The group pushing for a voter referendum to change how political maps are drawn in the state say recent opposition to their proposals is misleading and shows the naysayers are running scared.
Speaker Michael Madigan was asked if President Barack Obama’s recent support of redistricting reform the Commander in Chief said should allow voters to pick their politicians and not the other way around is an easy concession for Governor Bruce Rauner.
Madigan was ready with a letter from the group The People’s Map, which raises concerns about the Independent Map Amendment Group’s proposals.
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Madigan said the Independent Map Amendment proposal “has components that work against established constitutional and statutory requirements on minority representation on redistricting.”
“The Independent Map proposal would negate the protections that were put in place,” Madigan said. “There’s no questions about that.”
However, Jim Bray with Independent Maps said opponents are wrong and are worried they’ll lose power.
“When you run scared, you tend to exaggerate and not tell the truth about what’s being done,” Bray said.
Bray said opponents to the Independent Map Amendment group’s proposal are “using scare tactics to try to get people to question the Independent Map Amendment based on their allegations that it doesn’t protect minority voting rights, which is patently false.”
“They’re probably the strongest voting rights provisions in this amendment of any districting system in the nation,” Bray said. “So we are confident this will support minority rights throughout Illinois.”
Madigan said the Independent Map group has ulterior motives.
“What the proponents of the Independent Maps want,” Madigan said, “is to change the underlying law and constitutional requirement in Illinois to advantage themselves in federal court action. That’s what they want.”
Bray said what Madigan and other opponents want is to hold on to their map making power.
“Whether it’s Republicans or Democrats who enjoys that power because it makes them more powerful,” Bray said. “And they’re going to hold on to that for as long as they can and they want to try and stop us.”
The Independent Map Group said they’ve gathered more than 500,000 signatures and a year-end report had their contributions at nearly $3 million.
Redisistring reform is one of the major issues Governor Bruce Rauner is pushing for as part of his “Turnaround Agenda” and was also raised as one of President Obama’s points last week to the General Assembly to help make for a better politics.