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Indiana Senate Democrats Make 'Last-Ditch' Call For Redistricting Reform

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Brandon Smith
/
IPB News

Indiana Senate Democrats made their “last-ditch” call Tuesday for redistricting reform ahead of lawmakers redrawing legislative district lines in the 2021 session.

The minority caucus has unsuccessfully pushed for reforms for more than a decade.

While redistricting reform advocates have long called for an independent commission to draw Indiana’s district maps, Senate Democrats acknowledge it’s too late for that. Instead, Minority Leader Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said they want required standards by which the maps will be drawn.

“It would prohibit the drawing of district lines to favor a political party or a person,” Taylor said.

Democrats' proposed standards would also require districts to be as compact as possible, discourage the division of cities and counties between districts and discourage the separation of school corporation boundaries and communities into separate districts.

Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) said the public also needs to have input.

“There is no reason the General Assembly cannot accept public comment and allow organizations and individuals to submit their own suggestions for our next set of districts maps,” Ford said.

Democrats said a more transparent and fair redistricting process will help restore voter confidence in elections.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.