Legislators will redraw the map of their districts and those of Indiana’s congressional delegation this session. Senate Democrats want some rules on how it’s done:
Democrats have argued unsuccessfully in the past for an independent redistricting commission. They’re setting their sights lower this year, calling for legal standards to discourage lines which divide cities, counties or school districts. A similar bill has passed the Republican Senate twice, but went nowhere in the House. Republicans maintain the maps they drew in 2011 already follow those standards. They also argue the proposal is potentially self-contradictory, calling for communities to be held together without stuffing too many or too few minority votes into one district. That’s a tactic prohibited by the Voting Rights Act.
Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) argues gerrymandering drives down voter turnout, because voters conclude their vote doesn’t matter.
Taylor argues Indiana’s election results prove the map is gerrymandered. He notes while President-elect Joe Biden got 41-percent of the vote in Indiana, Democrats captured just 29-percent of the seats in the House and 22-percent of the Senate. But Democrats face the same challenge in Indiana they do nationally: their voters are concentrated in big cities, while rural areas are heavily Republican. Just 13 Indiana counties were decided by less than 20 points in the presidential race — just six were decided by less than 10.