Shadow Redistricting Commission Could Have Short- And Long-Term Impact

Dec 27, 2020

Indiana lawmakers will redraw legislative district lines in 2021.
Credit Brandon Smith / IPB News

Voter advocacy organizations are creating a “shadow” redistricting commission – an independent group to provide the public with what they say is a fairer alternative than the new legislative district maps lawmakers will create in the 2021 session.

If the commission has an impact, it can be both long- and short-term. Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics director Andrew Downs said in the immediate, there’s its effect on the 2021 redistricting process, when lawmakers will seek public input.

“If a shadow organization is able to draw maps and able to get constituents from around the state to submit those maps to the General Assembly, it will at least have to address those maps,” Downs said.

READ MORE: Hoosiers Split On Redistricting Reform In Latest Ball State Survey

There’s also the long-term impact, when voter advocacy groups can use the map drawn by the independent commission to compare election results with the maps drawn by lawmakers. But Downs said that could also work against advocates.

“If you have supermajority Republican control and they see a map that says they’re going to drop down to majority control or maybe even lose control of one of the chambers, Republicans throughout the state – not just the officeholders but the people who elect them – may be inclined to say, ‘Wait a minute, I wasn’t in favor of that much competition,’” Downs said.

The redistricting process may be slightly delayed in 2021 if the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t get Indiana the information it needs early in the year.

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