Indiana restudied its positions on Redistricting in 2012-2013. The position was expanded and adopted by the LWVIN Board of Directors in July, 2013 and in June, 2019
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.
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:
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 (R), refused to take a vote, effectively killing HB 1014 for the year.
SB91--This bill was co-authored by Sen. John Rucklehaus (R), Sen. Mike Bohacek (R), and Sen. Jon Ford (R). This bill calls for a redistricting commission and the coalition worked closely with Sen. Rucklehaus in drafting the language and content. Sen. Greg Walker (R), chair of the Senate Elections Committee, refused to bring this bill to committee. Sen. Walker indicated that he did not think that a redistricting commission would be supported by the GOP caucus and was not willing to support it.
SB105--This bill was co-authored by Sen. Walker, Sen. Bohacek and Sen. Randy Head (R). It called for creating redistricting for standards for congressional and state legislative districts. It allows the general assembly, during the process by which the initial proposed plans become effective by being enacted as a law, to consider and adopt modifications to the initial proposed plans that deviate from the redistricting standards as long as the reason or reasons for each deviation are publicly explained and documented. SB105 passed in committee and was heard in the full Senate. Amendments were offered by Senators Tim Lanane (D) and J.D. Ford (D), both of whom were influenced by the work of local LWVs and the coalition in drafting the language for the amendments. Sen. Ron Alting (R) worked with Sen. Ford in drafting the amendment to add criteria forbidding partisan gerrymandering and to provide better public access to the process. Sen. Alting worked closely with the LWV of Greater Layfayette in drafting this amendment.
SB105 did eventually pass in the full Senate by a vote of 26-23. Although this was a bi-partisan victory, the margin was significantly different from the previous year, when the identical bill passed out of the Senate with a 42-6 vote. Rep. Tim Wesco (R), chair of the Senate Elections Committee, refused to bring SB105 to the committee for a hearing. The League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area lobbied Sen. Wesco through LTE's and attending a Third House meeting in March. This was an important event because it occurred in Rep. Wesco's district. LWVSBA Director of Administration Judy Bradford testified at this meeting and her testimony received a spontaneous round of applause from other attendees. Despite being made aware of citizen support for the bill, Rep. Wesco refused it a hearing, thereby depriving the committee and the House of the opportunity to be educated on the bill and register their support or dissent through a public vote.
Moving Forward: The coalition will continue its advocacy efforts. Public education is critical and ongoing consciousness raising is imperative. The Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting would NOT exist without the support of the LWVIN and the courageous, tenacious, persistent and brilliant work of the local leagues. Encouraged and guided by LWVIN Redistricting Advocate Debbie Asberry, members from local leagues from around the state consistently showed up for rallies, marches, and legislative days at the Statehouse. They also wrote countless LTEs and articles in local newspapers, organized gerrymander meanders, hosted informational meetings, attended Third House meetings, met with their legislators, sent postcards, sent emails, made phone calls, etc. Whenever a call went out, the League showed up! The League encourages all members to stay engaged in this process! The June 2019 Supreme Court ruling taking the federal courts out of the redistricting process makes it more important than ever for ordinary citizens to demand change at the state level. Even the Chief Justice, writing for the majority, recognized the fact that democratic principles are violated by extreme partisan gerrymandering. The Court left it to the political process to resolve these problems and to ensure the future of free and fair elections in the United States.
The LWVIN invites all Hoosiers to join us in this effort!
REDISTRICTING REFORM PETITION: Download this petition and get as many people to sign it as possible. Please send it in by (mailing address is on the petition) the first week of 2019 Redistricting Reform Petition
AND HERE'S A NEW TOOL that shows how the problem has evolved over the years: Gerrymandering Scores by State.
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