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Independent analyses say Indiana redistricting will produce little competition

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Brandon Smith
/
IPB News

Two independent analyses of Indiana’s redistricting maps say the districts drawn by Republicans are heavily skewed in favor of Republicans. Those evaluations also say the new state House, Senate and Congressional maps create very few competitive districts.

George Washington University political scientist Christopher Warshaw said Indiana Republicans typically win about 60 percent of the vote statewide but will likely win between 70 and 80 percent of the seats in the new maps. That skew, Warshaw argued in an analysis commissioned by Women4Change Indiana, makes them some of the most biased redistricting plans anywhere in the country in the last half century.

Republicans argue that skew is because Democrats are packed into small areas in Indiana. More than 80 percent of county elected officials, the GOP points out, are Republican. Warshaw and others counter that counties don't vote; people do.

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For instance, the two largest counties in the state – Marion and Lake – are both controlled at the county level by Democrats. And they make up a larger population than 59 other Hoosier counties combined.

Republicans, however, also tout the compactness of the districts they’ve drawn, saying they’ve kept communities of interest together.

Princeton University’s Gerrymandering Project isn’t so sure. It evaluated district compactness in each of the new maps. And generally, it said, that compactness is barely middle-of-the-road.

And the Princeton analysis said that out of 159 districts across the three plans, just 11 will be competitive.

This story has been updated.

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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