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.  

May 14th 2008
Is the House of Representatives Too Small?

The U.S. House of Representatives has been at 435 members since 1911, when the country was a third of its current population. Research suggests that districts may now be getting too big for adequate representation.

November 15th 2006
Redistricting Reconsidered
Washington Post

Citing FairVote's Dubious Democracy 2006, an editorial notes that non-competition in U.S. House races has causes more fundamental than gerrymandering.

November 1st 2006
Lines of demarcation
Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FairVote research cited in this commentary on lopsided redistricting, uncompetitive districts and the party primary battles they inspire.

October 30th 2006
Electile Dysfunction?
News Release Wire

Former FairVote President Matthew Cossolotto calls for a range of reforms, highlighting two problems of American democracy: "counting the votes" and "making votes count."

August 19th 2006
Eliminate districts
Contra Costa Times

CA resident calls for proportional voting in one statewide district as a congressional redistricting reform.

[ Next ]