League to hold discourse on redistricting
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 9:00 PM
"Redistricting" will be topic of a public forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters Monday 7 p.m. in Baxter Hall 101, on the Wabash College Campus.
Following each census, states and local governments are required to redraw district lines as needed due to changing population numbers. In 34 states, including Indiana, the state legislature has the primary responsibility for creating a redistricting plan. Often legislators draw district boundaries that create "safe seats" for incumbents or the party in power. This is called "gerrymandering." Elections in gerrymandered districts are often noncompetitive and ensure the status quo.
Seven states (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Jersey and Washington) have created independent or bipartisan redistricting commissions to determine congressional districts to reduce role of partisan politics in those elections.
State constitutions and laws determine which body has the responsibility over drawing the state legislative boundaries and municipal and county districts. Should Indiana move to create an independent redistricting commission to create more competitive races? Would this strengthen the democratic process? What would be necessary to do this in Indiana?
The public is invited to join League members and Wabash College professors for a panel discussion on this important and timely subject. Topics will include the national effects of gerrymandering, redistricting in Indiana and redistricting in Montgomery County.
The panel will present possible plans for redistricting in 2020. Learn why it is not too early to be concerned about this process, and learn what you can do to insure an equitable redistricting process.
Panelists will include Dr. Shamira Gelbman, Assistant Professor of Political Science, who teaches courses on American Politics, including political parties and elections. She will present an overview of different approaches to redistricting.
Dr. David Hadley, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, taught courses on American Politics for 43 years at Wabash College. Hadley will present an historic overview of redistricting in the state of Indiana.
Dr. David Phillips, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, will discuss city and county redistricting methods. Dr. Phillips provided assistance in local redistricting in 1971, 1981, and 1991.
The League of Women Voters encourages all citizens interested in elections to participate in this program Monday. Baxter Hall is located just east of the Wabash College Chapel on the Mall. Parking is available on the west side of the Mall, in the Center Hall Parking Lot (entrance west off of Grant Avenue) and in the Fine Arts Parking Lot (entrance east off of Grant Avenue.)
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan, multi-issue political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase public understanding of major policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. All men and women are invited to join LWV where hands-on work to safeguard democracy leads to civic improvement. For information about the League, visit the website www.lwvmontco.org; send a message to LWV, PO Box 101, Crawfordsville; or firstname.lastname@example.org.