- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 16, 2014

Rockford Register Star

Register to vote; fight partisan political maps

The primary election is about a month away, and if you want to have a say in the political process you must register to vote by Tuesday (Feb. 18).

There are important local and state races on the March 18 ballot, including Illinois governor and Boone and Winnebago counties’ sheriffs.

Voting is a right too few people take advantage of. Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar told an interviewer in 2012 that “in Illinois there’s nothing more political than redistricting.” Very true and perhaps a bit of an understatement. If you looked at your state representative’s or your state senator’s district, you’d see that the map defies common sense. The goal in the map-making process is to protect incumbents, especially incumbents of the party in power.

In Illinois that happens to be the Democrats, who drew political maps to ensure Democrats got elected or re-elected. The politicians pick the voters by making sure district boundaries have as many voters likely to see things their way as possible. Republicans do the same thing in states they govern.

Edgar and people who are interested in good government support Yes for Independent Maps, the citizen initiative that is trying to gather the necessary signatures to get an amendment on the November ballot to change the redistricting process in Illinois. The current redistricting process gives us only the illusion of democracy. The system protects those in power and they are pretty happy with the way things are going.

Our guess is that you’re not real happy with a state that has the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation, the worst pension liability and a history of corruption.

If you want to learn more, or would like to donate or to help circulate petitions, go to the group’s website: independentmaps.org.

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February 16, 2014

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan

Feds should rescue Grand Tower

Our nation doles out roughly $50 billion annually in foreign aid. Do a little research and you will find America is by far the global leader in aid to other nations.

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