In 2001, three Indiana senators represented portions of Madison County. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, had a majority of the county; Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, had the western portion; and Doug Eckerty, R-Yorktown, had just one township, Van Buren in the northeastern corner of the county. In 2011, after districts were redrawn using the 2010 census, the state senate districts changed dramatically. Lanane’s 25th district, which had been exclusively in Madison County, is now mostly a Delaware County district. Kenley’s district has retreated back across the Hamilton County line, and Eckerty now represents all of Madison County except Anderson. “When they brought me in to show me my district, I almost didn’t recognize it,” Lanane said. “It basically got turned on its side.”
The same can be said for the county’s Indiana House districts, which have expanded, contracted and been contorted in various directions over the past two redistricting sessions.
Redistricting is a necessary task in order to make sure all districts are similar in population. Under the Indiana constitution, the responsibility of redrawing districts every 10 years is given to the state legislature.
The problem: The political party in control of the legislature gerrymanders districts to give its candidates — particularly its incumbents — a better shot at winning elections. Lanane says gerrymandering has led to uncompetitive elections, killing voter interest. Of the 125 legislative elections last November, 54 were uncontested. And the margin of victory in most of the contested races was wide.