Redistricting is one of the top issues supported by the League of Women Voters of Indiana.
What is Redistricting? Redistricting is the process used by government bodies to redraw the boundaries of electoral districts. Rules and criteria for redistricting vary by state and by governmental body, but Federal law requires that districts have about the same number of residents and that redistricting processes comply with the Voting rights Act, which protects voting rights and prohibits voting laws that discriminate against racial, ethnic, or language minorities.
In Indiana the General Assembly draws the United State Congress and the General Assembly district maps. The process takes place every ten years using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
What is Gerrymanderng? Partisan gerrymandering is the practice of drawing districts to benefit a particular party or candidate. Both Democrats and Republicans engage in gerrymandering. The party in power draws the maps.
Why is reform needed? Gerrymandering reduces competition. In 2018, only 58% of the candidates for the Indiana House and Senate had a major party opponent. Gerrymandering discourages voting because people do not vote without competition. In recent years, Indiana has been among the states with the lowest turnout. In the 2016 general election, Indiana fell in the bottom 15 states for voter turnout and in 2014 had one of the lowest turnout rates in the country. Statewide turnout in the May, 2018 primary was just 20%.
Montgomery County did have a record 54 .8% in the November election due to outstanding efforts by County Election officials but problems still remain statewide.
Gerrymandering creates polarized districts, discouraging compromise. Gerrymandering creates an unfair electoral advantage for the majority party. Gerrymandering can splinter and harm communities of interest such as cities and towns, school districts, neighborhoods, and minorities.
The League of Women Voters has a strong position on Redistricting Reform. Congressional districts and government legislative bodies should be apportioned substantially on population. The LWV opposes partisan and racial gerrymandering that strips rights away from voters.
Political and racial gerrymandering distorts and undermines representative democracy by allowing officials to select their voters rather than voters to elect their officials. When done for purposes of racial discrimination or to ensure the dominance of one political party, gerrymandering runs counter to equal voting rights for all eligible voters.
The LWV promotes transparent and accountable redistricting processes and an end to hyper-partisan practices that do not benefit constituents. The League believes responsibility for fair redistricting should be vested in an independent special commission, with membership that reflects the diversity of the unit of government.
Join with the LWV in telling our state legislators and the governor that Indiana needs redistricting reform NOW!
The League of Women Voters, open to men as well as women, in a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase public understanding of major governmental issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For information about the League, visit the website: www.lwvmontco.org or send a message to: LWV, PO Box 101, Crawfordsville, IN 47933.