Return of Cumulative Voting in Illinois? (Part 2)

by John Parker // Published July 8, 2009

In a blog written on June 18, 2009, I wrote concerning the possible return of cumulative voting to elect member of the Illinois General Assembly in multimember districts by Aurora Representative Chris Lauzen.  As recently as July 3, 2009, Illinois activist John Bambenek began a petition drive to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November 2010 that would convert the legislature from a bi-cameral chamber to a unicameral one in which members are elected in multimember districts.  Under Bambenek's "Put Back Amendment" proposal, the number of legislators would increase from 39 to 177, which is higher than the 118 members that Lauzen proposed to be elected under cumulative voting.  In addition to the state of Illinois electing representatives through cumulative voting, members of the assembly would be term limited to run for four two-year terms.  Party leaders in the General Assembly would be held in their respective positions for one term (two years).  For Bambenek to be successful, the activist will need 280,000 signatures  from registered Illinois voters in order for the amendment to be listed on the ballot.  Once placed on the ballot, 60% of Illinois voters would have to approve the change from a single member district system to a multimember member district system.