For months, Todd Rokita has advocated stripping the Indiana General Assembly of its redistricting power and giving that responsibility instead to a bipartisan commission, which he hopes will redraw maps which look less like ink blot tests and more like geometric figures. In fact, during a presentation Thursday to Rotary Club members in Bloomington, Rokita played a video produced by his office in which Hoosiers are asked to look at an outline of some of Indiana’s congressional districts and tell the camera what they were seeing. On it, guesses range from a crocodile’s head to a dog with a wounded leg before a staffer tells participants what they’re actually seeing.
Rokita said Indiana’s 4th District, for which he is now running, is one of those in serious need of change.
“The [4th District] is one of the most gerrymandered districts in the nation and it needs to change,” Rokita said. “CD4 is probably 200 miles long. There’s absolutely no reason for that — no logical reason, no legal reason. So it should be more compact, just like all our districts. And I would call for the same reforms for the CD4 district that I would call for every other legislative district.”
Some of Rokita’s plans have been written into two bills which have passed out of the G-O-P-controlled state Senate. Those pieces of legislation would make district boundaries less complicated, but would not strip the legislature of the power to draw those boundaries. Rokita wasted little time getting in a barb aimed at the Democratically-controlled House in whose hands the measures now rest.
“The hill that we have to climb now is getting the House of Representatives to hear the work that was passed by the Senate and then hopefully we can add on to that bill there,” he said.
Redistricting takes place once every ten years, following results of each nationwide census.