Citizens Redistricting Commission Releases Draft Map; Urges Rules Committee to Provide Additional Opportunities for Public Comment Before Voting on New Districts

Today, Common Cause Indiana released a draft map of new Indianapolis Marion County City County Council districts drawn by its multi-partisan Indianapolis Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) and urged the Council to provide additional opportunity for public comment before finalizing the new map.  The ICRC consists of nine Indianapolis voters:  three Republicans, three Democrats and three individuals who are neither Republican nor Democrat.  Last week, the ICRC spent Tuesday and Wednesday evening online with a mapping expert working to develop a draft map.  It was sent to members of the City Council’s Rules and Public Policy Committee today with the request that it be considered along with the redistricting proposal developed by an outside law firm at the behest of the Council majority.

The ICRC’s map-drawing goals were to protect communities of interest throughout Marion County by keeping them contained in one Council district whenever possible.  To identify communities of interest, the ICRC relied on the YourVoice 2022 report published by the consulting firm hired by the Council, as well as two virtual meetings sponsored by Common Cause Indiana.  As a secondary goal, the ICRC’s draft map seeks to create districts that are politically competitive, so election data was considered as the maps were being developed.  The maps were drawn using Districtr open source mapping software.  A copy of the draft map and complete information about its vital statistics can be viewed here.

The Council’s proposed map can be viewed here.

Common Cause Indiana Executive Director Julia Vaughn said, “There is no perfect district map – by its very nature redistricting involves a system of trade-offs and difficult decisions involving competing priorities.  But the best possible maps are drawn by those without conflicts of interest, with plenty of public input and an emphasis on the needs of communities, not incumbent politicians.”

Vaughn concluded, “A constant request heard at all the redistricting meetings was the need for additional meetings out in the townships once draft maps are released.  I urge the Council to take this step and to consider the input of independent groups like the Indianapolis Citizens Redistricting Commission.   Voters in Marion County don’t need Democrat maps, we don’t need Republican maps – we need maps that focus on ensuring that everyone in our increasingly diverse community has an equal say in our elections.”

One of the ICRC’s guiding criteria was that the map be drawn without regard for the home addresses of current Council members.  In following this guideline, the draft map creates six districts that have no current Councilor; they would be open seats (2, 13, 14, 17, 20, 25).  Additionally, four districts would include two or more incumbents:  District 4 – Evans/Graves, D8 – Gray/Barth, D19 – Larrison/ Ray/ Hart, D21 –  Mascari/Dilk.

The draft map creates ten majority/minority districts as well as seven “swing districts” where past election results predict that either major party candidate has a chance to win.

Members of the ICRC will attend the Rules and Public Policy Committee meeting on April 12 to gain a better understanding of the Council’s redistricting proposal and to listen to public testimony.  The ICRC may make changes to its map in response to community concerns, and members will encourage the City County Council to take a similar careful approach to the redistricting plan it is proposing.

To view the map created by ICRC, click here.

To view the Council’s proposed map, click here.

To view the numbered districts refresh the map several times, then go to the Data Layer tab and select “Show numbering for painted districts.”