Letter: We need a plan for fair redistricting
is the next census. That means WE, the citizens of Indiana, need to keep the pressure on our state legislature to move legislation
that will put an independent, transparent, fair Redistricting Commission in place for the redistricting that will occur in
2021. Indeed, this past year even Gov. Holcomb noted that Indiana should reform its redistricting procedure. YOU need to contact
your Indiana state Senator and Representative.
Because of redistricting decisions made in 2011, many districts in Indiana are
non-competitive within and/or between parties, which means we do not get to choose who represents us. Instead, the legislators
drew the districts in their favor and, chose who can vote for them. It also means, because they have “safe (i.e., non-competitive)
districts” that they can pursue their own legislative agendas and ignore action on the bills that many, if not most,
of their constituents favor.
League of Women Voters Indiana, Common Cause Indiana, Hoosier Environmental Council,
WOMEN4CHANGE, and many other groups are working together for non-partisan, fair, and transparent redistricting. Cities and
counties, including Evansville and Vanderburgh County, have endorsed resolutions supporting Redistricting Reform.
This year three redistricting bills have been submitted. SB91, the most comprehensive
of the three bills, proposes a.) establishing a redistricting commission to create, take public input on, and recommend plans
to redraw general assembly and congressional districts; b.) creating a redistricting commission nominating committee to evaluate
applicants for the five non-legislative seats on the proposed commission; and c.) establishing standards to govern the commission
and the agency that will create the redistricting plans. SB91 also provides for a meeting of the General assembly to enact
the redistricting plans before October 1 of the redistricting year, 2021, i.e. the year following the decennial census. It
would repeal the current law. SB91 is not perfect but is an improvement over the current procedure in which the party “in
power” in the state legislature draws the district lines.
Stay informed, write to, email, and talk
with your Indiana House and Senate legislators to encourage their support for legislation that establishes a nonpartisan,
independent, transparent Redistricting Commission and procedure during the 2019 legislative session. The address for all state
legislators is 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204; phone numbers are available at iga.in.gov then “find your
legislator”. Talk to them in person at Meet Your Legislators and the Town Halls.
- Meg Connolly
and Deb Schade, League of Women Voters of Southwestern Indiana (Evansville Courier & Press February 7, 2019)