Time Running Out For Comprehensive Redistricting Reform

Mar 8, 2019

Time is running out for Indiana to enact comprehensive redistricting reform before state lawmakers are due to redraw legislative districts in 2021.

Such reform is essentially dead this session – and even modest changes are unlikely.

The Senate narrowly approved a bill to create redistricting standards for lawmakers. That includes keeping communities together whenever possible and ignoring incumbent legislators’ addresses.

But House Elections Committee Chair Tim Wesco (R-Osceola) isn’t a fan of the bill. He says much of it is already required by federal law. And he points to a provision that says lawmakers can ignore the standards, as long as they explain why.

“It really leaves me asking, what’s the point?” Wesco says.

Redistricting reform advocates support the bill. But they also want a lot more – an independent commission that draws Indiana’s legislative maps. Leading advocate Julia Vaughn acknowledges such a change might require an outside push.

“We’re all looking towards the Supreme Court to hopefully provide us with an assist but that’s certainly not guaranteed,” Vaughn says.

Vaughn insists there’s still time next session for meaningful reform.