Redistricting plans brings renewed call for public participation

A coalition of voting rights organizations are criticizing the outline Republican leaders provided on the process they intended to follow for redrawing Indiana’s legislative and congressional maps, claiming Hoosiers are being left in the dark on redistricting.

Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston and Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray are tentatively planning to have the new maps completed by Oct. 1 using the legacy data the U.S. Census is expected to release next month, according to a report in The Indiana Citizen. The election committees in the House and Senate will hold public hearings in early August, prior the start of the map-drawing process.

Through that plan, “The Indiana General Assembly is leaving Hoosiers in the dark on redistricting,” Bryce Gustafson, organizer with Citizens Action Coalition, said in a statement. “Our democracy is strongest when we the people can participate and be heard by our government. Drawing and approving new political maps for the next ten years without healthy and robust debate from the public is downright anti-democratic.”

Gustafson released a statement through Common Cause Indiana, the organization that has been leading the All-In for Democracy project, which is working to bring the public into the redistricting process by holding hearings around the state and inviting Hoosiers to draw their own maps.

Representatives from Common Cause Indiana and other voting rights advocates held a rally in Indianapolis on July 6. They were trying to push GOP Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun to support federal voting legislation as well as remind state lawmakers to keep the redistricting process open and transparent.

Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana, said she hopes the legislative leaders have learned that the public is very interested in the maps and how they will get drawn.

“But hopefully we got their attention, that they’ll recognize you can’t just keep hiding in the Statehouse and refusing to share any information,” Vaughn said at the rally. “They need to let us know sooner rather than later what are (their) plans, what’s (their) timeline, how will the public be included in this increasingly important discussion?”

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