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Friday, July 08, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Leaders eye legislative redistricting reforms"

That is the headline to Dan Carden' story today in the NWI Times. Some quotes:

A state commission is continuing its work toward a November decision on whether to recommend changes in Indiana's process for drawing congressional and legislative district boundaries.

On Thursday, the 12-member Special Study Committee on Redistricting heard testimony from Michael Li, a New York University expert who analyzes redistricting across the country, and Ed Cook, a nonpartisan Iowa official who oversees that state's redistricting system.

They both emphasized the need for Hoosiers to decide what they want to prioritize in redistricting since it's not possible to have a "perfect map" with fully competitive districts that never break up communities of interest, are equal in population, contiguous and compact.

Li said getting redistricting right is more important than ever, since new mapping technology and greater access to consumer databases make it easy for politicians to effectively select individual voters and place them in specific districts.

"We have a political process that's driven in part by attempts to rig the process for maximum partisan advantage," Li said.

Cook noted that Iowa has combated that instinct for four decades by setting rigorous redistricting parameters in state law, including no protection for incumbent legislators and a requirement that each Senate district contain two House districts. * * *

Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm, a member of the study committee, said that redistricting produced an "unrepresentative legislative body" because most Statehouse seats now are safely held by either political party, and the winner often is decided in primary elections.

As a result, many legislators hew toward partisan extremes, since they need to win the primary to remain in office, and voter apathy and cynicism are at all-time highs, because most Hoosiers feel like they don't have a meaningful say in who represents them, he said.

Any redistricting changes recommended by the commission ultimately must win approval by the Legislature and potentially Hoosier voters, if a constitutional amendment to implement the change is required.

The next Indiana redistricting will occur in 2021.

ILB: Here is the website for the Special Interim Study Committee on Redistricting. The video of yesterday's meeting has been archived and is available here, as is the video from the May 5, 2016 meeting.

Here is an ILB post on the first meeting of the commission, which took place in 2015.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 8, 2016 08:21 AM
Posted to Indiana Government