Standing shoulder-to-shoulder before the Senate Elections Committee, members of the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting urged lawmakers on Monday to approve new standards for the way they draw maps for the state’s legislative and congressional seats. They held blue-and-gold “All IN for Democracy” picket signs and office clocks raised high, as the coalition members waited more than two hours to voice one central demand: that legislators put an end to what they call partisan gerrymandering. “Gerrymandering is no longer an art. It is a science,” said 17-year-old Christian Omoruyi, a senior at Columbus East High School. “Politicians have surgically manipulated district boundaries to ingratiate themselves with the kulaks of the party machine.”
Senate Bill 105, authored by Elections Chair Greg Walker, R-Columbus, would establish a series of standards lawmakers would use to redraw district lines following population reapportionment, which occurs each decade after the completion of the U.S. Census.
Should SB 105 become law, it would require congressional and state legislative redistricting processes to consider how districts reflect minority voices and to minimize divisions in neighborhoods, public school corporations and other entities that would share common interests. It also forces legislators to publicly disclose any deviation from these standards.
But advocates for tighter redistricting rules say the measure ultimately fails to promote comprehensive reform, considering the General Assembly would still oversee district map development and approval.