Lawsuit Filed Against Two Constitutional Amendments Seeking to be Put on November Ballot

WTVO/WQRF -- Who could be against Illinois voters having a say on whether state legislators should be term-limited, or that legislative districts should not be 'gerrymandered' to favor any political party?

A group of mostly non-profit organizations in the Chicago-area have already filed suit against two petition drives to put both questions before voters in November. 

A drive to put a Constitutional question on the ballot in November limiting those elected to state office to no more than eight years in the same office was submitted Wednesday.  A second petition drive to put a question on the ballot to have legislative districts drawn by a non-partisan commission was submitted on Thursday.  Both petition drives collected more than a half-million signatures of Illinois residents, far in excess of what is required by state law.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County, was brought by seven groups which largely represent and serve minority communities in Chicago.  Their lawsuit (see link below) alleges both efforts do not meet the criteria of Article XIV of the Illinois Constitution which deals with amending the Constitution.  It was this same section which was cited when a term limits referendum started by Gov. Pat Quinn in the 1990's was declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.  However, it was decided by a narrow margin, and proponents of term limits believe the new proposed Amendment will withstand a constitutional challenge.

While it is not clear exactly why these groups in particular would feel compelled to file suit against both amendment petitions, all represent significant Democratic Party constituencies who might fear the erosion of Democratic Party control should both pass as expected. 

The lawsuit seeks to prohibit the state to expend any public monies to determine the validity of both petition drives.  That would require the court to issue an injunction against the State Board of Elections.  Whether the court decides to do so or not, it appears likely both ballot initiatives will end up before the State Supreme Court.

A copy of the complaint can be found at the link below:

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