Rally goers call for the end of gerrymandering

By Braden Pelley
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — Thursday, members of the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting held a rally to call for the end of gerrymandering in the state.

On the birthday of the grandfather of gerrymandering, Elbridge Gerry, the coalition spoke out against it.

Tom Sugar speaks at rally thursday to attempt to end gerrymandering in Indiana. Photo by Braden Pelley, TheStatehouseFile.com

Tom Sugar speaks at rally thursday to attempt to end gerrymandering in Indiana. Photo by Braden Pelley, TheStatehouseFile.com

“If Hoosiers want good government, we’ve got to start with redistricting reform,” said Julia Vaughn, director of Common Cause.

With the Supreme Court recently allowing redistricting committees to take control of drawing district lines in Arizona, it has paved a pathway for the change in Indiana before the next redistricting in 2021.

In Indiana, a commission would need approval from the General Assembly because the state doesn’t have a ballot initiative process as Arizona does. In addition, the Indiana Constitution requires that the legislature approve district lines for the state House and Senate every 10 years.

In 2014, Indiana had the lowest voter turnout in the country because many districts’ seats had no competition.

“The safe seats mean that legislators don’t have to worry about voting with constituents’ interests in mind,” Vaughn. “ They only have to keep the party bosses and a few special interests happy.”

On Monday Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said he hopes to see a commission put in place before the next redistricting, which will take place after the 2020 census.

Braden Pelley is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

 

 

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One Response to Rally goers call for the end of gerrymandering

  1. It is doubtful if independent redistricting would make much difference in the partisan balance in Indiana’s congressional or legislative delegations. The reason is that Democratic voters tend to be concentrated in urban areas and university towns while Republicans are spread out over the state. See this piece on Florida in Upshot:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/upshot/you-cant-draw-unbiased-districts-in-florida-even-if-you-try.html?smid=tw-upshotnyt&_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

    Creating large multimember districts would be a way to achieve a better balance. All candidates would be on one list, with the highest vote-getters being elected. This is apparently illegal, thanks to Congress, and the pols who benefit from the current system are unlikely to change that.