On Sunday, January 28th, Moving Forward attended a forum hosted by the Democratic Party of Evanston (DPOE) on Partisan Redistricting and the 2018 Election. The moderators and panelists were:
Cynthia (Cindi) Canary, formerly Executive Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and of the Independent Maps Campaign
Cliff Kelley, WVON Talk Radio Host, Political Commentator and former Chicago Alderman
Clinton Anderson, City Councilman, Beloit, WI, and former candidate for Wisconsin General Assembly (at just 24 years old)
Topics included the pan-partisan efforts to preserve power through gerrymandering at the national, state, and city level; the pros and cons of independent commissions in the redistricting process; the lawsuits and Supreme Court cases around partisan and racial gerrymandering - of which, Mrs. Greenwood is an active participant in; the unique shape of certain districts like IL-04; and the conflicts that important laws like the Voting Rights Act impart upon the map-drawing process.
While the Republican Party takes much of the heat over partisan (and racial) gerrymandering, and rightly so given the processes and excesses of the 2011 cycle, this is an issue that both parties are often too self-serving on. In Illinois, the Democrats control the legislature and have used this power to draw favorable maps for themselves and future Democratic candidates. Even in Chicago, the drawing of lines for Wards has always also been done in self-interest and for control.
One thing that was evident from the forum and through the focus that Moving Forward has placed on the issue of gerrymandering is that there is no single approach or process that is foolproof and accomplishes all goals of fairness and representation. There will always be tradeoffs between compactness, preserving communities of interest, competitive districts, the "efficiency gap" and more. The goal - and what Moving Forward advocates for - is a transparent, non-partisan (or at least bi-partisan) process that draws district maps with all of the above factors in mind and can (and does) explain to constituents how and why these decisions were made.
Finally, Moving Forward is hoping to bring Mrs. Greenwood, Mr. Yang, or Mr. Loury to speak at a future Moving Forward meeting or event. For more information, check out the various links in this post or contact us.