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Activists seek 30-day review of Indiana redistricting plan

Voting rights activists on Wednesday urged Indiana legislative leaders to give the public at least a month to review proposed new congressional and state election district maps before they are finalized.

Posted: May 20, 2021 8:38 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Voting rights activists on Wednesday urged Indiana legislative leaders to give the public at least a month to review proposed new congressional and state election district maps before they are finalized.

Members of the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission organized by Common Cause and other groups released a report calling for greater public involvement in the once-a-decade redrawing of election maps based on population shifts.

The Republican-dominated Legislature plans a fall return to the Statehouse for votes on the new maps. The process will be delayed because the U.S. Census Bureau won’t release data for congressional and legislative redistricting until perhaps September due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Common Cause Indiana policy director Julia Vaughn said the Legislature should use the coming months to hold hearings around the state for public comment.

“Once you have proposals available, slow the process down,” Vaughn said. “Give people at least 30 days to understand and give feedback on what the Legislature has proposed.”

Democrats and voting-rights advocates had pushed over several years for the establishment of an independent commission to oversee the map drawing, arguing that partisan gerrymandering has helped Indiana Republicans to gain outsized power in the Legislature. But Republicans have rejected giving up control of redistricting.

Republican legislative leaders have said public hearings on redistricting will take place but haven’t given details. They didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to requests for comment left with their offices.

Indiana lawmakers will draw new maps for the state’s nine congressional seats, along with the 100 Indiana House and 50 state Senate districts. Republicans now hold seven of those congressional seats and commanding majorities of 71-29 in the state House and 39-11 in the state Senate.

The Citizens Redistricting Commission, which held virtual public forums for each congressional district, said in its report that those who participated supported Indiana having more competitive election districts and maps that don’t split cities and counties into so many districts.

Commission chairwoman Sonia Leerkamp, a former Republican Hamilton County prosecutor, said redistricting shouldn’t be a political-insiders-only process.

“People are interested in being empowered to participate,” Leerkamp said. “They want transparency, they want their questions answered, and they want to know that they are heard.”

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1007681

Reported Deaths: 16470
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1355212121
Lake664101166
Allen57993801
Hamilton46350465
St. Joseph44397615
Elkhart35949510
Vanderburgh32251480
Tippecanoe27933260
Johnson25107445
Hendricks23897359
Porter22929365
Madison18748409
Clark18557252
Vigo17479303
Monroe15263200
LaPorte15173250
Delaware15073263
Howard14748290
Kosciusko12348148
Hancock11728176
Bartholomew11639180
Warrick11292189
Floyd11108215
Wayne10986253
Grant10082220
Morgan9472176
Boone8926115
Dubois8271131
Henry8229152
Dearborn822393
Noble8031106
Marshall7939135
Cass7546121
Lawrence7457171
Shelby7189119
Jackson698289
Gibson6597115
Harrison649192
Knox6421106
Huntington6395100
DeKalb632399
Montgomery6264111
Miami593398
Putnam581278
Clinton576171
Whitley565755
Steuben562576
Wabash5332104
Jasper532079
Jefferson511297
Ripley500586
Adams482576
Daviess4677114
Scott438974
Greene425196
Wells424888
Clay423360
White418764
Decatur4169102
Fayette406587
Jennings387361
Posey376644
Washington359151
LaGrange359078
Randolph3452100
Spencer340243
Fountain335760
Sullivan329452
Starke317171
Owen314771
Fulton312667
Orange293664
Jay284645
Franklin265643
Perry265452
Rush262432
Carroll261934
Vermillion258654
Parke231426
Pike229243
Tipton228159
Blackford193142
Pulaski183757
Crawford159823
Newton158348
Benton150617
Brown146747
Martin138719
Switzerland135011
Warren121116
Union107016
Ohio84613
Unassigned0540

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