By Jamey Dunn
As expected, the Democrats’ constitutional amendment to change the way Illinois draws its voting districts failed today.
House Republicans and one Democrat voted down the measure after about two hours of debate this afternoon.
Republicans were critical of the plan because under it, a simple majority could pass a map for both chambers, giving the majority party the power to cut out the minority.
“It gives an edge to the majority party. That’s not the way redistricting should be. It should be a level playing field … and it should not be about us taking care of our own districts. These are not ‘our’ districts,” House Minority Leader Tom Cross said after the vote.
Republicans said the plan was set up to fail so the current system would stay in place.
“No one really thought that was real. It was another attempt, in this state, of reform that really wasn’t reform,” Cross said. He added that Gov. Pat Quinn’s criticism of the measure earlier today only backed up his theory.
Democrats and Republicans alike are critical of the current system, which often ends in a random drawing to decide which party gets to create the map.
Democrats said their proposal is the one that made it through the legislative process and accused Republicans of casting their votes in favor of the current system.
Chicago Democrat Sen. Kwame Raoul, a sponsor of the bill, said he was “highly disappointed. We’re stuck with the status quo.”
He added, “The [Republican-backed] ‘Fair Map’ [amendment] got a fair hearing in both chambers—four and a half hours in the Senate, four hours in the House. It also had its opportunity with the people at large [as a voters’ imitative]. Apparently, the people at large have not embraced it. So it’s gotten its opportunity.”