for election this year, only 62 are competitive. Good luck finding an incumbent with a challenger to vote for.

Incumbents in Illinois are especially secure in part because they serve in districts that often have been created to ensure their re-election. When political parties draw district maps, they do so with an eye toward ensconcing their members in districts with the most friendly voters possible.

Thus, prospective opponents from the opposing party stand little chance and incumbents go unchallenged.

But there was good news this week for those who want to take the politics out of the redrawing of legislative district maps every 10 years. The Illinois State Board of Elections on Monday voted unanimously that Independent Map Amendment had surpassed the requirement of 290,000 valid voter signatures to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would let voters remove politicians from the map-drawing process.

If the amendment survives a lawsuit and makes it onto the ballot, voters will at least have one solid way to vent their frustration with those in power.

Those are our topics on this week's "Only in Illinois."