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Indiana House Advances Redistricting Bill To Senate

Brandon Smith
/
IPB News

Indiana House Republicans approved a redistricting bill Thursday that likely maintains GOP supermajorities in the Statehouse and eliminates any competitive races for Congress.

Democrats have long decried the redistricting process. Unfair maps drawn 10 years ago, they argue, created a biased system. And Rep. Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) said the new maps perpetuate that.

“Let’s be clear: these maps are among the most gerrymandered in the history of our nation," Hamilton said. "And thus, by definition, they will disenfranchise voters.”

READ MORE: Analysis Says Indiana Redistricting Maps Among Worst Partisan Bias In Country

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Republicans, of course, argue the opposite. Rep. Tim Wesco (R-Osceola), in praising the bill’s author, said the maps create compact districts and keep communities of interest together.

“The truth is, people don’t want districts that look like salamanders and I commend Rep. [Greg] Steuerwald," Wesco said. "He worked harder than I did in seeking to make these maps as compact and I would daresay beautiful as possible.”

It wasn’t just Democrats who voiced complaints. Rep. Jeff Ellington (R-Bloomington), one of the few Republicans whose seat likely becomes less safe, decried the loss in his district of the I-69 corridor from Bloomington to Crane, which he called a community of interest.

Ellington and two other Republicans joined every Democrat in voting against the bill. The measure now heads to the Senate.

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.
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