INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is tasked with drawing new state and congressional districts next year, and one group is determined to make the process fair.
Common Cause Policy Director Julia Vaughn said for the last decade, the Indiana legislature has failed to pass redistricting reform laws.
“So, our coalition decided that if we wanted redistricting done right, we would have to do it ourselves,” said Vaughn.
The All in for Democracy Coalition is forming a shadow commission of nine Hoosier voters — three Republican, three Democrat and three who do not identify with either party — to listen to what Hoosiers want.
“The commission will conduct virtual town hall meetings in each congressional district seeking public input on what criteria Hoosiers believe should drive the redistricting process,” explained Vaughn.
It will compile the results into a final report.
“We plan to sponsor a public mapping competition and award cash prizes to the individuals who submit plans that best fulfill the criteria described in the citizen commission report to the legislature,” said Vaughn.
“Redistricting is an important duty assigned to the legislative branch of government by our state constitution, and we have every intention of making the process as transparent and open to public feedback as possible,” said Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville). “As such, we welcome input from this group as well as any others who would like to be a part of the discussion.”
Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston sent a statement saying:
“As in 2010, the General Assembly will host bipartisan hearings statewide to provide a platform for public suggestions, questions and input on new maps. There will also be a plan in place to provide public access to census data and software in a number of widely accessible locations around the state. Together, the General Assembly will provide an open and transparent redistricting process.”
Indiana League of Women Voters Co-President Linda Hanson said this commission will add another layer to protect from partisan advantage. The coalition urges lawmakers to take its suggestions seriously.
“Gerrymandering erodes fair representation and threatens the fabric of our democracy,” said Hanson. “Our goal is to reach as many Indiana voters across as many diverse circles as possible.”
Anyone interested in applying for the commission can do so now until January 4.