A local congressman sent an email four minutes after polls closed on Tuesday, and the message crystallizes the need for redistricting reform. U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski wasted no time celebrating victory on Election Day. The email to reporters at 7:04 p.m. from the representative for thousands of Southland residents seemed harmless on the surface. “I want to thank the people of the Third District for their support in the primary and their vote of confidence in my commonsense leadership,” Lipinski said. The six-term moderate Democrat scored 57,783 votes on Tuesday. The problem is that Lipinski faced no opponent in the Democratic primary, and he’s running uncontested in the November general election. Arthur Jones, the only Republican to file, was removed from ballots prior to the primary. Jones is a Holocaust denier who marched with Nazis in Chicago’s Marquette Park in 1978. Will County voters cast 631 write-in ballots for Republicans in the primary. This is the best candidate Republicans could find?
There’s a problem when an entrenched incumbent like Lipinski is able to declare victory eight months before the general election and four minutes after polls closed in the primary, before county clerks had a chance to even begin tallying votes.
The problem is that partisan control over the redistricting process is reducing competition in elections. What’s more, it reduces incentives for elected officials to cooperate with legislators of the other party, which reduces overall civility in government. In other words, gerrymandering gives rise to the likes of Donald Trump. It’s behind the gridlock in Springfield and the state budget impasse. David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, summed it up when he spoke to The Northwest Herald for a series about the alarming increase of uncontested elections in McHenry County.
Full Article: Uncontested elections underscore need for redistricting reform – Daily Southtown.