Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and other state Democratic leaders got what they wanted when they redrew legislative districts to their benefit after the 2010 Census.
If Tuesday’s election results hold, Democrats will have veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly. That’s because they won 40 total seats in the Senate, five more than they’ve held since the last election, and 71 seats in the House.
Much of the party’s gains specifically can be credited to the new maps that were redrawn to protect incumbent Democrats’ seats and give the party an advantage in other districts. The new districts were so gerrymandered that more than half of both chambers’ seats were uncontested on Tuesday’s ballot. That’s democracy at its worst.
In a well-written letter to the Northwest Herald editor that published Friday, Paula Ekstrom, co-president of the League of Women Voters of McHenry County, argued that the redistricting process must change so that voters are the ones choosing their representatives, not the political elite in Springfield.
“Reform needs to outlaw the pattern of incumbent protection by removing politicians from the [redistricting] process and giving control back to the voters,” Ekstrom wrote.
We couldn’t agree more.
The public needs to stand up to career political power brokers like Madigan and demand change.
Illinois taxpayers now are faced with this: The same politicians from the same party that got our state into the fiscal mess it is in are the same ones who have to get us out of it.
Anyone feeling particularly optimistic? We certainly aren’t.
We see more backroom deals such as the one two years ago that led to a corporate tax increase and an income tax increase for all working Illinoisans.
If you haven’t paid close attention in the past to what’s going on in Springfield, you need to now. Illinois is in a precarious financial situation. We don’t have a lot of faith in the elected leaders responsible for finding solutions.