Another day, another stack of petitions is arriving in Springfield for a constitutional amendment. A day after the term limits petitions were filed, the independent maps petitions departed the Chicago campaign headquarters on their way to the Board of Elections. “We’ve been working over the past nine months to gather signatures all over the state, with a lot of volunteers, thousands and thousands of volunteers, and then a very large paid effort where we had field organizers out six and seven days a week gathering signatures,” campaign manager Michael Kolenc said Thursday morning before the petitions, bound in a stack 27 feet long, were loaded into a tractor-trailer for the ride to Springfield.
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Kolenc says there are 532,264 signatures, with 298,000 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. About one-third were gathered by volunteers. The measure, if it’s approved, would establish an independent, largely non-political commission to draw districts for the General Assembly every 10 years. As it is now, the maps are drawn either directly by, or under the influence of, the lawmakers themselves. This effort has the support of Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, even if it means some of the power of the Democratic Party will be shrunk. “What I want to have is a democracy that works well in the state of Illinois, and having maps that make sense for citizens is an important step in getting there,” she said.
Kolenc says he expects a line-by-line signature challenge, and a legal challenge as to whether this measure meets the requirements for a petition-drive constitutional amendment.