Signatures to put redistricting issue on ballot top 400,000

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A coalition has more than two-thirds of its goal of 600,000 petition signatures to put a measure on the ballot creating a special commission to draw state legislative districts. The Independent Maps coalition announced Monday that more than 400,000 Illinois residents have signed petitions to put the proposed state constitutional amendment on the 2016 general election ballot. State House and Senate districts are redrawn every 10 years, with the process essentially done by incumbent lawmakers. Independent Maps chairman Dennis FitzSimons says maps are currently drawn “to discourage competition and protect incumbents.” The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports the proposed amendment would create an 11-member commission to bypass politicians. Roughly 290,000 valid signatures are needed to put the measure on the ballot, but the coalition wants 600,000 to fend off any challenges.