Put simply, redistricting determines political power. Every 10 years when U.S. Census data is released, political parties draw legislative boundaries and choose voters who are most likely to give them a political advantage on Election Day. This practice, known as gerrymandering, produces uncompetitive elections, career politicians, and governmental deadlock all because politicians have little to no reason to fear the consequences of being thrown out of office. Illinois is a leading example of the harm that gerrymandering does to our democracy. More than 60 percent of state legislative general elections in 2016 were uncontested with incumbents facing no opposition. The percent of uncompetitive elections are even higher. In 2014, we found that in about 90 percent of state house and senate races, the winner won by more than 55 percent of the vote.
The people of Illinois overwhelmingly support redistricting reform. Citizens across the state understand competitive elections are critical to holding politicians accountable and ensuring they are truly in control of their government.
Need a primer on redistricting? Check out CHANGE Illinois’ presentation ‘Everything you Need to Know About Redistricting’:
Putting an end to partisan gerrymandering is a bipartisan cause that demands bipartisan support from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Check out what former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama had to say about redistricting reform: