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posted: 7/1/2011 3:00 AM

Citizens must get involved

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Jim Slusher's recent article regarding political "gerrymandering" (defined as "dividing election districts so as to gain partisan advantage") is right on. In Illinois the majority party in the state legislature may reconfigure legislative districts every ten years.

Democrats, unfortunately, once again control both houses of the Illinois legislature and accordingly can remap Illinois' voting districts. Of course, this new map maximizes Democrats' chances and minimizes Republicans chances to be elected, hence gerrymandering. He fairly points out that Republicans, when in control, do likewise.

This archaic method is dictated by the Illinois constitution. There is a method to correct the gerrymandering. It requires petitions to be circulated to obtain multiple thousands of registered voters' signatures. Before the 2008 elections, several civic organizations attempted to do this so that a measure could be put on the 2008 ballot that, if approved, would have provided a much better and much more fair method of redistricting.

I circulated petitions and once people were explained the current process and what was being proposed, they willingly signed. However, statewide, enough signatures were not obtained and the proposal could not be put on the ballot.

Mr. Slusher rightly remarked that this is an important issue and despite some newspaper articles, people were generally unaware. He also notes that people generally are unreceptive, uninformed, apathetic, too busy and maybe just don't care about such issues. Unless we, the people, make the effort to initiate necessary changes the politicians will continue to do and have things their way.

How do we make voters aware and get them involved? Continue printing articles. Print them daily. Perhaps encourage or sponsor "town hall" style meetings and forums. There is a saying " tell someone something, then tell them that you told them and finally tell them that you told them that you told them." It might help. We must become involved.

Paul Saam


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