Redistricting Forum tackles topics of statewide gerrymandering

The League of Women Voters of Greater Lafayette and Common Cause Indiana are pushing to put the power of state redistricting in new hands.

Posted: Sep 8, 2019 9:52 PM
Updated: Sep 9, 2019 12:02 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Gerrymandering has become more prominent in Indiana in recent years. The League of Women Voters of Greater Lafayette and Common Cause Indiana are pushing to put the power of state redistricting in new hands.

The activist groups want to fix the issue but say they can't do it without constituent support. The organizations held a public information meeting on Sunday at the West Lafayette Public Library.

Common Cause Indiana Policy Director Julia Vaughn they’re running out of time.

“We've been working to pass a bill that would give this process to a bipartisan team of citizens instead of legislators,” said Vaughn.

Right now, the General Assembly holds the power of redistricting. Vaughn said it’s unfair since those members benefit from having certain voters in their district.

“The biggest problem with redistricting, when you give the job to self-interested politicians, it doesn't matter whether they're Republican or Democrat they're going to use the system to enhance their chances to get their candidates elected,” said Vaughn.

Both activist groups are interested in creating what they call a tri-partisan group with members of all political parties working together to redistrict. But there's only one Legislative Session left for state officials to vote on whether they will hand the power over.

“It's a short session, we only have 30 days to get this done,” said Vaughn. “It's a big complicated issue with a very short time frame to get the work done so we got to hit the ground running.”

The organizations say it's up to constituents to be proactive and reach out to state officials before the next session and State Representative Sheila Klinker of District 27 agrees.

“Even though I like my district, I'm certainly open to a change if it's the right thing to do and if the constituents want it,” said Klinker.

Klinker said she's benefited from gerrymandering but she’s with giving the redistricting power to a bipartisan group.

“It's sufficient to say that I'd like the League of Women Voters to be drawing the districts along with Common Cause and other folks that will sincerely look at our districts and say that this is the way it ought to be to be fair,” said Klinker.

The state and congressional redistricting will happen in 2021.

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