In 2015, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act 1003. This legislation called for an independent study committee on redistricting reform.
The LWVIN has partnered with Common Cause Indiana to create a state wide coalition calling for real redistricting reform in Indiana. Coalition partners include: Hoosier Environmental Council, Citizens Action Coalition, ACLU, NAACP, Indiana Farmers Union, Jobs for Justice and Moral Mondays. The Special Interim Study Committee on Redistricting was appointed.
Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Jerry Torr, a recommendation passed by a vote of 8-3 calling for the establishment of an Independent Redistricting Commission. Rep. Torr’s leadership and commitment to the study committee process is deeply appreciated. For a summary of the redistricting process, click here. For a PDF copy of the Interim Study Committee on Redistricting’s Final Report, click here.
A major milestone for redistricting reform was secured on January 22, with the passage of SB 326 through the Senate Elections Committee on a vote of 8 to 0.
SB 326 establishes first-ever “standards” to shape the redrawing of legislative maps. It does not, however, establish an independent redistricting commission, a long sought goal of the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting.
Thanks to all our partners in this Coalition (Hoosier Environmental Council, Common Cause Indiana, Women4Change Indiana, Indianapolis NAACP Branch #3053, and everyone else involved in All IN for Democracy who made this happen.) We’ll keep on pushing for Independent Redistricting Reform–but SB 326 is certainly a step in the right direction!
Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting Makes Its Recommendations
On September 19, the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting, of which the LWVIN is a co-founding member, presented its recommendations to the Special Interim Study Committee on Redistricting. Key recommendations include:
Indiana should establish a citizen-led redistricting commission every 10 years consisting of 9 members: 3 Republican, 3 Democrat, and 3 unaffiliated.
All Hoosiers are eligible, but must apply for service.
Qualified candidates should be selected by lottery with efforts made to reflect the racial, ethnic, gender and geographic diversity of the state.
Redistricting criteria: Districts must be substantially equal in population, contiguous,comply with the U.S. Voting Rights Act, when possible they should not divide communities of interest, and the home addresses of incumbent elected officials should not be considered.
Recommendations by the commission should require an affirmative vote of at least 6 members and are subject to legislative approval.
Legislative changes, however, can not exceed 2% of the total population of a district and must be accompanied by a narrative explanation.
2017 Proposed Redistricting Legislation
HB1014 became the primary redistricting reform bill the LWVIN followed. Co-authored by Speaker Brian Bosma and Rep. Jerry Torr, HB 1014 followed the Interim Study Committee’s recommendation.
Coalition partners, led by the LWVIN and Common Cause, fought throughout the session to keep HB 1014 alive. On February 15, 2017, the House Elections and Apportionment Committee finally heard the bill. More than 300 people were in attendance and 90 minutes of testimony occurred. Sadly, the chair, Rep. Milo Smith, refused to take a vote, effectively killing HB 1014 for the year.
Next Steps for the 2018 Session
Redistricting reform remains a League priority. Leading into the 2018 session, we encourage communities to use this Redistricting House Parties Guide to help educate friends family, neighbors, and legislators about this issue. Also, please download our “Pledge for Legislators”
Try and meet with them before the session starts to get their support. Additional resources are below.
The LWVUS Redistricting Task Force has developed a wealth of useful articles and additional resources you can find here
Recent articles from the Washington Post include:
If you need a quick resource to explain redistricting and the work of the Interim Study Committee, this Power Point presentation has been very helpful. There are just a few slides and you can present it in 15 minutes or less. There are a few `speaker’s notes’ for some of the slides to help with the presentation, so be sure to check out the `view notes page’ if you need a few helpful hints on how to talk about the slides. If you have any questions, contact Debbie Asberry at firstname.lastname@example.org
Drawing a Line for Democracy: Resources to help you take action.
Leagues around the State have been asking their local governmental bodies ( mayors, city councils, chambers of commerce, etc.) to sponsor a Redistricting Resolution to show support for an Independent Redistricting Commission.
Model language for such resolutions can be found here.
Our own LWV of the South Bend Area has developed a fantastic tri-fold flyer to help with education efforts surrounding the importance of redistricting. A color version can be found here. A black and white version can be found here
Learn more about why removing legislators from the redistricting process is critical for protecting Democracy. Watch this short movie “Gerrymandering 101”
Compiled by our League of Greater Lafayette of clips from Jeff Reichert’s movie from Green Film Company. Learn more about the entire movie here.
The LWVIN Position on Redistricting
Indiana restudied its positions on Redistricting in 2012-2013. The position was expanded and adopted by the LWVIN Board of Directors in July, 2013.
The Position: An independent nonpartisan commission should determine voting districts in the state of Indiana. A commission should be constituted so as to preclude electoral benefit to any individual or political party.
Districts should be compact and contiguous. They should respect existing political and geographical boundaries, such as cities and counties.
The drawing of districts should consider factors such as ethnicity, language, socio-economic background and location. Political affiliation or past voting record should not be considered.
Incumbency should not be considered.
Within the parameters of the federal Voting Rights Act, population size should be one of several factors considered when drawing districts.
Transparency is of the utmost importance. All meetings of the commission should be public, and maps, records, transcripts and data should be available to the public. Adequate opportunities for public hearings should be provided, including review of the final plan.
The commission should provide written justification for the final district boundaries.
Restudied 2012-2013 Expanded and Adopted by LWVIN Board of Directors, July 2013
2017 Gerrymander Manders
This summer, Leagues around the state are raising awareness for redistricting reform.