INDIANAPOLIS — One of the most important items on the to-do list for Indiana lawmakers has yet to be addressed this year.
COVID-19 delayed census data used to redistrict state and congressional maps. Broad numbers are in, but specific data won’t come until September.
For everyday Hoosiers, it’s not too early to get involved in the process.
“The public really needs to be engaged and not wait for the General Assembly to start,” said Julia Vaughn, Policy Director for Common Cause Indiana.
The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission has already hosted ten virtual public hearings and will continue seeking map drawing input.
“My job has been to compile all of that really important testimony into a report that we will be delivering to the General Assembly soon,” said Vaughn. “And I really hope that they will follow the public’s recommendations.”
Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray said the report will be considered.
“We want as much public input as we can have,” said Bray. “I know they are going to work hard on it, it’s very important to them.”
Lawmakers will host their own public hearings late summer, but they haven’t announced specific dates.
At the end of the day, legislators are the ones who draw the maps, according to Indiana law.
A recent decline in rural populations and an increase in urban and suburban areas could make it challenging.
“I think republicans should potentially be ready to lose seats mainly because of those shifts in population,” said Editor and Publisher of IndyPolitics.Org Abdul-Hakim Shabazz.
“What you will see inevitably is in those rural areas the districts are going to be larger than they used to be,” added Sen. Bray.
He said they’ll avoid gerrymandering, drawing maps with political advantage in mind.
“It’s not the way to do it,” explained Bray.
Common Cause Indiana said it’s up to voters to make sure maps are fair.
“We will be stuck with these districts whether we like them, or we hate them,” said Vaughn.
These new maps will not change for another ten years.
To learn more about how you can be involved in the process, click here.