* Gerrymandering is defined as a partisan drawing of legislative districts in a way that gives one party an unfair advantage over its rival

Illinois Fair Independent Maps
Illustration By Rob Tornoe

Every 10 years Illinois legislative maps must be redrawn based on population. But who draws those maps? The politicians in power that’s who. They draw them for their own personal benefit, to get them re-elected and keep them in power, without any thought or concern for the citizens they represent. This is the outcome of politicians drawing the maps:

  • 60% of legislative races are uncontested because the map is rigged. This means you and I don’t have a say or choice on election day. Those in power no matter how they perform in office, or no matter whether or not they represent us and our desires, stay in power. Again it’s rigged.
  • Voters should be selecting their representatives at the polls on election day, but instead the “elected” representatives are selecting their voters so they can stay in power. It’s undemocratic.
  • In 2016 566,000 citizens across Illinois signed petitions for an opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment to establish an independent map-drawing commission to take the power out of the hands of the self-serving elected representatives and put it into the hands of individuals who would draw the map in a fair and non-political manner. It was killed on lame arguments put before a partisan Illinois Supreme Court. Again Illinois citizens were denied an opportunity to change their government… and for the better.
  • 72% of Illinois voters support (18% oppose) a constitutional amendment for an Independent Commission to draw their legislative maps (Paul Simon – Public Policy Institute Poll 2018).


“Amen, and rest in pieces to the one hope we had in this bankrupt state of political hell.

-Chief Justice Rita Garman after defeat of Independent Map Initiative by the Supreme Court

“No issue is more partisan than redistricting

Chicago Tribune

-August 26th, 2016

“Illinois’ political maps are a gerrymandered mess virtually guaranteeing that incumbents win elections no matter what kind of job they’re doing. How else do you explain that 97 percent of incumbents win, even though Illinois appears at the bottom of just about every list worth reading?

Rockford Register Star

-April 20th, 2016

“Thanks to power politics and suspiciously convenient judicial rulings against them, reformers weren’t successful in getting the issue (Independent Maps) before the voters.

Champaign News Gazette

-January 11th, 2018

“Supreme Court’s Democratic majority sides with Madigan on redistricting. Surprise!

Chicago Tribune

-August 26th, 2016

“Gerrymandering is bad for democracy, but its good for Madigan

Chicago Tribune

-August 26th, 2016

“Justices maintained the states corrupt balance of power… Ventriloquist in Chief Mike Madigan

Belleville News Democrat

-August 27th, 2016

“A lawmaker that doesn’t have to earn your vote, doesn’t have to listen to you.

Chicago Tribune

-August 30th, 2015

“We viewed it (Independent Map Amendment) as Illinois last, best hope to save itself and rise from the nations ash heap.

Peoria Journal Star

-May 29th, 2016


Madigan Independent Map
Illustration By Eric Allie

Courts throughout the US (but not in Illinois) have repeatedly told map drawing legislators that legislative districts must be compact and contiguous, which means that districts should not vary much, or be too spread out from its center. In other words, no tentacles reaching away from the center for the purpose of drawing a favorable legislative district.

The bottom line is the courts (again except in Illinois), and we believe all citizens, want a map that is fair and allows for a fair competitive election. Unfortunately, in Illinois, the drawing of the maps is used as a political power tool to protect incumbents and the status quo. Democracy is stymied under the Illinois map drawing by those politicians who benefit from it. That’s just not right! We demand a fair and independent map.

“Politicians always claim to support democracy, but they often come up with creative ways to limit the influence of pesky voters”

National Review

– Aug 29, 2016

“The Independent Map Amendment…..will take the job (of drawing maps) away from politicians and hand it to the people….and protect the interests of the voters”

Chicago Tribune

– Aug 30,2015 

Citizens “initiative process serves as a popular check on out-of-touch legislators, and reminds everyone that it’s the voters who should be in charge of the politicians, not the other way around”

National Review

– Aug 29, 2016

“the resulting maps are so diabolically manipulated that the outcome in most districts is all but guaranteed”

Chicago Tribune

– Aug 30, 2015


A horror story by Michael J. Madigan

Illinois Citizens Uprising Angry Citizens

In 2016 a bipartisan petition drive was started to put a constitutional amendment before the voters of Illinois that would allow the voters to choose a new and fairer way of drawing legislative districts in Illinois. It called for taking the job of drawing legislative maps out of the hands of the self serving politicians and put it in the hands of an independent commission. A commission that wouldn’t take politics into consideration. A commission that wouldn’t try to keep the rigged game going, and try to protect the politicians in power. A commission that would follow the criteria of drawing fair districts, that were compact and contiguous, without any political considerations. A fair map. A just map. A map that encourages, not discourages competition. A map that furthers democracy. Shouldn’t everyone want that? Well over 70% of Illinois voters do. But the politicians, led by Speaker Mike Madigan do not. 

No Change Madigan

Mike Madigan Gerrymadering
Illustration By Scott Stantis

The petition drive to get the Fair Map Amendment was more than a success. Petitions with 563,974 thousand signatures were gathered, nearly twice the 290,000 signatures needed. And on May 6, 2016 those petitions were filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections in Springfield. Illinois voters clearly wanted an opportunity to vote on this very important structural change in how legislative maps would be drawn. The voters did, the entrenched politicians did not. Within 5 days Michael Kasper, Madigan’s lawyer filed suit in the Madigan controlled county of Cook, on behalf of a handful of handpicked plaintiffs asking that the judge to rule the Fair Map Amendment unconstitutional. And as you can guess the Cook County Judge sided with Madigan et al and declared it unconstitutional. Now it was on to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The Illinois Supreme Court was – and is – made up of 7 judges, 4 Democrats (3 from the city of Chicago) and 3 Republicans. The hope was the court would not disenfranchise the almost 560,000 voters who signed petitions and the millions more who wanted to change THEIR OWN government but it was not to be.  On August 25, 2016 the Illinois Supreme Court on a 4-3 vote with all Democrat justices beholden to Mike Madigan upheld the Cook County judges decision that the Fair Amendments Map was unconstitutional. Madigan and all the Springfield entrenched politicians had beat the people one more time.

Illinois Citizens Uprising Angry Citizens
Madigan Still Mine
Illustration by Scott Stantis

The moral of this story is the same old song. The politicians will do anything and everything they can to keep the status quo and keep themselves in power. To us, the citizens and voters of Illinois be damned. While it can seem at times like this will never change, we cannot give up. It’s our state, not theirs. We will, and must, fight on. Fight on for a fair map amendment. Fight on to beat the politicians. Fight on to take back our state.

“Corruption is cemented in Illinois when politicians draw political maps to protect their incumbents”

Chicago Sun Times

-March 12, 2018

“Everybody wants fair maps. Right? When it comes to getting redistricting reforms on the ballot……lawmakers just nod approvingly, then stand silent while House Speaker Madigan’s talked the court into killing those measures”

Chicago Tribune

-May 13, 2018