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Ivy Tech Lafayette hosts redistricting hearing

It's part of a series of public meetings across the state taking place before legislators re-draw the district boundaries.

Posted: Aug 6, 2021 4:18 PM
Updated: Aug 6, 2021 6:23 PM

LAFAYETTE. Ind. (WLFI) — Indiana lawmakers are preparing to re-draw the state's legislative districts, but the process is being questioned by Democrats.

Friday, community members got the chance to give feedback to those responsible for deciding the district lines.

"How do we explain that gerrymandering doesn't exist?" asked a community member.

Strong opinions were shared about Indiana's redistricting process Friday morning.

"There's too much pretending," said another community member. "There's too much lip service and not enough reality."

Community members packed a room at Ivy Tech to give feedback to Indiana's redistricting committee.

It's part of a series of public meetings across the state taking place before legislators re-draw the district boundaries.

"I think that the districts need to be fair and equitable and that we need to have some people, for sure, that represent both parties," said Democratic State Rep. Sheila Klinker.

Indiana is required to redraw its districts for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Indiana House of Representatives and Indiana Senate following the nationwide census every 10 years.

Democratic State Rep. Chris Campbell said the concern is that because Republicans make up the majority at the statehouse, the data will be used to re-draw district lines to favor their party.

"We almost down to the street how many people are voting each party and how they're voting," Campbell said. "If you're using that data, you're not creating fair maps."

A study by Women for Change Indiana found the state's current legislative maps are some of the most gerrymandered in the United States.

The study also found that Indiana's maps have been found to be 95% worse than other states.

"It definitely does not appear that it was created in a non-partisan, non-biased way," Campbell added.

However, not everyone thinks the system is flawed.

"Just exactly what people were asking for today, we got these very same comments 10 years ago when we had these meetings and the committee addressed those significantly," Lehe explained.

Democrats would like to see a bipartisan approach with more competitive districts, but Republican State Rep. Don Lehe said that's unrealistic.

"You can't get 100 percent competitive districts," said Lehe. "If you did, you would not like to look at those districts because you would have them hundreds of miles long."

Campbell thinks the districts should not be decided using the same data.

"When you look at our districts and how they're created, it should reflect those populations," Campbell added.

Legislators are expected to return to the Statehouse in mid-to-late September to redraw the district boundaries.

Democratic lawmakers are working to give the public an opportunity to give input on the new maps before they are finalized.

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