Common Cause Indiana

Common Cause Indiana launches Draw Marion County

June 11, 2012


Common Cause Indiana has launched Draw Marion County, an effort to engage Indianapolis residents in the local, county-level redistricting process using District Builder software to draw their own maps.

“In an effort to make the redistricting process more transparent and to give citizens a meaningful way to participate, Common Cause/Indiana has teamed up with the Midwest Democracy Network to create, a website and open source mapping software that will allow anyone with Web access to draw new Council district maps,” Common Cause/Indiana Policy Director Julia Vaughn said at a press conference on June 5. “The website and software give the public an unprecedented opportunity to shape the districts that will impact elections in Marion County for the next ten years so we hope it is widely utilized.”

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Sound Judgment: A Discussion of Judicial Selection and Ethics for the 21st Century

November 17, 2011


Please join us for a luncheon seminar for legislators, lobbyists, attorneys and advocates on Friday, December 16 from 11:00am to 1:00pm in the House Chambers at the Indiana State Capitol. Local and national experts will be discussing the way judges are selected and the rules that govern their behavior while on the bench.


Panelists include The Honorable Theodore Boehm, Indiana Supreme Court; Professor Charles Geyh, Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Law at IU Law Bloomington; and Bert Brandenburg, executive director of the Justice at Stake campaign.




Will New Maps for Congress and State Legislature Be Good for Voters, or for Politicians?

Let the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission Know What You Think!

February 28, 2011


The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission is a joint project of AARP Indiana, Common Cause/Indiana and the League of Women Voters of Indiana. Composed of 11 members from across Indiana, the ICRC is diverse, inclusive and representative of voters in our state.

The ICRC will hold public meetings to examine the new congressional and state legislative maps proposed by the 2011 Indiana General Assembly and encourage a public dialogue on how well the new maps fulfill public interest criteria like compactness, preserving communities of interest, protecting minority voting rights and encouraging competitive races. Comments from the public meetings will be compiled and submitted to the legislature.

Public Meeting Schedule

March 3 – Muncie, Kennedy Library 6:30 – 8:30

March 8 – New Albany, IU Southeast, University Center North 6:30 – 8:30

March 10 – Indianapolis, University of Indianapolis, Switzer Student Center 6:30 – 8:30

March 15 – South Bend, Main Library, Multimedia Room 6:30 – 8:00

March 22 – Hammond, Purdue-Calumet, Porter Hall, Rm 100 6:30 – 8:30

March 24 – Fort Wayne, IPFW, Science Building, Rm 185 6:30 – 8:30

March 29 – Terre Haute, Vigo County Public Library 6:30 – 8:30

March 31 – Evansville, Central Library, Browning Room B 6:30 – 8:30

Maps drawn this year will impact elections in Indiana for the next 10 years. The new maps will determine in large part who gets elected and how accountable they will be to voters. The new maps will impact which issues get dealt with, and which issues get ignored. Redistricting has a huge impact on voters – but for too long our voices have been ignored. Come to the public meeting in your area and make your voice heard!



Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission

December 15, 2010


In 2011, the Indiana General Assembly will draw new maps for all 100 state House districts, 50 state Senate districts and 9 U.S. congressional districts. In the past this process has been extremely partisan and contentious and we expect the 2011 round of redistricting to follow suit.

While it may be too late to reform the redistricting law before the 2011 reapportionment, Common Cause/Indiana, the Downs Center for Politics at IPFW, the League of Women Voters of Indiana and AARP Indiana plan to offer an alternative process next year that will shine a light on the General Assembly’s gerrymandering and offer a public interest alternative to the partisan maps they will produce.




Redistricting 2011: An end to gerrymandering or more of the same political game?

November 10, 2010


Please join us for a luncheon seminar for legislators, lobbyists, attorneys and advocates on Friday, December 17 from 11:00am to 1:00pm in the Senate Chambers at the Indiana State Capitol. Local and national experts will be discussing how and why the Indiana legislature should reform the redistricting process.


Panelists include The Honorable Theodore Boehm, Indiana Supreme Court; Dr. Michael McDonald, Associate Professor of Government and Politics at George Mason University; and Virginia Martinez, Esq., Legislative Staff Attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).




Winter 2010 Newsletter Now Available

January 27, 2010


Check out our top story, "Now is the Time: Citizen Pressure Key to Passage of Real Lobbying and Redistricting Reform," and find out what you can do to help.


Also, learn how you can nominate a legislator for our annual "Mr./Ms. Clean" Award. And read the confessions of a former candidate -- what Robin Olds learned about special interest money and gerrymandered legislative districts.




Redistricting: A New Day for Democracy or Politics as Usual?

November 18, 2009


Please join us for a luncheon seminar for legislators, lobbyists, attorneys and advocates on Friday, December 18 from 11am to 1:15pm in the Senate Chambers at the Indiana State Capitol.


Panelists include The Honorable Todd Rokita, Indiana Secretary of State; Justin Levitt, Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice; and Luis Fuentes-Rowher, Professor of Law at Indiana University Law School-Bloomington.





Public Trust, Private Interests

November 13, 2008


Please join us for a luncheon seminar for legislators, lobbyists, attorneys and citizens on Friday, December 5 from 11am to 1pm at the IU School of Law-Indianapolis.


Our keynote speaker will be Common Cause President Bob Edgar, who will discuss the importance of open, honest and accountable government. Other panelists include Dr. David Orentlicher, professor of legal ethics at IUPUI and a former legislator; former Indiana Secretary of State Joe Hogsett, and Indianapolis attorney Paul Ogden, who has been an outspoken advocate of the public interest in Indianapolis. The discussion will be moderated by Indianapolis radio host Abdul Hakim-Shabazz.





Protecting the Vote in Marion County

November 3, 2008


Common Cause/Indiana is ready to deploy trained non-partisan Voter Advocates to provide assistance directly to voters at 150 locations throughout Marion County.


Julia Vaughn, Policy Director for Common Cause/Indiana said. “Voters in Marion County could face a number of challenges on Election Day, including long lines, inaccurate voter registration lists, polling place location changes and malfunctioning voting machines. Add to that mix the most stringent Voter ID law in the country and the end result could be disenfranchised voters. It is important that anyone who is told that they cannot vote, or that they must use a provisional ballot, contact the voter protection hotline at, or 1-866-OUR VOTE. The hotline is staffed by expert volunteers who can provide assistance.



Clean Elections experts Urge Indiana lawmakers to take elections off the auction block

September 30, 2008


The Voter Owned Indiana Clean Elections (VOICE) Coalition, including Common Cause/Indiana, hosted Senator Christine Savage (R-ME). Senator Meg Burton Cahill (D-AZ) and Eric Ehst, Executive Director of the Arizona Clean Elections Institute.  At a press conference the experts, along with Dan Weeks of Americans for Campaign Reform, explained how each state’s system of public financing works and why they believe this system is good for both candidates and voters. VOICE and the out-of-state guests also held a Clean Elections teach-in at IUPUI with Democracy Matters. Then they testified at a hearing at the State House of the Census Data Advisory Committee.



Who is looking out for the public?: Deal flunks the smell test

August 23, 2008


From the Indianapolis Business Journal:


The Mayor’s Office has quietly agreed to consider selling some of the city’s more than 1,100 properties, including police stations, maintenance buildings and parks, in a bid to raise cash to help balance the budget. The city awarded the potentially lucrative no-bid contract to Venture Real Estate Services, a politically connected real estate firm led by John Bales.


The local firm has the responsibility of scouring the city’s real estate holdings for cost-saving opportunities that could result in sales or sale-lease-backs of everything from Bush Stadium to the former state museum. Even the City-County Building is on the table.


Julia Vaughn, policy director for the watchdog group Common Cause Indiana, called it a “sweetheart deal” that screams conflict of interest and raises questions about who is looking out for the public’s interest.


"This administration has talked a lot about increasing ethics and the need for transparency and to ensure citizens decisions are being made on their merit, but they really have been glaringly inconsistent in walking the walk,” Vaughn said. “This is one of those cases. From start to finish, it doesn’t pass the smell test.”


Venture’s president is Bales, a Republican donor known to play up his ties to Gov. Mitch Daniels and other political heavyweights. His attorney is Bob Grand, managing partner at law firm Barnes & Thornburg. Grand is president of the Capital Improvement Board and the mayor’s right-hand man.




Indiana needs “Clean Elections” system

August 2008

The race for governor is fueled by a handful of wealthy donors. The state's few campaign contribution limits open the door to undue influence by deep-pocketed contributors, discourage lesser-known candidates from running and have turned political campaigns into an endless stream of TV ads. 


Common Cause/Indiana says take elections off the auction block with a voluntary system of public financing like Arizona , Maine and Connecticut . We are working with the Voter Owned Clean Elections to bring Clean Elections to Indiana.  Watch for Updates!




CC/IN calls for better disclosure

August 2, 2008


From The Indianapolis Star:


Motorola, the company behind Marion County's new $37 million police and fire radio system, gave the chairman of the Metropolitan Emergency Communications Agency a $1,000 campaign contribution last year while he was running for re-election as mayor of Beech Grove.


A leading political watchdog group said Motorola's contribution to Mayor Joe Wright raised the potential for a conflict of interest and should have been disclosed to other board members.


“They're making decisions without complete information. That's never good,” said Julia Vaughn, policy director of the political watchdog group Common Cause Indiana.


Wright in recent weeks has defended Motorola in a dispute over who should pay to fix a conflict between headsets and external speakers that are part of the system.


Vaughn said Wright and other politicians need to do a better job of disclosing contributions that raise the potential of a conflict of interest.



Election agency must strive for fairness and nonpartisanship

July 20, 2008


From the Louisville Courier-Journal


The Indiana Election Commission is split with two members from each of the major parties. It's a system that can result in conflicting advice for candidates and deadlocked votes on issues, leaving key campaign questions and problems to be resolved in court.


“It's a completely dysfunctional body,” said Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana. “I don't think it's accidental. Politicians aren't well served by a well functioning regulatory body."


Common Cause backs a commission in which at least the chairman is someone who encourages nonpartisanship — an academic, former judge or other respected individual. “We should strive for fairness and nonpartisanship and that's certainly not what we get now.”