Common Cause Indiana, Concerned Clergy and the NAACP Indianapolis Branch Call for More Public Outreach Before Council Vote on Redistricting; Denounce Rushed Process that Denies Communities a Fair Opportunity to Be Heard
- Julia Vaughn 317-432-3264 JVaughn@commoncause.org
Today, three organizations who have long worked to protect voting rights in Indianapolis called on the Indianapolis Marion County City County Council to delay a vote on new district maps until additional meetings are held in each township. The public has had only one opportunity to provide their input on the new redistricting ordinance, Proposal 157, sponsored by Councilors Osili, Adamson and Lewis. The groups called for nine additional meetings to be held, one in each township, before a vote is taken.
“The redistricting process in Indianapolis started off with great promise,” said Julia Vaughn, Executive Director of Common Cause Indiana. “We appreciated the Council’s effort to engage the public with ten meetings before new districts were drawn; it appeared they really wanted public input. Unfortunately, those open ears appear to now be closed. One of the most frequent requests heard at those pre-map sessions was for additional meetings to be held once a proposal was released, so it is disappointing that the Council leadership is ignoring this reasonable request and rushing the new map through the process.”
Dr. David Greene, President of the Concerned Clergy, said, “The new districts don’t have to be passed into law until November, so we are dismayed that the Council leadership won’t take more time to engage the public in what will become the building blocks for elections in Marion County for the next decade. And, their refusal to consider adjusting the redistricting proposal to address concerns raised by communities who will be divided by the new map is unacceptable. Even the Indiana General Assembly, which certainly didn’t set a good example for responsible redistricting, was willing to change their maps in certain circumstances to address community concerns. Concerned Clergy is saddened that our local elected officials did not give the same consideration to Marion County voters.”
“Redistricting is too important to be rushed,” stated Shawn Rounds, Redistricting Fellow of the Indianapolis Branch of the NAACP. “We call on the members of the Indianapolis Marion County City County Council to slow down and make a real effort to hear from the public before they vote on Proposal 157. More meetings must be held across our city to ensure that every community can make their voice heard before action is taken that will impact all voters for ten years. It’s the least they can do.”