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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 officeholders – and two independent commissions — to begin redrawing boundaries of thousands of political units from precincts to school board, county council and commission and city council districts.

The redistricting of local governments and school boards rarely attracts the public attention given state-level map-drawing, but it should.  Given the roles that local government and school board elected officials played in levying taxes and setting public health policy in the past two years, greater scrutiny should be given to how those districts are drawn.

But it remains to be seen whether those empowered to shape those districts will follow the model perfected by the General Assembly supermajorities— gerrymandered maps drawn in secret and rushed to enactment to minimize public scrutiny—or choose an approach that maximizes their citizens’ input like that being used by Monroe County and Bloomington, about which you can learn more in upcoming coverage from The Indiana Citizen.

Building on our comprehensive coverage of the General Assembly’s process and product, we plan to devote resources to following the next cycle of map-drawing.

When we find useful background information—like these memoranda (the first sent to to Circuit Court Clerks and County Election Directors and the second to other county officials by Indiana Election Division co-directors Angie Nussmeyer and Brad King) regarding reprecincting—we will add it to our Redistricting Resource Center. As of Oct. 15, 55 counties had notified the Election Division they intend to reprecinct.

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