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Indiana redistricting maps to be released, will guide state for 10 years

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hoosiers are expected to get a first look at proposed redistricting maps Tuesday. Representatives of The Indiana Citizen, a nonpartisan organization, said they want to get people educated before the maps are adopted.

The organization is working to help people understand the connection between racial justice and the drawing of fair maps, saying that Indiana has changed since the last drawing of the map 10 years ago.

Newly-released census numbers show Indiana has grown more diverse and less rural. Critics like Bill Moreau say the state legislature has failed to keep up.

“Almost a quarter of Hoosiers are non-white and yet only 11% of the members of the Indiana General Assembly are,” he said.

Moreau works with The Indiana Citizen Education Campaign. They’ve been at work since January trying to spread the word about how redistricting can impact communities. The districts are redrawn every 10 years using census data, which was delayed this time around because of the pandemic.

“The question right now is whether the legislature — the super majority that controlled the legislature — are going to do in 2021 what they did in 2011,” he said.

Once the first versions of the maps are publicly released, lawmakers will hold hearings the next day. It’s a fast moving process — one Moreau said leaves little room for public analysis and feedback.

He said that, historically, maps have been drawn to split black and brown communities, in part because of stereotypes that they often vote democrat.

“Gerrymandering is a civic sin that’s conducted by both parties. When Democrats were in control in 2001 (and) in 1991, they did the same thing. And it’s always wrong for those in power to use the power to perpetuate their power,” he said.

He added that if the maps are fair, Indiana General assembly will be more representative of the people in Indiana.

Senate President pro-tem Rodric Bray said he’ll be fair and transparent through the redistricting process. He added that the general assembly launched a public map drawing portal a couple weeks ago to get public input.

On Wednesday, Sept. 15, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Hoosiers will be able to provide feedback on the redistricting plans. The House Elections and Apportionment Committee will meet at in the House Chamber at the Indiana State House.

Additionally, Hoosiers will also be able to voice their concerns and opinions on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. as the committee meet again in House chambers.

For more information and to watch the meetings, click here.