Voting Rights Advocates, Concerned Citizens Come to Settlement With Gary Common Council in Redistricting Suit

GARY, IN — Late last week, Gary, Ind. resident Barbara Bolling-Williams — a long-time voting rights advocate — came to a settlement with Gary, Indiana’s Common Council in the lawsuit over the Council’s failure to redistrict. The court ruled that the old maps the Common Council planned to use were malapportioned and, as such, found the current redistricting plan unconstitutional.

In late January, Bolling-Williams — represented by William Groth of the Vlink Law Firm and Tracy Coleman of Coleman Law Group — filed the suit against the Common Council after they failed to draw new maps before the Dec. 31, 2022 redistricting deadline. Though the Council originally proposed to redraw precinct maps in three districts following the most recent Census, it abandoned those efforts before the ultimate deadline.

As a result of the ruling, the Common Council worked with citizen mapmakers to create maps to remedy the malapportionment. On Feb. 10, 2023, the Gary Common Council adopted a map for purposes of the settlement agreement, which will be used in the upcoming 2023 primary and general elections for the Council.

“Today is a proud day to be a citizen of Gary, Indiana,” said BollingWilliams. “With these news maps, all citizens will have an equal voice and fair, equitable, and representative elections will be ensured.”

“The court’s decision will result in local maps that are truly representative of the communities they serve,” said Julia Vaughn, executive director of Common Cause Indiana. “We are thankful for everyone involved for finally prioritizing people over politics.”