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Indiana faith leaders discuss the importance of redistricting

The Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting met Monday to talk with Indiana faith leaders about ways to connect the faith community with the issue.

Common Cause Indiana co-sponsored the virtual webinar along with several other groups from the All IN for Democracy Coalition.

Bryce Gustafason (above) with Citizens Action Coalition started the webinar by introducing Beth Henricks, associate pastor at Indianapolis First Friends Meeting, and speaking about what redistricting means.

“No matter what faith we Hoosiers belong to, our voice and our votes should matter equally here in Indiana,” Gustafason said. “Everyone counts.”

Several faith leaders and activists shared how redistricting affects their faith.

“With a more transparent redistricting process in which all citizens can participate, we can be more confident that our elections will produce representatives who have truly represented each of us in our communities,” Henricks said.

Shoshanna Spector, director of Faith in Indiana, said redistricting is a chance for political leaders to move district lines to benefit their power.

“Voters should pick their leaders, not leaders picking their voters,” Spector said.

ICRC created a detailed report stating what the public wants when it comes to redistricting. The main thing it asks for is transparency throughout the redistricting process.

State legislators determine the congressional and legislative districts. These districts divide counties and neighborhoods.

Libbey Detcher, Miss Great Lakes and a junior at St. Mary’s College, spoke about how she knows neighbors who had different ballots because they lived on a district line.

“With 21st century technology, we should not be having these issues, but instead that technology is being used to strategically draw the lines in ways that create disenfranchisement and confusion among different communities,” Detcher said.

Alexa Shrake is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.