Letter: State should put redistricting in hands of citizens

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Editor, 

The federal government takes a new census every 10 years, and that data is used to redraw the congressional and legislative districts that must, by law, be roughly equal in population.

Sounds pretty straight forward, except for “Gerrymandering” where the political party that controls the state general assembly also controls the redistricting process.

Hamilton County state representatives Kathy Richardson (Noblesville) and Jerry Torr (Carmel) are both in the unique position of having an opportunity to help usher in the beginning of the end for gerrymandering in Indiana.

Richardson is a member and Torr the chair of the Special Interim Committee on Redistricting, which will meet for the final time on Oct. 17th and vote on whether or not to send a redistricting reform draft proposal on to the general assembly. Without this committee’s endorsement, the legislature will have an excuse to forget about reforming the redistricting process, and we can look forward to more gerrymandering in 2021.

Both political parties in Indiana are guilty of gerrymandering. Both have used it to create safe districts for their members, which limits the choices that voters have and makes it difficult to hold incumbents accountable. It has led to polarization in the political process and to Indiana’s low voter turnout – the worst in the nation in 2014.

Allowing legislators to draw their own political districts is like allowing them to choose their voters; it’s clearly a conflict of interest. It is time for that conflict to end in Indiana. Indiana should follow the lead of states like Arizona and California that have put citizens in charge of the redistricting process. Please contact representatives Richardson and Torr, and ask them to support redistricting reform.

Peg Harmon

Hamilton County League of Women Voters


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