Panel discusses citizen input on redistricting

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) —  On Sunday, three former legislators discussed the importance of citizen input when it comes to drawing district lines.

“It’s the voters that are choosing legislators, rather than really how it is now, legislators choosing voters,” former state representative Joe Micon explained.

In a panel discussion Sunday, Micon, former state representative Sue Scholer and former state senator Mike Gery, discussed having more citizen input when it comes to redistricting.

“Trying to get more citizen input into the redistricting efforts we are going to make in 2021,” said Gery.

Rather than just the General Assembly being responsible for drawing the line Scholer said there would be a study committee that is supposed to be looking at the process and recommend possible changes for Indiana.

According to Scholer, Indiana has one of the lowest state voting rates, and panelists believe non-partisan redistricting will help put power back into voters hands.

“By the time we do redistricting again, that we will have something in place that is much more fair,” added Micon.

Redistricting happens every 10 years.

To better explain the process, Micon gave an example of unfair redistricting.

“For those of us who have lived in the community for a long time, we remember that it used to be the Wabash River that cut our state house districts into two,” said Micon.

Having democratic and republican voters in one district would also help with competitive elections.

“If you have more competitive districts, it keeps people on their toes a little bit,” Gery explained. “I think that people who have competitive districts get more involved in issues.”

Panelists want to get rid of elections based on self-interest, and focus on districts with a mix of voters by 2021.

“I think the idea is to try to redistrict in a way that is less political and follows different criteria,” added Gery.

The League also played a video called “Gerrymandering.”

That’s the process of drawing district lines to create a particular result.

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