Making Democracy Work

Redistricting Initiative / Resources

Introduction

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. The 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 and the members include: Chair, Rep. Jerry Torr; Vice Chair, Sen. Brandt Hershman; Sen. Timothy Lanane; Sen. Patricia Miller; Sen. Karen Tallian; Rep. John Bartlett; Rep. Justin Moed; Rep. Kathy Richardson; Lay Members - Ted Boehm; Beverly Gard; Sheila S. Kennedy; Tom Sugar

The final meeting of the Special Interim Study Committee on Redistricting was held on Monday, October 17, 2016. 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.

Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting Makes Its Recommendations

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

Redistricting reform remains a League priority. During the summer and 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. Additional resources are below.

Resources

The LWVUS Redistricting Task Force has developed a wealth of useful articles and additional resources you can find here

Also, see:

House Party Guide

LWV Indiana Redistricting FAQ

and

LWV Indiana Redistricting Glossary

Recent articles from the Washington Post include:

This is the Best Explanation of Gerrymandering You Will Ever See

This is How to Get Rid of Gerrymandered Districts

Trump Can't Stop the Freedom Caucus. He Has GOP Gerrymandering to Blame

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 redistricting@lwvindy.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

LWVIN Position on Redistricting

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