Republicans move toward quick Indiana redistricting approval

Republicans turned aside objections from Democrats as they moved ahead Monday toward speedy approval of proposed new Indiana election district maps that will be used for the next 10 years.

Posted: Sep 21, 2021 10:24 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republicans turned aside objections from Democrats as they moved ahead Monday toward speedy approval of proposed new Indiana election district maps that will be used for the next 10 years.

The Indiana House elections committee voted 9-4 along party lines to endorse the Republican-drawn redistricting plan for the state’s nine congressional districts and 100 state House seats based on population shifts from the 2020 census.

The proposed maps were released last week, with Democrats and voting-rights activists arguing that they had little time to study the redistricting plan before the elections committee wrapped up its public hearings about 48 hours later.

Republican leaders said they focused their map drawing on factors such as not splitting up cities and counties, and said the new maps reflect the state’s political leanings. Political analysts have found the redistricting plan would give Republicans a big advantage in seven of Indiana’s nine congressional districts and likely give them 69 of the 100 Indiana House seats even with a typical 56% Republican share of the statewide vote.

Democratic Rep. Matt Pierce of Bloomington said the Republican maps unfairly “water down” the influence of Democratic voters to protect the GOP’s power. Pierce objected to changes shifting the northern tier of Democratic-leaning Marion County from the 5th District that Republican Rep. Victora Spartz narrowly won last year in order to shore up her reelection prospects.

“That now is back in the safe Republican column,” Pierce said. “So that’s less competition and, I think, less democracy there.”

The full Indiana House is set to vote Thursday on approving the new maps, with final votes in the state Senate set for Oct 1 — making Indiana one of the first states to complete the once-a-decade redistricting process.

Republicans also face criticism that their proposed maps for new state Senate districts aren’t being released to the public until Tuesday, with the House Republicans planning to add that plan to the redistrict bill on Wednesday without any committee review. The Senate elections committee is to hold a public hearing on the redistricting plans on Monday, followed by a vote Sept. 28.

The state Senate now has a 39-11 Republican supermajority, which with the 71-29 GOP House control, allows Republicans in both chambers to approve proposals without any Democrats being present. Republicans have had continuous majority control of the Senate since the 1978 elections and held a Senate supermajority since the 2010 elections.

Republican leaders maintain the speedy redistricting action is needed so that county officials have as much time as possible to prepare for next year’s elections since the candidate filing period starts Jan. 5. The redistricting debate would have typically occurred as the regular legislative session ended in April, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the release of census data.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1003647

Reported Deaths: 16423
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1351072116
Lake661851159
Allen57674800
Hamilton46217464
St. Joseph44210611
Elkhart35807508
Vanderburgh32162480
Tippecanoe27859258
Johnson25007444
Hendricks23795357
Porter22856365
Madison18694408
Clark18505252
Vigo17393303
Monroe15218199
LaPorte15101250
Delaware15024261
Howard14681289
Kosciusko12260147
Hancock11682175
Bartholomew11548180
Warrick11270189
Floyd11059214
Wayne10946253
Grant10019219
Morgan9438176
Boone8891116
Dubois8249131
Dearborn819893
Henry8174152
Noble8003106
Marshall7891135
Cass7519121
Lawrence7433171
Shelby7171119
Jackson695889
Gibson6567115
Harrison646691
Huntington636899
Knox6360106
DeKalb628699
Montgomery6229109
Miami591498
Putnam577678
Clinton572171
Whitley563455
Steuben558976
Wabash5309103
Jasper527879
Jefferson509297
Ripley498686
Adams479775
Daviess4653114
Scott438473
Greene423596
Wells422588
Clay421360
White417364
Decatur4152102
Fayette405787
Jennings385961
Posey375844
Washington356150
LaGrange356078
Randolph343499
Spencer338743
Fountain333860
Sullivan327852
Starke315570
Owen313970
Fulton309167
Orange292663
Jay283445
Franklin265143
Perry264852
Rush260832
Carroll260633
Vermillion257254
Parke230426
Pike228443
Tipton227259
Blackford191841
Pulaski183157
Crawford159023
Newton156848
Benton150217
Brown145747
Martin138019
Switzerland134811
Warren120816
Union107016
Ohio84213
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