Earth Charter, Women4Change — “Lawmakers urged to enact redistricting commission reform bill”

Chesterton Tribune, January 28 2019

Ten public interest organizations representing tens of thousands of Hoosiers are urging the leaders of the Indiana Senate and to support citizens’ redistricting commission reform bills this session.

SB91, by Republican Senators Ruckelshaus (Indianapolis), Boha-cek (Michiana Shores), and Ford (Terre Haute)–as well as HB 1011, filed by Republican Representatives Torr (Carmel) and Clere (New Albany)–would both establish citizens’ redistricting commissions.

Such a commission, led by a politically balanced team of citizens, would be similar to those in a growing number of states which aim to draw state legislative and congressional maps that are colorblind to party affiliations, keep local government boundaries together, and stay in compliance with state & federal civil rights law.

Organizations which have signed a letter to legislative leaders include the League of Women Voters of Indiana, Common Cause Indiana, Women4Change Indiana Action Fund, Hoosier Environmental Council, American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Indiana Muslim Advocacy Network, Earth Charter Indiana, Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation, and The Greater Indianapolis NAACP Branch 3053.

Meanwhile, more than 25 local governments in Indiana have adopted resolutions calling for a citizen-led redistricting commission for Indiana. “There is a groundswell out there for reform,” said Debbie Asberry of the League of Women Voters of Indiana. “Citizens know full well that very low levels of voter turnout and civic engagement are tied to the way that we draw districts in Indiana–where elections feel like foregone conclusions because they are drawn to favor one political party or another.”

“Legislative leaders have acted with foresight on some of the leading issues facing our state in the recent past,” noted Jesse Kharbanda of the Hoosier Environmental Council. “Time is running out for our legislature to act on the leading issue of redistricting reform. If we fail to act in the 2019 session, we may have to wait another ten years before we have another shot at creating fairer maps for Indiana.”

“Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah are some of the states that recently enacted redistricting reforms,” said Julia Vaughn of Common Cause Indiana. “We have many models to follow–and states like Indiana can otherwise create our own path.”

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