The redistricting process, which takes place every 10 years and is based on updated U.S. Census data, helps determine who represents residents in Congress and at the Indiana Statehouse, playing a big role in shaping the future of Indiana politics.
The maps released Tuesday are not the final maps, but they give Hoosiers a look at what Indiana’s congressional and state House districts could look like over the next decade.
“If you have a child in kindergarten, that kid will have a driver’s license likely by the time these maps are no longer used,” said Julia Vaughn, executive director of Common Cause Indiana, a nonpartisan organization that has been following the redistricting process.
If the proposed congressional map is approved by the state legislature, some of the biggest changes would impact Marion County.
Northern Marion County would switch from Congresswoman Victoria Spartz’s (R-Indiana) district to Congressman André Carson’s (D-Indiana) district. Southern Marion County would be part of Rep. Greg Pence’s (R-Indiana) district instead of Carson’s district.
“My impression is that we are going to continue to have non-competitive congressional races here in Indiana,” Vaughn said.
“If the nine members of the congressional delegation decide to run for re-election, all nine of them will be re-elected,” predicted Bill Moreau, president of the Indiana Citizen Education Foundation, another nonpartisan organization that has advocated for a fair redistricting process.
Moreau said he believes the proposed map would keep Indiana’s congressional delegation at seven Republicans and two Democrats.
“Fair maps would yield competitive races that might create a congressional delegation that was 6-3 or 5-4,” he explained.
Nonpartisan organizations have also expressed concerns about the process being used to create the maps.
According to officials with the Indiana General Assembly, the legislature could approve the maps in less than three weeks.
Rima Shahid of Women4Change Indiana said she believes that’s not enough time.
“Citizens were supposed to be kept informed along the way,” she said, “and I don’t think that has happened.”
Shahid said she also wants to see the Indiana House Republicans disclose more information on who worked on the proposed maps.
There will be two public meetings at the Statehouse this week to collect input on the maps: Wednesday at 1 p.m. and Thursday at 10 a.m.
After the maps were released, House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) said in a statement:
“These maps follow all statutory and constitutional requirements and reflect the population trends over the last 10 years. For the new House maps, Representative Steuerwald took a holistic approach and worked tremendously hard to keep communities of interest together with a focus on compactness.”
State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon), author of the redistricting bill, released a statement as well, saying:
“These proposed maps are the culmination of a months-long effort, which included listening to Hoosiers across the state. We pulled together all the data along with public input to draw fair maps that account for shifts in population over the years. We look forward to obtaining additional public input and fulfilling our constitutional duties in the coming weeks.”
Indiana House Republicans plan to hold a news conference Wednesday before their public meeting.