Updated: Thursday, 12 Nov 2009, 6:36 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 12 Nov 2009, 1:47 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Can state lawmakers draw new districts that don't favor one party or the other?
It's the rationale behind a new position taken by Republicans in the Indiana Senate.
The goal is to address the problem known as gerrymandering, the packing of members of one party or the other into a given district, whether it is Congress or the General Assembly.
It's why the Democratic 7th District represented by André Carson is so small and why the 4th District represented by Steve Buyer has such a strange shape. The result is that voters often don't know who represents them.
State lawmakers will draw new districts in 2011 and Indiana Senate Republicans propose new criteria that require compact districts.
"If done properly," said Sen. David Long (R-President Pro Tem).
"The perception is what we're talking about, is that it will be
"I think we've seen a seismic movement here," said Republican Secretary of State Todd Rokita.
He has championed reform but still thinks partisanship will creep into the process when lawmakers take up redistricting and therefore still hopes to advance his own plan.
"Whether it's through an independent bill that continues to carry on the criteria that was left out of the plan today or it's an amendment process, I think we have yet to strategize on."
The Senate Republicans, meantime, say that leaving politics out of the process is not practical.
Long said, "If the goal, and it has been of many critics of redistricting in the past, is competitive districts how do you do that without looking at voting patterns?"
The Senate Republicans also propose the creation of an independent commission to do the next redistricting in 2021.
That commission is part of the plan put forward by Rokita at rethinkingredistricting.com.
On Thursday, the Indiana Senate Democratic leader Vi Simpson called for an independent commission to be created immediately so that it could be in place for the redistricting in 2011.
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