Making Democracy Work

Redistricting

Redistricting Reform is substantially dead for the 2017 Legislative Session.

The Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting Reform hosted a press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at the Statehouse.

Speakers included representatives from Common Cause, League of Women Voters, Hoosier Environmental Council, Women 4 Change, Enterprise Republicans, Citizens Action Coalition, and Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation.

Our message was this:

We're not going anywhere.

The issue of redistricting reform is bigger than any one politician or party. This fight is about creating the best democracy possible and we're in it for the long haul.

What are YOUR next steps?

  • Attend Third House Parties and local Town Halls whenever possible.

  • Ask to meet with your legislator to talk about the issue.

  • Continue to draft Letters to the Editor.

    Use this fact sheet and these talking points, as well as background materials found on our website, so that you might educate legislators and the public. Our number one job between now and next year is to re-dedicate our efforts in recruiting more citizen activists across the state and educating our legislators on the importance of an independent redistricting commission.

    We can -- and will -- succeed!

    Click here to reference the LWVIN's policy position on redistricting.

    HB1014 DENIED A VOTE.

    Shameful.

After having to move to the House Chambers to accommodate the large crowd gathered in support of HB1014 and listening to over 90 minutes of testimony from Hoosiers across the state, House Elections & Apportionment Chair Milo Smith did not take a committee vote on HB1014.

Please call Rep. Smith (and your legislator) to demand a special committee meeting before Monday so that HB1014 can receive the vote it deserves.

Milo Smith Representative | District 59 Contact Information Phone: 317-232-9620 Phone: 1-800-382-9841 Email: h59@iga.in.gov

If you Tweet about this issue use #inlegis and tag your legislators.

We also encourage you - TONIGHT - to draft a citizen letter to the editor to your local paper. We need bright public attention on redistricting reform immediately to keep hope alive. Committee reports are due Tuesday and legislators typically do not work on Fridays. Time is running out.

As always, be respectful but firm in your position: Redistricting Reform NOW!

Need talking points? Click here.

Redistricting Top Priority for 2017 Legislative Session

This is the League's top priority in 2017 Legislative Session. The bill to watch at this stage is HB1014, co-authored by Speaker Brian Bosma and Rep. Jerry Torr (Chair of the Interim Study Committee). Redistricting Issue Advocate Debbie Asberry and our partners at Common Cause are currently working to build relationships in the Senate where we anticipate a chillier reception than in the House. Stay alert for upcoming action.

Click here to reference the LWVIN's policy position on redistricting.


Seminar Will Focus on Constitutional Challenges to Partisan Gerrymandering

For the past several years Common Cause Indiana and the League of Women Voters of Indiana have hosted a good government seminar at the State House in December. The focus this year will be efforts by plaintiffs in Wisconsin and North Carolina to challenge their states' district maps on the grounds that they violate voters' 1st and 14th Amendment rights to freedom of speech and due process. If successful, these lawsuits would make partisan gerrymandering illegal.

We'll hear directly from attorneys arguing these cases. Ruth Greenwood with the Campaign Legal Center will discuss the Wisconsin case and Emmet Bondurant, a partner in the Atlanta law firm Bondurant Mixson and Elmore will discuss the North Carolina case. They will be joined by Common Cause National Redistricting Dan Vicuna.

For more information about the Dec. 2nd seminar and to register, please go to www.commoncause.org/states/indiana. Proceeds will support Common Cause Indiana's work on redistricting reform.

We were unable to pull together a coalition meeting for Legislative Organization Day next week but are planning a training event for the first day of session in January. Stay tuned for more information on that soon. Hope to see you on Dec. 2nd.


The Special Interim Committee on Redistricting appointed by the Indiana State Legislature in 2015 met for the third time on July 7, 2016 in the House Chamber at the Indiana State House to standing room only. Michael Li, Senior Counsel with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School provided testimony in person and Ed Cook, who is one of the Iowa Legislative Services Agency staffers in charge of the process in that state provided the committee with information via Skype.

On July 8 in West Lafayette a redistricting workshop was held to share and strategize next steps for shaping the final recommendation of the Special Interim Study Committee on Redistricting to the State Legislature which is due December 30, 2016. Attendees discussed and strategized activities to communicate our message and engage communities in this vital effort. In addition, ideas were shared to refine and share plans for a map-drawing contest designed to engage citizens, particularly students, and provide publicity opportunities.

The latest meeting of the Study Committee was held on September 19th, where the coalition presented its proposal for redistricting reform. Great progress is being made but there is more to do. Attend the final meeting of the Commission and let you representatives know you want change. Learn more about the October 17th meeting here.

On Monday, Oct. 17th the Special Interim Committee on Redistricting voted 8 - 3 in favor of recommending that redistricting reform be adopted by the General Assembly. Although the draft recommendation is not perfect and needs some fundamental changes, it gives us a place to start. Had the committee not supported reform, our chances of even getting a bill filed would have been greatly reduced. Several committee members acknowledged the large numbers of citizens who attended committee hearings and communicated with them about reform. Our constant presence and large numbers got their attention and had a major impact on the committee. Let's give ourselves a pat on the back.

But, that was just round one. We've got a long way to go and clearly a tough row to hoe in the Indiana Senate. We are making plans for a coalition meeting and lobbying/social media training on Legislative Organization Day on November 22, 2016 - more details to come. Meanwhile, savor this victory and get ready for an even bigger battle ahead!

You can read the committee final report and recommendation here.




CITY AND COUNTY OFFICIALS PASS LEAGUE RESOLUTION

City and County Officials Passed the League Resolution in support of an Independent, Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission for Indiana. THANK YOU. Check out the pictures and the resolution here.


REDISTRICTING? APPORTIONMENT? GERRYMANDERING?
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT? HOW WOULD YOU DRAW THE LINES?

Here are two definitions of importance and links to learn more about the process.

"Apportionment: The process for allocating representative seats within a geographic area or political jurisdiction according to changes in population. For example: Seats in the United States House of Representatives are distributed among the 50 states according to each new Census, with states that gain population receiving more seats and those that lose population getting fewer."

This applies not just to Congress but also to all state voting districts. Links to all current districts can be found at the Tippecanoe County Board of Elections and Registration.

"Gerrymandering: Redrawing district lines in such a way as to create a particular result."

Hmmm....

LWVIN, LWVGL and other Indiana Local Leagues are targeting the redistricting process for action. Go to the LWVIN website for details and resources to learn more about the process and read the 2013 revised LWVIN Redistricting Position. The Special Interim Study Committee on Redistricting established by the Indiana State Legislature during the 2015 General Assembly is reviewing contact the League at redistricting@leaguelafayette.org.

Everything You Need to Know About Redistricting Reform



GERRYMANDERING THE MOVIE

Learn more about why removing legislators from the redistricting process is critical for protecting Democracy. Watch this short movie Gerrymandering 101.


Check out the November 15, 2015 broadcast of Politically Speaking. The topic for discussion - 'The Election Process and Local Policy Impact'.


REDISTRICTING RESOURCES

Indiana Common Cause Website

Brennan Center for Justice Section on redistricting

League of Women Voters of Indiana

League of Women Voters of the United States

Special Interim Study Committee on Redistricting