Indiana earned below average grade nationally for transparent and inclusive process
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Today, Common Cause, the leading anti-gerrymandering group, published a report grading the redistricting process in all 50 states from the view of the community. The comprehensive report evaluates public access, outreach, and education in each state based on an analysis of more than 120 detailed surveys and more than 60 interviews.
Indiana earned a D. The report found Indiana’s hyperpartisanship as the reason behind maps that aren’t reflective of the state’s demographics. Despite having an Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) formed by the All IN for Democracy coalition, the hyperpartisan state legislature passed their own biased maps, with blatant disregard for the people’s calls for a more independent process. Legislators also held hearings during the work day and didn’t make them accessible or participatory for those attending virtually. Despite these issues, activists did have small wins as a result of some public pressure from the ICRC’s campaigns.
“After a close look at all 50 states, this report shows more community voices produce better maps,” said Dan Vicuña, Common Cause national redistricting director. “When everyone can meaningfully participate and have their input reflected in the final maps, that’s how we achieve fair elections voters can trust. We found voting districts that prioritize community interests are the gateway to elections that lead to strong schools, a fair economy, and affordable healthcare.”
Common Cause graded each state for its state level redistricting. Some states received a second grade for their local redistricting process in cases where advocates provided data. Each interview and survey asked participants about the accessibility of the process, the role of community groups, the organizing landscape, and the use of communities of interest criteria.
“Redistricting works best when people have influence over their voting districts,” said Julia Vaughn, executive director of Common Cause Indiana. “However, too many leaders in Indiana have prioritized their own interests over the will of the people, which is reflected in our grade. Moving forward, it is critical that we not only make it easier for Hoosiers to make their voices heard in redistricting but also pass redistricting standards that make it more difficult for lawmakers to draw maps driven by political concerns instead of the public interest.
Common Cause found the most powerful reform is independent, citizen-led commissions where voters—rather than elected officials—administer the process and hold the power of the pen to draw maps. Independent commissioners were found to be more interested in fair representation and community input— rather than electability or party control.
The report was authored by Common Cause, Fair Count, State Voices, and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
The report was published in collaboration with the Coalition Hub for Advancing Redistricting and Grassroots Engagement (CHARGE), which includes Common Cause, Fair Count, League of Women Voters, Mia Familia Vota, NAACP, NCAI, State Voices, APIAVote, and the Center for Popular Democracy.
To view the report online, click here