Indianapolis, Ind. — Yesterday, Common Cause Indiana, the Indiana State Conference NAACP, and the Indianapolis NAACP welcomed more than 80 Indiana citizens to a virtual panel featuring voting rights experts. The strong attendance from a diverse group of community members highlights the strong grassroots support for an independent and bipartisan redistricting process in Indiana so that voters can freely choose their elected representatives, not the other way around.
The panel featured voting rights experts Ami Gandhi, Senior Counsel at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Bill Groth, an Indiana voting rights attorney, and Rod Bohannan an Indianapolis attorney and NAACP Indianapolis leader.
“A state’s redistricting process is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to ensure every voter can be heard by their government,” said Gandhi. “In state after state we’ve seen how when legislators are in charge of redistricting, they often ignore input from people of color that’s critical to guard against unlawful dilution of voting rights.”
Redistricting, the redrawing of Congressional and legislative districts, occurs every ten years following the decennial Census. Legally, each state is charged with ensuring the new districts comply with the Voting Rights Act. To date, the Indiana General Assembly, the entity responsible for redistricting, has yet to publicly announce the process, timeline, or opportunity for public input.
“The voters of Indiana deserve to have a voice in our democracy, but racial gerrymandering shuts out many people of color from participating in our government,” said Julia Vaughn, Executive Director of Common Cause Indiana. “Voting experts and Indiana voters agree that an independent redistricting process free of discrimination of any kind is the key to a truly participatory democracy.”
The panel video recording is available here.