Rep. Olsen Champions Legislation to Ensure Fair Maps in IL

State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) is co-sponsoring two measures this year that seek to take the legislative map-drawing process out of the hands of politicians and ensure a fair and transparent method for creating legislative districts and maps.

HJRCA 46 would provide for the creation of an independent legislative redistricting commission, which would lead a detailed review process of maps submitted by any Illinoisan who would wish to suggest a map. The commission, appointed equally by the four legislative leaders from the Republican and Democratic caucuses, would provide the public with necessary data and tools with which to create map proposals. A multi-faceted scoring rubric would be used to rank all submissions with higher scores generated by maps that keep municipalities and counties together and which are compact in nature. The three highest-scoring maps would be brought to the House and Senate, where a three-fifths majority vote would be required for passage of one of the three maps. In the event that consensus is not reached, the highest-scoring map would be certified by the Secretary of State and become law.

“There is overwhelming bipartisan support for fair maps in Illinois,” said Olsen. “It could very well be the most important thing we could do as lawmakers to restore integrity and true democracy to our election process. This legislative solution takes political influence out of the equation and allows citizens and the commission to drive the process. Most importantly, HJRCA 46 takes into account previous fair maps proposals that have been deemed unconstitutional by the courts, and addresses those specific points in a manner that should withstand a court challenge.”

According to Olsen, HJRCA 46 retains and repurposes the current constitutional participants in the mapping process (redistricting commission, General Assembly, Secretary of State) in order to conform with Illinois court decisions about citizen-led map initiatives. The amendment also increases the number of Representative districts to 119 from 118.

“We must put an end to gerrymandering, which allows partisan politicians to draw maps that protect themselves and all but guarantee a continuation of majority status,” Olsen said.

In addition to HJRCA 46, Olsen joined all members of the House Republican Caucus on Wednesday in filing HR 995, which expresses support for independent redistricting reform and advocates for a non-partisan map-making process for the upcoming redistricting cycle. Both proposals would apply to redistricting beginning in 2021 for the elections to be held in 2022.

Olsen spoke on the House floor regarding these measures on Thursday. His floor comments can be seen here.

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