Our Goal is to Create an Independent, Bipartisan Process that Engages the Public
The Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting has put forth proposals that merge the best features from redistricting laws across the country. Despite positive, bipartisan recommendations from a legislative interim study committee in 2016 and being made a priority by both parties in both chambers in 2017, bills to reform redistricting struggled to gain traction in every session since.
In the 2020 legislative session, our proposal was Senate Bill 293 (SB293), sponsored by Senators John Ruckelshaus (R-Indianapolis) and Mike Bohacek (R-Michiana Shores). This bill was the last opportunity for the legislature to reform redistricting before new political maps are drawn for Congress and the state legislature in 2021.
Our policy recommendations remain:
- Forming a independent Redistricting Commission
- A citizen commission composed of Republicans, Democrats and voters who are neither Republican nor Democrat would direct the redistricting process.
- The four legislative leaders would select four Commission members and the remaining members would be chosen by a public process conducted by the seven public universities in the state. Any qualified voter could submit an application to any public university, each university would pick their three top nominees – one Republican, one Democrat and one who is neither Republican or Democrat.
- The names of these twenty-one nominees will be given to the Legislative Services Agency and they will conduct a lottery to determine four additional commission members: One Republican, one Democrat and two who are neither Republican nor Democrat.
- The eight Commission members will choose a person to chair the Commission. The Chair cannot be from the group appointed by the legislative leaders.
- Commission members must be ethnically, geographically and gender diverse.
- This group, representative of Hoosier voters would direct the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency in drawing the maps, using ranked statutory criteria.
- Map-drawing criteria must be ranked in order of importance. Equal population and respect for the Voting Rights Act must come first because of legal requirements. Contiguity, compactness and political competition should also be considered.
- There should be special consideration giving to identifying communities of interest and care should be taken to ensure that district lines do not divide communities or inhibit their ability to make their voices heard in political and legislative arenas.
- The redistricting process must be open and transparent, with opportunities for citizens to impact the map-drawing throughout. The public should have access to map-drawing software and all tools available to the official map drafters, so they will be able to submit their own map proposals to the Commission.