All IN for Democracy, the coalition working for fair redistricting in Indiana, announced today it has opened a search for nine Hoosier voters to lead the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC). The ICRC will shadow the legislative redistricting process and demonstrate how redistricting would be conducted had the Indiana General Assembly passed redistricting reform legislation supported by the coalition.
The shadow redistricting commission will be composed of a diverse and representative group of Hoosiers and will be chosen by the members of the All IN for Democracy coalition. People who are interested in applying to become a member should go to www.allinfordemocracy.org for information on eligibility and to access the application form.
Certain individuals with conflicts of interest are not eligible to serve on the ICRC. Elected officials, lobbyists, people who work for elected officials and large campaign contributors would all be ineligible under the Commission rules, which are based on the redistricting reform legislation introduced by a bipartisan team of Indiana legislators in 2020.
Julia Vaughn, Common Cause Indiana Policy Director said, “One of the most frequent excuses we heard from legislators who rejected our efforts to reform redistricting is that it would be impossible to find an objective and qualified group of people to conduct the redistricting process. The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission is going to prove those naysayers wrong. We will assemble a team of Hoosiers who represent all voters in our state: Republicans, Democrats, and people who are neither Republican nor Democrat. Their goal will be to conduct an open and transparent redistricting process that results in maps drawn for the public interest, not partisan political interests. The ICRC will stand in sharp contrast to the legislative redistricting process and show legislators how redistricting should be done.”
Linda Hanson, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Indiana said, “It is critically important that we have a group independent of the legislature leading the map-drawing process in 2021. That is the only way to have a redistricting process that will focus on drawing maps to fulfill voter-first objectives like districts that promote competition and protect communities of interest. I know many grassroots leaders, like our local League activists, who would be perfect candidates for seats on the Commission. We are looking forward to having a lot of good community leaders from which to choose because this project is the perfect way for an average citizen to really make a difference on redistricting.”
Barbara Bolling Williams, President of the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP was a member of a similar shadow commission during the 2011 round of redistricting. Bolling Williams said, “I was proud to represent the NAACP on the 2011 shadow redistricting commission and even prouder that my organization is still involved in the fight for fair maps. Ten years ago, the public was largely in the dark about how damaging gerrymandering can be to democracy, but today is different. A decade of elections using Congressional and state districts that were drawn to benefit the majority party has stifled competition and silenced the voices of too many Hoosiers. The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission provides a way for average citizens to have a real say in redistricting and that is vital for the future of democracy in Indiana.”
Bryce Gustafson, Program Organizer for the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana said, “I have experienced firsthand the public’s growing recognition of gerrymandering as a problem in our state and their strong support for an independent commission to supervise the map-drawing process. Hoosiers increasingly understand that redistricting isn’t benign but that it has a real impact; on who represents us, on how well we can make our political voices heard, and on issues that affect our daily lives. Redistricting really matters and a growing number of Hoosiers understand that fact. CAC is looking forward to encouraging our members to take part in the ICRC process. “
Phil Goodchild, a volunteer lobbyist for the Indiana Friends Committee on Legislation said, “We are convinced by our faith and experience that there is that of God in every person. And we believe in a democracy where each of us has dignity and value, where each voice deserves to be heard, and where each vote deserves to count equally. With a more transparent redistricting process in which all citizens can participate, we can be more confident our elections will yield representatives who truly represent each of us and our varied views, needs and dreams. At this point in our state’s history the ICRC is desperately needed to inject critically needed values like objectivity and a sense of fairness into the redistricting process.”