Author’s update 8/26/2016: Unfortunately, the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that Illinois’ citizens will not vote on an official ballot whether redistricting of the state’s legislative districts be handling by an independent commission instead of being unilaterally drawn by politicians. See the link: Illinois Supreme Court Decision
Dionne Warwick sang a song “Do you know the way to San Jose?” back in the 1960’s. Here’s a YouTube clip of Ms. Warwick singing the song: Dionne Warwick. Hal David wrote the lyrics and Burt Bacharach wrote the music. It’s a lively song with a good beat, back in the 60s, many songs had a “good beat” after all your dancing should match the spinning discothèque ball with its twirling glass-mirrors. Gee, I wonder what happened to all of those twirling glass-mirrored balls? Well, as usual, I start one trend of thought by going off onto another one!
What I really want to talk about are maps. MAPS! You say. In particular I plan to talk about legislative district maps. You know the kind that are drawn by the “powers-to-be” in each political party to perpetual their power bases and, of course, job security.
As usual I’ll start with a definition. That is, what is a map? It’s a different question than I posed in my blog topic title which asks the question, what’s in a map. So, one definition of what a map is:
“a maplike delineation, representation, or reflection of anything.” I chose definition #2 from the definitions offered at Dictionary.com*
*Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/map (accessed: August 14, 2016).
Why do I bring this question up? Well, the State of Illinois is in the midst of an electoral-type dilemma. Actually the State of Illinois is in the midst of many dilemmas, one of them being trying to operate without a budget, but that’s also a story for another blog (maybe). This particular dilemma has occurred before. Citizens of the state have tried to solve it more fairly or, one could say, more equitably, ethically, and legally, in the past. But the “vote” never happened because the issue never made it to the ballot to be voted upon!
Wow, this is a really serious issue. (As if it is the only serious issue, it’s not, but, it “drives” many other serious issues because of the “very nature” of it.) We are hearing “tons” about the Constitution of the United States lately. I must admit whatever issues may or may not be caused, solved, talked about, dissected, or re-surfaced by the Trump-Clinton Presidential race, the U.S. Constitution is front and center, big-time. The State of Illinois also has a Constitution.
There was an advertisement run in the Chicago Tribune on August 14, 2016. To quote the ad: “Illinois Elections should reflect the will of the people.” There is another group opposing a ballot vote, it is referred to as “Opponents of Independent Maps and The People’s Map.”
“Similar to reforms enacted by voters in California and Arizona, the Independent Map Amendment would create an independent commission to draw legislative district boundaries without regard to incumbency or partisanship. It would protect the voting rights of racial and ethnic minorities and allow the public to view and participate in redistricting.” http://www.mapamendment.org/news/10682Link
Needless to say, this is a very complicated issue and it has been “visited” in the past by other proponents of making the drawing of legislative district maps more fair, equitable, and representative of the State’s voting population. The “drawing” of legislative districts would be accomplished by an independent commission and not by “career politicians.” The fight for inclusion on a voting ballot has risen to the Illinois Supreme Court. This is not the first time such a proposal has been presented and petitioned to the State of Illinois asking for a ballot vote to be called and voted by the citizens on the manner and procedure to draw legislative districts in the State.
How is this an economic issue? Well, thinking of the definition of economics which is “the management of scarce resources”, each legislative district contains eligible voters. Depending upon how a legislative district is “drawn”, the votes of a legislative district will foster the election of one political candidate over his/her opponent. The votes from each legislative district influence, for example, the State Representative, State senator, U.S. House of Representative (for the district included), and U.S. senator of the State of Illinois. These elected officials will foster, sheppard, promote, and initiate those ideas and proposals particular to the “legislative district” that he/she represents (hopefully).
One of the issues that caused the American Revolution War in 1776 was “taxation without representation.”
It is this representation that is being challenged by the “mapping” issue. The capriciousness of this representation is displayed by how the legislative district maps are drawn.
The protagonists of this legislative fight are called “The People’s Map.” The newspaper ad states “The People’s Map, a committee that has not disclosed any donors or expenditures.1 Entrenched political leaders who control the map-drawing process.”
(1) “APNewsbreak: Who is funding group challenging redistricting? Associated Press, July 19, 2016. Here’s a link to the news piece: APNewsbreak
So to reiterate my question, “What’s in a Map?” In this case, it’s the “power of the people”. That’s what’s in the “Map.” Illinois is the historical home of one of our greatest American Presidents, Abraham Lincoln. I wonder how “Honest Abe” would have responded to this “balloting issue”. Should the people of Illinois be allowed to vote in November on this re-drawing issue?
I have discovered in the past that it’s all in the wording. Depending upon how the issue is presented (worded) on the voting ballot, voters would “vote” up or down. I have run across many a survey which is poorly “worded.” I would respond one way if “worded” this way or respond another way if “worded” another way. Is it the proverbial “Catch 22”?*
* “Catch–22.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 16 Aug. 2016.