May 20, 2013

Hearing on redistricting in Illinois is May 30

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will host a public hearing next week to discuss legislative redistricting in Illinois.

The hearing is May 30, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carbondale Civic Center, 200 S. Illinois Ave.

Media Availability

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend the public hearing.  Blitstein will be available to reporters just prior to the hearing at 11 a.m., May 30, at the Civic Center.  For inquiries about the group or to request an interview with Blitstein, please contact Laura Miller at 312/252-4104 or Joanna Klonsky at 312/307-0840.  For more information, contact David Yepsen, Institute director, or Matt Baughman, Institute associate director at 618/453-4009.

Ryan Blitstein, president of “CHANGE Illinois!,” will outline a proposed constitutional amendment and hear ideas and suggestions from the public about the group’s proposal to create a citizens commission to do redistricting.  Under current law, state lawmakers draw their own district lines.

Recently, the group launched a drive to finalize the text of an amendment before starting a petition drive asking voters to put it on the November 2014 ballot.  Blitstein is touring the state explaining the plan and collecting reactions and suggestions.

“This is an opportunity for residents of Southern Illinois to hear directly from one of the leading reform groups in the state – and have an impact on their proposal for changing the redistricting system in the state,” said David Yepsen, director of the Institute.  “The Institute does not endorse specific ballot initiatives just like we don’t endorse specific candidates for office.  We do, however, present a platform for public education, briefings and speakers about various political issues and one of the most important ones facing Illinois is how legislative district lines are drawn.  There needs to be a vigorous debate about this issue.”

Blitstein said, “We are committed to a transparent process that engages citizens across the state.  I am excited that the Paul Simon Institute is giving us the chance to listen to what the people of Southern Illinois have to say about drawing the maps.”

The meeting is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested.  Register by contacting Carol Greenlee, Institute project coordinator, at 618/453-4078 or by email at

For more information about the initiative and a full list of supporters, visit