Several counties in downstate Illinois voted in the recent election to break off from the state of Illinois to create a new one.
Among the counties who voted in favor were Christian, Shelby and Moultrie Counties, as reported by ABC 20. In Christian County, the proposal passed 6,858 to 3,049. Shelby County voted in favor, 8,470 votes in support and 3,189 against. In Moultrie County, 4,610 voted for it and 1,969 against.
Moultrie County Chairman, David McCabe, said what residents voted on was an advisory referendum to have discussions with other counties.
“It’s going to have to go before the legislature so there’s a process that’s going to have to play out, but this initial vote shows there are a number of citizens that are in favor of at least talking about this,” McCabe said.
“Whether it actually gets to a separation or not remains to be seen, but it does show there’s dissatisfaction and concern within the citizens of downstate Illinois,” McCabe said.
One of the groups working toward a separate state is ‘New Illinois.'
“There’s a lack of accountability, absorption of power into one geographic point and that allows not just one growth of supermajorities,” State Chairman of ‘New Illinois' G.H. Merritt told ABC 20.
“What happens is it addresses the interest economy and needs of a major area, but neglects the rest of the state,” Merritt said.
McCabe echoed that sentiment.
“A lot of the money I’m familiar with goes to Chicago for the tollway and transportation and a lot of those kinds of things which, you know, takes it away from downstate Illinois,” McCabe said.
The county-level resolutions are different from the “New Illinois” movement.
The board voted to include the referendum on the ballot after a group of several residents approached them and asked to have it included, stated McCabe. After some preliminary questions on the part of the board, the group came back and presented more information at several subsequent meetings.
“The reason the county board voted to do that is because we had a group of citizens that asked us to,” McCabe said.
“And it was carried by a fairly wide margin so I think there’s a number of citizens within the county that think it’s time that the voices are heard a little more throughout the state of Illinois. And I think that’s what this does; it gives those citizens more clout to visit with other powers that be within the state government to show that there is a growing concern within downstate Illinois about the disparity between Cook County and the rest of Illinois,” McCabe said.
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