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Hurdles In Enacting Redistricting Reform

Noon Edition Redistricting

Photo: James Vavrek

This week's panel consisted of former Bloomington Mayor Tomi Allison, President of The League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County, and Professor of Political Science at Indiana University Marjorie Hershey.

State lawmakers introduced four bills this session addressing redistricting by creating a non-partisan redistricting commission, but none of them passed despite bipartisan support, such Republican Sen. Mike Delph and Sen. John Ruckelshaus’ SB 136.

On this week’s Noon Edition, we discussed why advocates say redistricting reform is important, the challenges lawmakers and voters face in reform and how reforms would impact Indiana elections.

One issue that we repeatedly brought up repeatedly was the rise in incumbency. Former Mayor of  Bloomington Tomi Allison said

“They don’t have to face the general election which is more moderate votes. Both parties vote in the primaries. But in the general election where the more middle of the road voters, it’s over in the primaries when you have the uncontested, the safe seats.”

President of The League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County Kate Cruikshank also stressed that reforming the current redistricting process is not partisan to one party nationally but rather to the party in power.

“It’s not just a party issues, it’s a question of whether we can be fairly represented by people who can learn about our interests and represent us. I am assuming they are trying and I’m assuming they want to do a good job so this is working against them”, she said.

Professor of Political Science Marjorie Hershey offered the best solution for voters to ensure the are fairly represented.

“If people don’t say this is terribly complicated, learn something for themselves and then talk about it with their friends and neighbors… that’s when democracy happens, with a small d. When people begin to learn and when the begin to hold their representatives to account”, she said

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