The Illinois Supreme Court has rejected a request to reconsider its split decision that removed from the Nov. 8 ballot a proposed state constitutional amendment aimed at removing much of the politics from the redrawing of state legislative district boundaries. Without comment, the high court’s 4-3 Democratic majority reaffirmed its decision that the proposed amendment was unconstitutional because it did not conform to the narrow legal window for petition-driven citizen initiatives to appear before voters. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who backed the proposal, said Tuesday that the decision was “not unexpected.” He urged lawmakers this fall to move on their own to put before voters a pair of proposed amendments he has adopted as part of his “turnaround agenda.”
“Now that the courts have denied Illinoisans the right to vote on a redistricting referendum in November for the last time, it is up to the General Assembly to address political reform — term limits and independent redistricting — as soon as they reconvene this fall,” he said in a statement.
The Independent Maps coalition gathered more than 563,000 signatures to try to get the proposed amendment on the ballot. It would have created a multiphase process resulting in an 11-member commission to redraw Illinois House and Senate district boundaries after the every-decade federal census.
Lawmakers are charged with drawing the boundaries through a bipartisan commission of their choosing. When the commission deadlocks, as it often has, a tiebreaking member is chosen in a lottery. That didn’t even have to happen this time as the current map was drawn by majority Democrats and signed by Rauner’s predecessor, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.