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Monday, February 13, 2017

Law - Voting rights and redistricting reform are focus of weekend editorials

The Sunday NY Times editorial is headed "Republicans Hold On to a Myth to Hold On to Power." It begins:

Given the increased political power Republicans won in the last elections, from Washington to red-state legislatures, voters might expect the party to feel that the nation’s voting procedures are working quite well. Yet this is far from the case, as triumphant Republicans are using their enhanced clout to continue their campaign playing up the mythical threat that voter fraud abounds in the nation.

The newest and loudest zealot in this cause is, of course, President Trump, with his scurrilous claim that millions of illegal ballots cost him a popular vote majority. His baseless claim only encourages the renewed efforts at voter suppression reported to be underway in a score of Republican-dominated statehouses intent on making it harder for citizens to register or vote.

Mr. Trump is trying to sell the false idea that he was fraudulently denied a clear mandate. Republican state legislators, in turn, are no more convincing but just as cynical in insisting that elaborate new ballot protections are needed — protections that effectively target poor people, minorities and students, who tend to favor Democratic candidates.

In the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette's Sunday Centerpiece this weekend, Julia Vaughn, director of Common Cause Indiana, writes that "Stalled redistricting efforts need citizens' push."
The 2017 Indiana General Assembly is in full swing, and lots of important issues are getting their time in the legislative spotlight. * * *

House Bill 1014
, legislation that would put a politically balanced and diverse group of Hoosier voters in charge of redistricting, has yet to receive a hearing in the House Elections Committee. If that doesn’t change soon, redistricting reform will be dead for this session. We can’t let that happen.

This issue is so important that the Indiana Bicentennial Visioning Project, led by the much-respected bipartisan team of former congressman Lee Hamilton and former lieutenant governor Sue Ellsperman identified ending gerrymandering as one of Indiana’s most important challenges as we enter our third century. Unfortunately, too many lawmakers are ignoring this call for change. * * *

Let your state representative and state senator know you want an end to gerrymandering and a citizens’ redistricting commission in place before the next round of redistricting in 2021. Tell them we need a group that is truly independent of the legislature to draw the new maps and they must operate in a way that encourages public participation and that is fully transparent. Remind your legislators that it’s not their district, that it belongs to the voters and that we need to play a role in designing what they look like.

ILB: According to this House Election and Appointment Committee webpage (which also lists the membership), the Committee does not even have another meeting scheduled.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 13, 2017 09:17 AM
Posted to General Law Related