The Daily Reformer
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana republican legislative leaders are refusing to debate redistricting reform.
On Thursday, the House decided not to hear an amendment that would encourage more competitive districts in SB 398.
“It just goes to show that the republican majority does not want the public to know where they stand on this issue,” said amendment author State Rep. Matt Pierce, (D) Bloomington. “It’s pretty ridiculous to say that a bill entitled “various election matters” that an amendment about how you elect your legislators is not related to various election matters.”
Assistant Political Science Professor Laura Wilson said it is well within their discretion not to hear the amendment.
“They want to avoid having any votes to put them on the record,” added Pierce.
Every ten years, Indiana state lawmakers redraw legislative and congressional maps based off updated census data.
“We’re not the only state that has a system like this,” said Wilson. “Thirty-three state legislatures across the country draw their own district lines.”
Wilson said there’s a problem with this process if you’re a lover of democracy.
“Both parties can and will gerrymander, they will district to their advantage,” said Wilson.
Gerrymandering is drawing districts to favor a certain political party.
Some states have passed laws to discourage it.
“Iowa has its own non-partisan commission,” said Wilson.
Rep. Pierce’s amendment proposed adopting Iowa’s process.
“At the end of the day, they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do to preserve their power and to maximize their power,” said Pierce.
House Speaker Todd Huston wouldn’t explain the republican position when asked, he said, “We will follow all state and federal guidelines and feel confident that will be all of the statutory and legal requirements on redistricting.”
Wilson said she doesn’t blame republicans.
“I have no doubt that if democrats were in charge, they would do the same thing,” said Wilson.
That’s why she said it’s up to the public to demand competitive map drawing, adding Hoosiers should want this for several reasons.
“Encouraging voter turnout, fostering good candidates, and getting civic engagement on the forefront of people’s minds,” said Wilson.
Census data is delayed until September due to the pandemic, so redistricting won’t likely happen until a special session late fall.
Common Cause Indiana is working on ways to fight for fair maps. To learn more, click here.