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Redistricting Reform: Will Indiana Try Ohio's Approach?
Updated November 16, 2015 4:12 AM | Filed under: Politics
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - Momentum is building in Indiana to prevent political bias in the way legislative districts are drawn.

A study commission is looking at the issue of redistricting in the state, and some groups are hoping its members take a page from Ohio, which recently approved a bipartisan commission in an effort to draw lines more fairly.

Some groups are hopeful Indiana will follow the lead of its neighbor and take steps to prevent gerrymandering. Ohio voters this month approved changes to the way its legislative districts are drawn and a study committee in Indiana is examining what can be done here.

Debbie Asberry with the League of Women Voters explains districts in Indiana are currently established in a way that can favor one political party over another.

"The party in power usually draws the line to support their incumbent," she added. "To minimize competition or to eliminate competition. The basic underlying issue is that it is a structural impediment to our democratic process."

The study commission is considering whether to create an independent commission to draw the lines, removing the process from the hands of any one political group. Similar commissions are set up in Arizona, California and soon in Ohio.

In Indiana's midterm election, there were 44 uncontested races in the House and 25 in the Senate. Asberry says good candidates are not stepping up to run for office and voters are not turning out because they feel the cars are stacked against them.

"The proof is in the pudding," Asberry added. "And when we have that many noncompetitive elections and we have voters apathy, low voter turnout - we know that there's something going on."

Asberry believes momentum is building for redistricting reform, with a packed house at the study committee's first meeting. The League of Women Voters and Common Cause are among the groups informing voters and building support for redistricting the local level.



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