Ballot measures seek redistricting changes in Illinois, South Dakota

Voters in two Midwestern states may soon have the chance to take the power of drawing legislative districts out of the hands of their legislatures. In South Dakota, a proposed constitutional amendment has already been certified and will appear on the fall ballot. It calls for a nine-member, independent commission to handle the state’s redistricting process. No commissioners could have served in state political office or a political party’s office within the last three years. In addition, no more than three people from the same political party could be named to the commission. 

Similarly, rules for the proposed 11-member commission in Illinois would ensure that no single party controls the redistricting process. Enough petition signatures have been submitted to get this constitutional change on the fall ballot; however, legal challenges are likely. In Illinois, amendments typically have to be approved by the General Assembly — with the exception of certain subjects related to the legislative article of the state Constitution.

The South Dakota and Illinois proposals would not apply to congressional districts. In April, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed LB 580. Under this proposal, an independent commission would have adopted redistricting maps (including for congressional districts) and submitted them to the Legislature for approval.
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