Partisan redistricting keeps power out of voters' hands, Senate candidate argues
Creating an electoral majority through mapmaking goes against the basic premise that voters in America select their representatives, Craig Wilcox contends.
The Republican and McHenry County Board member running against Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry) in the 32nd District told the Lake County Gazette that the ability to redraw district boundaries after census years provides an unfair advantage to the political party in charge.
“Voters suffer when the political elite are allowed to determine the boundaries of districts,” Wilcox said. “Unfortunately, both political parties are guilty of unduly influencing redistricting processes nationwide. Gerrymandering cuts to the core of one person-one vote by grouping and segregating districts to maximize or minimize a certain constituency base.”
Wilcox’s view parallels 15 Illinois Republicans and two Democrats who recently joined 65 lawmakers across the country signing onto an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court gerrymandering case Gill v. Whitford.
Wilcox, a retired Air Force colonel, said partisan redistricting must end.
“Illinois has suffered from gerrymandering," he said. "Anytime 50 percent of the popular vote turns into 60 percent of General Assembly seats won (Illinois House in 2012 and 2014), the will of the voter has been turned into the will of the political parties."
If elected, Wilcox said he has answers.
“Fair and impartial boundaries drawn without political influence or consideration of past voting records,” Wilcox said. “Strict vertical and horizontal boundaries driven by population models would be ideal, following major state roadways, transportation routes and existing county/township/municipality boundaries.”
With the election drawing near, voters should be made privy to political mapmaking, he said.
“We should always beware anytime politicians are allowed to influence aspects of voting boundaries, voter registration, voter polling locations and voting rules,” Wilcox said. “Open, transparent and widely published rules for boundary development is a strong step toward returning voter outcomes to the voters, not the politicians working to remain in power.”
The only way to end gerrymandering is to vote out incumbents and vote in new blood, he said.
“We need political representation who will stand up and fight for fair, equitable and reasonable government; who spend more time and energy working to find solutions to problems rather than fixing blame for problems,” Wilcox said.