The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) demonstrated how the redistricting process in Indiana should be conducted. The ICRC showed that a politically balanced group of citizens working transparently and in cooperation with citizens can devise districts that will serve the public interest, not the interests of politicians.
The ICRC held a series of virtual public meetings in 2021 to take public testimony on what redistricting criteria should guide the map-drawing process and to identify communities of interest throughout the state.
They published a report and send it to the members of the Indiana General Assembly (IGA) charged with redistricting responsibilities. They also sponsored a map-drawing competition and served as the judges for that competition. The contest winners’ maps best fulfill the criteria established through the public testimony and endorsed by the ICRC membership and have been awarded cash prizes.
Those maps are being submitted to the Indiana General Assembly by the All IN for Democracy coalition, whose members will lobby the legislature to adopt them instead of the partisan-drawn maps that will be produced by the incumbent politicians. Our goal is to force the General Assembly to choose between maps drawn in a transparent manner by a politically balanced group of citizens or the maps drawn in secret by politicians who want to preserve their power. The choice should be clear.
The ICRC is composed of nine members: three Republicans, three Democrats and three members who are neither Republican nor Democrat. The members selected a chairperson who must not be affiliated with either of the major political parties.
Here are the commissioners who were selected:
- Clara Glaspie of Indianapolis: Ms. Glaspie is a longtime Republican activist who was the first Black woman to participate in the Richard G. Lugar Excellence for Women Leadership series
- Leigh Morris of LaPorte: Mr. Morris is the former Mayor of LaPorte and retired as the CEO of the community hospital there.
- Marilyn Moran-Townsend of Fort Wayne: Ms. Moran-Townsend is the CEO of CVC Communication and a co-founder of AVOW, Advancing Voices of Women, a group to support and empower women as civic leaders.
- Missie Summers-Kempf of Portage: Ms. Summers-Kempf is active in a number of groups organized around racial justice and environmental issues in Northwest Indiana.
- Xavier Ramirez of Carmel: Mr. Ramirez is a student at Indiana University who works with the Civic Leader Learning Center as a student advisory board member.
- Ranjan Rohatgi of South Bend: Mr Rohatgi is Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Compuer Science at Saint Mary’s College where he developed a class called “Mathematics of Voting.”
Affiliated with Neither Major Party
- Christopher Brandon Harris of Hammond: Mr. Harris is a project manager for a commercial construction general contractor and participates in the Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation.
- Sonia Leerkamp of Ninevah: Ms. Leerkamp is the former Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney who serves on the board of the Brown County League of Women Voters.
- Charles Taylor of Muncie: Mr. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science at Ball State University who has moderated numerous political forums and is committed to civic education.
The ICRC held its first public meeting on February 25, 2021. We do not know what effect COVID-19 or the potential for delayed data from the U.S. Census Bureau may have on the time or work of the ICRC. More information will be provided by All IN for Democracy as we get it.
A small stipend of $500 will be provided to ICRC members at the end of the project.
Conflicts of Interest that Prohibit Certain Applicants
The ICRC seeks to create a redistricting process that is independent from legislative influence. Therefore, like many states with citizen commissions, we prohibited individuals with conflicts of interest from applying for membership. This included individuals who:
- Were elected to, appointed to or a candidate for a federal, state, or local office within the past 6 years;
- Served as an officer for a state or local political party within the past 6 years? (A Precinct Committee Person would not disqualify the individual.);
- Worked as a registered lobbyist at the local, state, or federal level within the past 6 years;
- Worked as a staff person for an elected official at the local, state, or federal level within the past 6 years;
- Worked for a federal or state agency within the past 6 years? (Employees of the courts, institutions of higher learning, and the armed forces ARE eligible to serve on the commission.);
- Worked as a consultant or staff to a political campaign within the past 6 years;
- Contributed more than $2500 to political candidates or PACs in the previous calendar year or resides in the same household as someone who did; or
- Is an immediate family member (spouse, child or stepchild, parent, niece, nephew, grandchild) of a person described in one of the categories above.