Some of our friends are highly skeptical of the Independent Maps movement to restore fairness to Illinois political map making. “What good will it do?” “Voters are too turned off to get engaged again.” “Change is too hard and it takes too long.” Reasonable thoughts. Let’s start with the last statement. Nothing worth attaining ever comes easily or quickly. The best argument for change is whether you are satisfied with the political makeup of Illinois. Most people who don’t have a seat in government will tell you that they are not. The current budget stalemate is just one example of a dysfunctional state government. It’s going to take a long time to get the kind of change needed to get Illinois back on track, but if we don’t start now that change will never happen. Voters are turned off because they really don’t have a choice when they walk into their polling places. In 2014, about 60 percent of elections for the General Assembly were uncontested. Incumbents won 97 percent of the time.
Those who would challenge the incumbents are smart enough to know when the odds are against them so they decide to stay on the sidelines. Campaigning is costly, time-consuming and emotionally draining. No one’s going to go through that when they see their chances are practically nil.
However, if maps were drawn more fairly a savvy challenger would be more likely to run and more likely to win.
What good will it do? Restoring fairness to the system and creating the potential for competitive races are worthy goals in themselves, goals that should lead to the overall goal of creating a better, more efficient state government.