Anderson Herald-Bulletin’s Ken de la Bastide: Redistricting meetings have a hollow ring
ICYMI: With Republicans’ hiring of national consultant, Indiana’s 2021 redistricting is looking a lot like 2011
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization that advocates for the future of Indiana and its families, today celebrated Hoosier voters for rightfully calling out the Indiana Republican Party for their attempt to hold a so-called “redistricting tour” last weekend, a ploy which turned out to be nothing but a “hollow” public relations stunt. Despite Governor Eric Holcomb’s claim to make it a “fair” process last week, the Republicans’ gerrymandering tour was just a box to check, because receipts show the INGOP have no intention to make the upcoming redistricting process fair. This includes a new report revealing Indiana Republicans hired a Washington, D.C. GOP consultant to help draw the new legislative and Congressional maps.
The Indiana Republican Party wants to rig the system against Hoosier voters for another ten years, and the emotionless, wooden actions from Republicans like State Representative Timothy Wesco proved it. Not only did Republicans refuse to answer any questions addressed to them but many hearing participants – such as State Representative Ed Soliday – were checked out the entire process itself. Indiana Republicans are happy the current maps are 95% more biased than the rest of the nation, and it’s why they crammed their “gerrymandering tour” during a time when most Hoosiers were checked out of the process altogether — over a summer weekend as many families are sending kids back to school.
Indiana Democrats knew the Indiana Republican Party was trying to pull a fast one on Hoosier voters, and it’s why they helped activate visibility events outside every one of the Republicans’ tour stops. Further, Democrats joined the effort to pack each room and ensure the INGOP’s phony plans were thwarted and were called out as they were: nothing but PR stunts.
The reviews are in and the Indiana Republican Party conducted a disastrous “gerrymandering tour”. As always, the press coverage speaks for itself:
Anderson Herald-Bulletin Column: Redistricting meetings have a hollow ring
“Although on the surface it sounds encouraging that the voting public will have some say in the congressional and legislative maps for the next decade, the consensus among many is that the meetings are window dressing.
Democrats and Republicans alike are under the assumption that GOP lawmakers have already determined the new district boundaries, with a few minor tweaks to come once the census figures are released Sept. 30.” […]
“Whatever maps are brought to the forefront for discussions will be designed with the intent of maintaining the GOP majorities in both legislative chambers.”
Indiana Citizen: “If there was much trust in the room that the Indiana General Assembly’s Republican supermajority would resist a temptation to redraw congressional and state legislative maps to guarantee dominance for another decade, it didn’t show Friday.”
The Columbus Republic: Democrats speak out at redistricting forum
“State Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, is the sole Democrat among five House members who all represent different parts of Monroe County and parts of surrounding counties.
Since the committee came to Columbus without census data and proposed maps, Pierce said Friday’s hearing only created ‘the illusion of transparency.’” […]
“The Bloomington lawmaker also noted that Indiana House Republicans have recently hired Jason Torchinsky, senior advisor and general counsel to the National Republican Redistricting Trust, to help draw the legislative maps.”
Gary Post-Tribune/Chicago Tribune: Residents, Dems share their frustration with redistricting process: ‘Gerrymandering is an abomination to democracy’
“Attendees at the Valparaiso hearing shared their frustration with the fact that maps weren’t presented to the public ahead of time so that they could give input.” […]
“Before the hearing started, about 40 people gathered outside the building, a few holding signs as part of an Indiana Democratic Party visibility event, to call out the “tour” as a “hollow public relations stunt,” according to a news release.” […]
“Talevski said people can look at the previous maps and see the gerrymandering taking place. Then, she called out Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, and asked him to listen to her.
‘You are my representative,’ Talevski said. ‘One of the members here, who is my representative, apparently thinks it’s a great idea to ignore me.’
Joan Mikol, of Portage, who said she was hoping to see potential maps and suggested Indiana college students studying political science create the redistricting maps, also addressed Soliday directly for not paying attention.
‘Mr. Soliday, we have watched you look at your watch, play with your phone, and talk to people. That’s embarrassing to me as my representative,’ Mikol said.”
WPTA: Allen County residents voice concerns about redistricting process
Statehouse File: Citizens express their disappointment in Indiana’s redistricting plan
WFYI: Redistricting Hearings: Anderson Attendees Want Neighborhoods Kept Together And More Transparency
“Those attending a meeting in Anderson Friday decried political influence on the process and asked for more public input.”
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Harsh words greet panel on legislative redistricting
“At Saturday’s public meeting, one of nine being held statewide, 35 people shared questions and concerns. Some speakers described Indiana as a gerrymandered state where district lines are drawn with the goal of keeping incumbent legislators in office.” […]
“Derek Camp, chairman of the Allen County Democratic Party, made an offer to committee members.
“Anyone wanting to walk these district lines and see just how screwed up they are is welcome to join me,” he said.” […]
“Additional themes emerged during the comments, including a request for more transparency in the process and a call for additional public meetings in each congressional district after proposed district maps have been drawn. No proposals were available Saturday.“
NWI Times: Redistricting meeting attendees push for competitive races
WLFI: “Indiana lawmakers are preparing to re-draw the state’s legislative districts, but the process is being questioned by Democrats.” […]
Strong opinions were shared about Indiana’s redistricting process Friday morning.
‘There’s too much pretending,’ said another community member. ‘There’s too much lip service and not enough reality.’”
Goshen News: Public urges nonpartisanship, transparency in redistricting debate
“Of those who chose to speak, nearly all voiced concerns that the state’s current redistricting process is moving too quickly, without enough transparency, and urged Wesco and the other representatives in attendance to consider waiting to make any final decisions on the redistricting maps until all of the data has been provided to the public and they’ve been given time to provide feedback on any proposed changes.” […]
“…most of those in attendance Saturday felt the public hearings being held to discuss redistricting are just window dressing, and will have little impact on how the redistricting process actually plays out.“
WANE (Fort Wayne): Outside of the building, the Indiana Democratic Party showing a similar concern that the Indiana Republican’s supermajority in the statehouse will open up the door for gerrymandering, which is when district maps are drawn in favor of one party over the other.