The Indiana Citizen

The Crossroads of Civic Engagement

Am I registered to vote?

Being an Indiana Citizen starts with registering to vote. Register here or confirm registration.

Redistricting reformers announce members of independent citizens panel to propose new city-county maps

UPDATE: The Indianapolis Citizens Redistricting Commission, an independent, politically balanced group formed to propose redistricting maps for the Indianapolis City-County Council, has announced its members.

Like the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission formed in 2021 to propose maps for the Indiana General Assembly’s redrawing of the state’s congressional and legislative districts, the Indianapolis commission will be balanced with three members identified as Democrats, three Republicans and three politically independent.

The Democratic members are Jeff Davis of Perry Township, listed as a retiree and food bank volunteer; Ashley Hogue, a Christian school director and member of equal rights group Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis; and Kay Kenney, a writer and retired nurse. The Republican members are Bob Massie, a filmmaker and former City-County Council member; Nick Orange, a therapist and part-time Noblesville church minister; and Tasha Phelps, a small business owner and former Washington Township Republican Women’s Club leader. The independent members are Mat Davis, founder of the Indiana Racial Justice Alliance; Andra Liepa, a retired human resource professional and member of women voter and Catholic social justice groups; and Bill Ryerson, a retiree and longtime neighborhood association board member.

***

EARLIER: Frustrated at the Indianapolis City-County Council’s Democratic leaders’ refusal to commit to an independent redistricting commission in 2022, Indiana’s leading redistricting reform group announced Friday that it would form its own nonpartisan, advisory citizens panel.

The group would operate similarly to the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission, which in 2021 prepared and presented alternative maps to the Indiana General Assembly during its redistricting process.

In a news release Friday, Julia Vaughn, executive director of Common Cause Indiana and the driving force behind the 2021 effort, issued a news release calling for volunteers for the citizens commission.

“Despite a loud and clear message from the public, the leadership of the Indianapolis City County Council has not responded to our call for a citizens redistricting commission to draw new voting maps. We’re disappointed but not surprised. When you’re dealing with a supermajority – no matter which political party – redistricting is all about power.  And the party in control isn’t about to share that power with anyone,” the news release stated.

“The problem is that voters and communities aren’t well served when redistricting is all about politics. Our new voting maps should be drawn with a focus on keeping communities together so that all voters – no matter their township or zip code – are ensured their vote really matters.

“Since we can’t depend on the City-County Council to facilitate a fair process for all, we’re going to have to show them how it’s done. We’re going to create a parallel redistricting process for Indianapolis, just like we created a parallel process for Congressional and state legislative redistricting in 2021.”

Vaughn said the commission would be balanced between political parties and include members not affilated with either of the major parties.

“Indianapolis currently faces many challenges and in order to meet them, we need a City-County Council that accurately reflects all of our community. The first step is a Council redistricting process that is inclusive, transparent, fair and politically balanced. The Indianapolis Citizens Redistricting Commission will lead that process.

“We’re looking for nine Marion County voters — three Democrat, three Republican and three who ar neither Republican nor Democrat to serve on the Indianapolis Citizens Redistricting Commission.”

The release also included an application and eligibility guidelines for serving on the commission. — The Indiana Citizen