INDIANAPOLIS —On Tuesday, Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) was joined by State Senator Tim Lanane (D-Anderson), State Senator J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) and other members of the Senate Democratic Caucus to discuss their plans to reform the state’s redistricting process. With Census data being collected this year, 2021 marks the final opportunity to pass redistricting legislation before voting maps are redrawn for the next decade.
“My caucus has been fighting to get redistricting reform on the books for over a decade now,” Sen. Taylor said. “While we have been persistent in our efforts to put an end to partisan gerrymandering, we have been road blocked each year by the Republican supermajority. As a result, we are now heading into the critical year of 2021 when voting maps will be redrawn, and we do not have an independent commission or any necessary procedures in place.
“Fortunately, there are still things we can do to make sure our redistricting process is fair and unbiased. Last year, I introduced a proposal to put guidelines in place on how districts can be drawn. My bill would ensure that partisan influence is cut out of the redistricting process, and I plan to reintroduce that bill again in 2021.”
Sen. Taylor’s legislation would do several things, including:
- Require districts to be as compact as possible
- Discourage the division of cities and counties between districts
- Discourage the separation of school corporation boundaries and communities into separate districts
- Prohibit the drawing of district lines to favor a particular party or person
- Require that new voting maps do not violate the Voting Rights Act
- Put procedures in place to provide public with redistricting data and computer software to draw maps, and creates a process for the public to submit their maps
“After a year of record voter turnout, I’m hopeful that the Republican supermajority will be inclined to meet the desires of Hoosiers and promote fairness and trust in our elections,” Sen. Taylor said. “The standards that I am proposing are common-sense guidelines that would remove much of the hyper-partisan influence from the process of drawing our voting maps.
“I truly believe that all legislators should want to ensure that Hoosiers have more faith in the integrity of our elections. Therefore, I ask both chambers to give my bill a hearing immediately and approve it within the first two weeks of the legislative session.”