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Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 10.06.20 AMWe believe, as many of you do, that creating a system for an open, independent redistricting process in Illinois is one of the most critical reforms needed in Illinois. More competitive and fairly-drawn legislative districts could lead to meaningful and overarching change in our state’s political system.

ICPR has officially signed on as a supporter of the Independent Map Amendment (IM) in Illinois, and the IM group has agreed to officially recommend our transparency standards as part of the implementation process should their measure pass.

We also attended the Illinois House Executive Committee hearing in Springfield on Monday to testify on HJRCA 58, a bill by Representative Jack Franks to create an independent redistricting commission in Illinois. We will continue to track these proposals as they move through their respective processes.

For any redistricting reform proposal, there are certain standards for openness and transparency that ICPR has developed to ensure robust public participation in the redistricting process. There six main points in our proposal. Click here for a full copy.

1. Public Meetings: ICPR believes that there should be at least eight public meetings required for the Redistricting Commission, and the public should be notified of each of these meetings at least five business days in advance. There should also be a final public meeting on the Commission’s recommended map so that the public can be part of the final map’s adoption.

2. Positive Outreach to Diverse Communities: There should be a requirement to engage in meaningful outreach efforts to ensure a diverse applicant pool for the Redistricting Commission. Once the Commission is formed, there should be explicit requirements for extensive outreach when publicizing public hearings and soliciting feedback on map proposals.

3. Openness and Diversity in the Hiring Process: The application and hiring processes for the Redistricting Commission should be conducted in a transparent and open manner. The proposal should require that geographic and ethnic diversity be considered in selecting Commissioners.

4. Conflict of Interest Provisions: Redistricting reform in Illinois must include provisions to prevent current or recently serving legislators, lobbyists, or political party insiders from serving on the Redistricting Commission. Commissioners should also be prevented from running for office throughout the decade that their redistricted map is in effect.

5. Payment of Commissioners: The proposal should specify how and if Commissioners will be compensated for their time. Unless Commissioners are appropriately compensated, the ability of many people to serve as Commissioners will be severely inhibited, which may affect the diversity of the commission.

6. Public Access to Appropriate Feedback Tools: Redistricting reform in Illinois should include provisions for mapping software that is open and accessible to the public to submit their own map proposals. All pertinent census and other data used in the redistricting process should also be made free and open to the public.

We have received questions about what would occur if two proposals for redistricting reform are on the ballot in November. This occurred in both the California and Florida redistricting processes, and there is certain language that can be included to clarify the process. We believe a provision should be included so that if both measures pass, the proposal with the highest affirmative votes becomes law. Click here for a full proposal.

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