Indiana Daily Student

Community members express frustration over proposed state redistricting maps

<p>Tilly Robinson, Bloomington South High School senior, asks a question to the members of the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus&#x27;s panel Sept. 27, 2021, in the Monroe County Public Library auditorium. The caucus had three public input sessions across the state to discuss the proposed maps.</p>

Tilly Robinson, Bloomington South High School senior, asks a question to the members of the Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus's panel Sept. 27, 2021, in the Monroe County Public Library auditorium. The caucus had three public input sessions across the state to discuss the proposed maps.

About 25 community members attended a public input session to express frustration with Indiana Republicans’ recent redistricting efforts and the need for a fair redistricting at 7 p.m. Monday at the Monroe County Public Library.

The panel said it is of utmost importance to engage young people, as they are not only the future, but they can make change in the present.

Indiana State Senator J.D. Ford speaks about proposed redistricting maps Sept. 27, 2021, in the Monroe County Public Library auditorium. The Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus hosted three public input sessions across the state to discuss the proposed maps. Ethan Moore

Indiana Republicans announced proposed U.S. House of Representatives and Indiana State House of Representatives districts for the next decade Sept. 14. The House Elections and Apportionment Committee in the Indiana House of Representatives adopted the redistricting maps Monday.

The Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus held the final input session on Monday. Indiana Democratic State Sen. Shelli Yoder and Democratic State Sen. J.D. Ford led the session. They spoke about the need for fairer maps with districts that better divide the Indiana population.

Ford said state Republicans proposed the maps to try and consolidate their majority in the state legislature by gerrymandering. Yoder and Ford said they are both fighting for the public to have a say in the maps, arguing the redistricting process was private and unfair.

“The point that we want to try to make is that legislators should not be involved in this process,” Ford said.

RELATED: [Indiana Democratic Rep. Matt Pierce criticizes Republican-drawn congressional maps]

Former Bloomington Mayor Tomilea Allison speaks to the crowd about the redistricting process Sept. 27, 2021, in the Monroe County Public Library auditorium. The Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus hosted three public input sessions across the state to discuss the proposed maps.

While state Republicans claimed the process was bipartisan, Ford said the state Democrats had little involvement and discussion.

Yoder said communities are frustrated with how little time there was to comment on the maps, as the public had only one week to engage with the proposed redistricting. Hoosiers were demanding better, she said.

“Then the election committee went from community to community within the state of Indiana — the rooms were packed,” Yoder said. “Standing room only. And again and again and again, Hoosiers were demanding fairly drawn districts, competitive districts, compact districts.”

IU freshman Eivin Sandstrom was among a small group of IU students to attend the session. He commented on what young people can do to help solve the issue of gerrymandering.

“We’ve identified that internally this problem is going to be next to impossible to solve because Republicans are not going to vote to diminish their own power,” Sandstrom said at the session.

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