HCA 45
Background and Procedural Information

On April 17, 2008 Illinois Republican Representatives Tom Cross, Jill Tracy, Jim Durkin, and Chapin Rose introduced Illinois House Constitutional Amendment 45.  It has not currently moved to a committee.  It is very similar to IL H.C.A. 44 except that it requires a two-thirds majority instead of a three-fifths majority in the respective legislative body, requires a District Redistricting Commission to have four instead of five members and requires the Special Master to be a retired federal judge and to use a computer program for the redistricting instead of setting no guidelines for the Special Master.    

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?

Single-member districts are a requirement.   

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?

Legislative districts must “reflect minority voting strengths in compliance with all federal voting laws.” The Senate, House of Representatives and their respective District Redistricting Commissions can use voter history information.  The computer program used by the Special Master may not use any “demographic information not required to be used by this section or the United States constitutional or federal law,” including political affiliations of registered voters and previous election results.

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?

The commission would exist only in years ending in one.  The Illinois Senate and House each have responsibility for their own redistricting plan until June 30.  A plan must receive a two-thirds majority vote.  Only the Senate can create a redistricting map for the Senate and only the House can create a redistricting map for the House.  Each body only votes for its own plan.  If a plan is not approved in the Senate the President and Minority Leader must appoint two people to serve on a Legislative District Redistricting Commission.  The House uses a similar plan except that the Speaker of the House and the House Minority Leader appoints the first four commission members to serve on a Representative District Redistricting Commission.  This Commission can approve a redistricting plan with the approval of three of the four Commission members.  If the Commission cannot reach an agreement by July 1 then the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and another Supreme Court Justice selected by the Supreme Court, but from a different party than the Chief Justice will choose one person to act as a Special Master.  The Special Master will then create a final redistricting map using a computer program that the Board of Elections chooses before April 1.   
Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?

No.  There is no provision to foster competitive districts.

Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?

No.  The District Redistricting Commissions “may hold public hearing and collect information,” but it is not required to do so.

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?

No.  There is no provision for mid-decade redistricting.  

November 10th 2005
Why Redistricting and Campaign Reform Are Both Still Relevant
TPM Cafe

This political column cites FairVote as it points to the value of getting rid of winner-take-all elections to as the next step in redistricting reform.

November 2nd 2005
Gerrymander may help GOP in '06
The Napa Valley Registrer

An article that cites FairVote on why Gerrymandering harms elections and has an impact on skewed results.

November 2nd 2005
California, Ohio to vote on redistricting changes
Washington Post

FairVote's Rob Richie gets the last word on lack of voter choice in our elections, as this wire article reports on redistricting reform efforts in California and Ohio.

November 2nd 2005
How Money Buys Power in American Politics

Francis X. Clines, an editorial board member for the New York Times, writes on national politics, gerrymandering and the resultant decreased competitiveness in Congressional elections. Fairvote is cited.

October 27th 2005
To Tame Polarization Of Politics, Fix Our Redistricting System
Roll Call

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