September 18, 2015

Lecture to focus on redistricting proposal

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Cindi Canary, director of the effort to adopt the Independent Map Amendment, will discuss potential legislative redistricting in Illinois later this month. 

Sponsored by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, Canary will outline her organization’s legislative redistricting proposal. The luncheon lecture is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sept. 28, at the Carbondale Civic Center. 

The lecture is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Lunch is included and advance registration is required. The registration deadline for lunch is Wednesday, Sept. 23.  Email or call 618/453-4078 to register. 

David Yepsen, institute director, notes the institute has been working on redistricting issues since the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, institute founder, was director. The institute’s regular polls find “overwhelming support for changing the way the state draws district lines,” Yepsen said. The institute does not endorse specific proposals, but “the goal is to continue to focus on the issue, options and arguments surrounding it,” he said. 

The polls are accessible at

The Independent Map Amendment would establish a non-partisan, independent 11-member commission “responsible for drawing state legislative districts in a way that is transparent and open to the public,” according to the organization’s website. The amendment would end the existing redistricting process controlled by the state legislature. 

There is opposition to the proposal, Yepsen said, adding that he hopes to bring “other groups and voices in the debate to the community to discuss the issue.” 

Redistricting is “one of the most important public policy issues in the state,” he said. 

Canary, along with Simon and then-Lt. Gov. Bob Kustra helped found the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. She has also served as executive director of the League of Women Voters of Illinois, and in the American Bar Association’s Public Education Division.

For more information on the program, contact the institute at 618/453-4009 or visit