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posted: 5/4/2014 5:01 AM

New map method would give voters control

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I would vote yes to put on the November ballot changing the state Constitution to have a nonpartisan committee devoid of lawmakers draw legislative districts based upon population alone.

Speaker Michael Madigan's reason for opposing this ballot initiative is deceptive. Mr. Madigan holds absolute power in the General Assembly by having one of the smallest districts.

Other districts change for racial/ethnic/party affiliation reasons. His district boundaries have never changed. He carefully nurtures his power chiefly by keeping the 22nd District so small.

Most in the 22nd District are loyally connected to their state representative, adding to his statewide power with each disproportionately significant vote. Opposition is by The Chicago Urban League and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund is also questionable.

The League's purpose is to, " ... work for economic, educational and social progress for African Americans ... through advocacy, collaboration and innovation."

The statewide nonpolitical redistricting ballot proposal trumps special interests.

Similarly, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund has no statewide standing. This "fund" was founded in Texas with a $2 million Ford Foundation grant to advocate for Mexican public school education in Texas. Its national interest lies exclusively with advancing the rights of Latinos throughout the United States. It has no commitment to the voters of Illinois.

When Illinois Democrats led by Mr. Madigan successfully gerrymandered the 8th Congressional District to defeat Joe Walsh and install Washington, D.C.-based Tammy Duckworth, they gave us the best reason to take redistricting authority away.

When adopted, this nonpolitical initiative can return control of state government equally to all of the voters. Otherwise it is onward into the abyss.

Thaddeus J. Kochanny