Candidate Jim Caffrey supports a constitutional amendment to create an independent commission to draw legislative districts. According to Caffrey, an independent commission would put an end to gerrymandering in Illinois which benefits political parties instead of the voters. He added, “We have districts that look like poorly-designed jigsaw puzzle pieces. We need a system in place to create fairer, more competitive districts that will give Illinoisans more choice, increase voter turnout, and reduce polarization.”
President of the League of Women Voters of the United States, Chris Carson, has stated that “Partisan gerrymandering is distorting and undermining our representative democracy, giving politicians the power to choose their voters, instead of giving voters the power to choose their politicians.”
A recent poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute found that 72% of Illinois voters favor an independent commission to create legislative districts. Several states have a more open, transparent, and fair process that Illinois could look to for guidance. One example is next door in Iowa. Iowa has an independent group that draws the maps while providing the legislature with the ability to simply approve or reject what’s been proposed. The map-making team, which includes two geographers, puts a priority on the voter.
Brad Mc Millan, Ex. Director of the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service at Bradley University in Peoria, IL, has written that after California passed redistricting reform and had an independent commission draw legislative maps, the gridlock in California government lessened as they dealt directly with financial and other key public policy issues that had plagued California for years. That situation mirrors the gridlock and financial problems that we have here in Illinois.
Caffrey also talked about the need to move quickly because of the upcoming census, “Gerrymandering is a word that we are going to be hearing more of as we move toward mandatory redistricting based on the upcoming 2020 census. If we get an amendment in place now that establishes a commission, we will be ready for the redistricting process two years from now.”
Jim Caffrey says, “Let’s end the polarization of politics by ending gerrymandering.”
The 47th District runs along the eastern portion of DuPage County and includes all or portions of Elmhurst, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Westmont, and Downers Grove. It also includes a small portion of Western Springs in Cook County.