Supporters of a citizens initiative to remove politicians from the legislative map-making process said they are confident a Cook County judge will rule in their favor, but that it won't be the last word on the issue.
The Independent Map coalition is trying to get a measure on the November ballot that would have an independent commission draw legislative maps after each census rather than politicians. The constitutionality of the measure is being challenged by the group People's Map, which is represented by a lawyer for House Speaker Michael Madigan.
A Cook County judge heard arguments from both sides on June 30. Attorney Lori Lightfoot represents Independent Map. She said the judge rejected many of the opponents' arguments.
“While they won’t say it, they effectively conceded an argument that they had strongly argued two years ago and that they put into their complaint this year, that the whole notion of redistricting is something that is not appropriate as a citizen initiative,” Lightfoot said.
Previous attempts to get the question on the ballot didn't survive legal challenges. But supporters said this time is different. A ruling is expected July 21. From there the issue could be appealed by either side all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.
If that happens, Lightfoot said ballot certification could be delayed. “We’re hopeful that we’ll get a decision in time and get the briefing done on an expedited basis and have the Supreme Court have plenty of time to render a decision on this issue,” Lightfoot said.
There’s an Aug. 26 deadline to certify the ballot.
To even be considered for the ballot, the Independent Map coalition collected nearly 600,000 signatures, which have been validated by the Illinois State Board of Elections.