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FROM CHALKBEAT INDIANA: What should middle schoolers learn about history? Indiana debates civics standards

This report by Aleksandra Appleton of Chalkbeat Indiana was originally published by Chalkbeat and is republished according to Chalkbeat republishing guidelines. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters May 12, 5:48pm EDT What Indiana does and does not teach about government – such as constitutional amendments beyond the Bill of Rights – is back in […]

PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS: Few upsets among incumbent success stories in redrawn legislative, congressional districts

The dedicated voters who turned out to vote in Tuesday’s primary — the first since the 2021 redistricting led by the Indiana General Assembly’s Republican supermajorities — sent the message that previous experience in a public office is not necessarily an advantage for a candidate.  Jennifer-Ruth Green defeated Blair Milo, former mayor of LaPorte, for […]

REDISTRICTING IN 2022: In a lopsided and bipartisan vote, City-County Council approves its new maps

The following report from Indianapolis Recorder writer Tyler Fenwick was first published in the Recorder, and is shared through The Indiana Citizen redistricting reporting project. The Indianapolis City-County Council voted to approve new local voting districts May 2, bringing an end to the once-per-decade redistricting process that was challenged by some but ultimately didn’t draw […]

WE’RE HIRING: In partnership with the Indianapolis Recorder, Indiana Citizen launches search for full-time reporter. Read the job posting here

The Indiana Citizen, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news and information platform focused on the civic health of Indiana, is seeking a full-time reporter on issues of racial justice in our state. For this position, The Indiana Citizen will partner with the Indianapolis Recorder, the nation’s fourth-oldest surviving African American newspaper and a leading voice for the Black community […]

A NEW VOICE FOR REFORM: In northern Indiana city of Goshen, mayor’s call leads to independent redistricting commission

Goshen has joined the very short list of Indiana cities that are turning to citizen commissions to take at least some of the politics out of redistricting. The northern Indiana city of 35,000 will establish a commission to redraw its five city council election districts in response to population changes in the 2020 census. Final […]

Sheila Kennedy commentary: Diagnosing democracy’s illness

A few days ago, I was in a small meeting devoted to civic education. Attendees included some very smart, very savvy individuals, all of whom were veterans of the longstanding effort to increase civic knowledge and civic literacy. But when the individual who had convened this particular group asked what should have been a simple […]

ADVANTAGE INCUMBENTS: With election commission rulings, nearly half of legislators seeking reelection are unopposed in either party

UPDATE: The list of candidates in Indiana’s May 3 party primaries grew shorter — and the list of unchallenged incumbents grew longer — as the Indiana Election Commission reviewed more than 20 challenges to ballot qualifications during a long and at times noisy meeting Friday. The meeting, which continued for nearly seven hours through the […]

RESPONSE ON INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING: State hasn’t changed the law, and ‘our council has followed state statute’

With their public hearings on the upcoming redrawing of district lines under way, Democratic leaders of the Indianapolis City-County Council are hearing renewed calls for the independent redistricting commission that they urged upon their counterparts in the Republican-led Indiana General Assembly. Council leaders have not agreed to the request. And while council policy director Brandon […]

CIVIC HEALTH INDEX: With some of the nation’s most restrictive voting laws, Indiana’s turnout dips even lower in national ranks

The 2021 Indiana Civic Health Index unveiled Tuesday showed that although the state has taken its first steps toward improving civic education in its schools, Hoosiers still rank low nationally for participation in the voting process. Civic health can be evaluated statistically through measures such as voter registration and turnout but also takes into account the overall […]

‘DO THE RIGHT THING:’ Reformers urge City-County Council to adopt independent redistricting

Common Cause Indiana and its allies are calling on the Democratic-controlled Indianapolis City-County Council to “do the right thing” and turn the redrawing of council districts into a nonpartisan affair. “That would really send a message that would resonate the five or six blocks that separate the City-County Building from the Statehouse,” the group’s policy […]

WHO’S RUNNING IN 2022? Follow the primary candidate filings and check back for updates

The votes won’t be counted until Nov. 8, but Indiana’s midterm election ballot already has begun taking shape. Republican and Democratic primary candidates for offices ranging from U.S. Senate to county councils began filing with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office on Jan. 5. The filing period ends at noon Friday, Feb. 4. The list […]

MORE DRAMA, TIGHTER DEADLINES: The scramble to redistrict locally continues along familiar battle lines. Some might not even bother.

The following report was written by veteran journalists Janet Williams and Bill Theobald for The Indiana Citizen. Nov. 18, 2021 Maybe you thought the political drama of redistricting was over for another decade. That would be wrong. Very wrong. It’s been more than six weeks since Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law Indiana’s new congressional and legislative […]

A MOMENT OF TRUTH FOR INDY DEMOCRATS: Will the City-County Council’s redistricting follow the example of Bloomington or the Statehouse?

The story might be familiar by now: The once-a-decade duty of redistricting rests with a legislative supermajority, and calls for an independent, nonpartisan redrawing of district lines are ignored. It’s a story that just played out in the Indiana Statehouse, with a Republican-led juggernaut resulting in congressional and legislative districts already criticized as some of […]

REDISTRICTING, ROUND 2: At the local level, another chance for openness and fair maps

October 21, 2021 The introduction, passage and enactment of new congressional and state legislative district maps by the 148 state legislators in attendance and the Governor between Sept. 14 and Oct. 4 certainly provided the most visible evidence of the civic impact of the 2020 census. But that census also is causing hundreds of Hoosier […]

WELCOME TO MONROE COUNTY: Where citizens will be in charge of redistricting

Oct. 25, 2021 Continuing our coverage of this year’s redistricting process, the following report was written by veteran Bloomington journalist Steve Hinnefeld for The Indiana Citizen. Bloomington, Ind. — Earlier this month, Indiana’s Republican legislative supermajority wrapped up a decennial redistricting process that flat-out rejected the idea of having a nonpartisan, independent commission redraw the state’s congressional […]

A WHIMPER, NOT A BANG: Redistricting session comes to a subdued end with passage of Republican-drawn maps; Holcomb signs into law

The Indiana Statehouse, Friday, October 1, 2021. UPDATE: Gov. Eric Holcomb (above) on Monday signed into law House Bill 1581, the Republican-drawn redistricting of the state’s congressional and legislative district lines for the next decade. “Today I signed HB 1581, completing this once-in-a-decade constitutionally required process,” Holcomb said in a statement released by his office. […]

REDISTRICTING UPDATE: We’re losing the fight for fair maps

The following is written by Alan Mills, a member of the Indiana Citizen Education Foundation board of directors, as an update to his analysis, “Why racial justice requires fair maps,’’ published on August 31, 2021. Sept. 29, 2021 A month has passed since I shared some thoughts on the once-a-decade redistricting process and its implications […]

HOUSE PASSES NEW MAPS: Indiana Senate to vote on Republican redistricting plan next week

  Sept. 23, 2021 The legislative responsibility of redistricting occurs only once every 10 years. It’s an important responsibility — organizing the state’s congressional and legislative electorate for the next 10 years — and a big one. In Indiana, there are 159 legislative and congressional districts to weigh against the latest U.S. Census. Thursday morning, […]

PROFESSOR’S ANALYSIS: New maps are no fairer than the old ones

Two days after Indiana House Republicans made public their proposed redrawing of the state’s congressional and legislative districts, a George Washington University professor who performed an often-cited outside analysis of the state’s 2011 redistricting announced his analysis of the new maps: They’re as gerrymandered as the old ones. The new study by Professor Christopher Warshaw, […]

THE NEW MAPS ARE OUT: See them here and follow for updates

Sept. 14, 2021 Indiana’s Republican legislative leaders on Tuesday made public most of the redistricting maps that they plan to enact during a legislative process set to begin little more than 24 hours later. Above, at top: Proposed congressional district map. Below, from left: (1) Current congressional district map, (2) current Indiana House district map, […]

REDISTRICTING IN INDIANA: Why racial justice requires fair maps

The following analysis was written by Alan Mills, a member of the Indiana Citizen Education Foundation board of directors. America is changing. And Indiana, though a few steps behind, is changing, too. Newly released U.S. Census Bureau data shows that during the past 10 years, Indiana has become more diverse.  In 2010, Hoosiers identifying themselves […]

A study in contrasts: The representatives versus the represented

The following report was written by veteran journalists Bill Theobald and Janet Williams for The Indiana Citizen. Pictured: Emmitt Riley III, associate professor of political science and Africana studies at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. Sept. 10, 2021 The face of Indiana is changing rapidly, less white, more Black, brown, and Asian. But whether the faces of […]

NEW DECADE, SAME PLAYBOOK: With Republicans’ hiring of national consultant, Indiana’s redistricting in 2021 is starting to look a lot like 2011.

Top row, from left: Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston, Senate Elections Committee member Erin Houchin, Senate Elections Committee chairman Jon Ford. Second: Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray, Senate Elections Committee member Eric Koch, House Elections Committee vice chair Alan Morrison. Third: Majority Caucus Chairman Gregory Steuerwald, House Elections Committee chairman Timothy Wesco, Senate Elections […]

New study finds Indiana among the most gerrymandered states in the U.S.

A new academic study of Indiana’s 2011 redistricting, commissioned by the nonpartisan Women4ChangeIndiana and released Monday, has found “a very large pro-Republican bias” that is among the most extreme in the nation, according to the author, a nationally recognized expert on gerrymandering. Women4ChangeIndiana, an Indianapolis-based group founded to “educate, equip and mobilize Hoosiers to create […]

THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED: A decade after Indiana’s 2011 redistricting, those on the inside still aren’t talking.

Continuing our coverage of this year’s redistricting process, the following report was written by veteran journalists Janet Williams and Bill Theobald for The Indiana Citizen. June 14, 2021 *** Jeb Bardon knew it was over for Democrats in Indiana a decade ago, as soon as he saw the new maps. Drafted behind closed doors by a small group of […]

2011 in a different light: Ex-lawmaker says Democrats ‘should shut up and eat what they served’ in 2001

June 21, 2021 One way of looking at Indiana’s 2011 redistricting is from the perspective of what’s happened since – a decade of Republican supermajorities in the General Assembly and a GOP lock on seven of the state’s nine congressional districts. But Dan Dumezich (above) sees it in a different light, looking back to what […]

EMPOWERED EXTREMES, LOWER TURNOUT: A look at how redistricting can make a difference

Continuing our coverage of this year’s redistricting process, the following report was written by Indiana journalist Janet Williams for The Indiana Citizen. May 14, 2021 The passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2015 presented Indiana with an interesting question: Did the actions of its state legislature really reflect the will of the governed? […]

WHAT’S THE PLAN? Legislative leaders share more specifics on the redistricting process ahead, but questions remain

Continuing our coverage of this year’s redistricting process, the following report was written by veteran journalists Janet Williams and Bill Theobald for The Indiana Citizen. April 29, 2021 Last week, after nearly four months in session, the Indiana General Assembly passed a new state budget and headed for the exits. But the lawmakers left the […]

REDISTRICTING IN 2021: Indiana’s civic health can be improved by drawing fair maps

March 28, 2021 Every 10 years in years ending in 1, an otherwise relatively obscure figure in American history — a legitimate “Founding Father”– becomes a household name. Elbridge Gerry — pronounced “Gary” — devoted his adult life to promoting democracy, culminating as James Madison’s second vice president for only one year, 1813-1814, because he […]

POINT: “Indiana is not gerrymandered … Gerrymandering is not in the eye of the beholder, but in the eye of the loser”

The Indiana Citizen is committed to providing a variety of points of view on the crucial issue of redistricting. The following column, written by Indianapolis Star opinion contributor Pete Seat (above) and originally published on Feb. 22, 2021, is reprinted with permission of the author and The Indianapolis Star. March 28, 2021 *** Indiana is […]

COUNTERPOINT: “Republicans amassed power disproportionate to their support from voters. Indiana’s maps are among the most unfair”

The following — in response to a column by Indianapolis Star opinion contributor Pete Seat — was co-authored by Jay Yeager (above) and Ted Boehm, both of whom served as lead counsel in federal court challenges to partisan gerrymandering, March 28, 2021 *** Indiana’s gerrymandered 2011 legislative and congressional district maps have created one-party supermajorities […]

The big money behind the big campaigns: A report from The Indiana Citizen

In our continuing mission to provide accurate and impartial information about the civic life of Indiana, The Indiana Citizen is reporting on the money contributed to the campaigns of key state officials in 2020, based upon the latest round of campaign finance reports filed with the Indiana Secretary of State. The following report was written […]

A very basic primer on Indiana campaign finance

To accompany The Indiana Citizen’s reporting on campaign finance, the following is a brief summary written by retired lawyer Bill Moreau, co-founder and president of the Indiana Citizen Education Foundation and publisher of The Indiana Citizen. February 16, 2021 *** When you read information about political contributions governed exclusively by Indiana law, you will see […]

Campaign finance and the General Assembly: A report from The Indiana Citizen

In our continuing mission to provide voters with accurate and impartial information, The Indiana Citizen is reporting on the money spent by their campaign committees, based upon the latest round of campaign finance reports filed with the Indiana Secretary of State.  The following report, focusing on campaigns for the Indiana General Assembly, was written by […]

The AG: Rokita assumes an oft-misunderstood office

As Indiana’s statewide offices go, attorney general sounds pretty glamorous — the kind of job that might inspire a fast-paced, drama-filled television series. Alas, while it might get higher ratings than a series devoted to, say, Indiana’s auditor or treasurer, the show probably wouldn’t get renewed for a second season. Simply put, the Indiana attorney […]

Eric Holcomb 2.0: Bold incrementalist

You don’t have to pore over decades of certified vote tallies to get a feel for the electoral history of the Indiana governor’s office. Just think “Hoosier hospitality.” While proudly hospitable to strangers, Hoosier voters as a whole prefer the company of their immediate family, and particularly in presidential elections since Reconstruction, their political family […]