Thanks to Mary Blackburn for attending and reporting on the Gerrymander Meander Votercade yesterday, July 17, 2021. The event was organized by All IN for Democracy, an alliance of over 20 civic, social and religious groups including Common Cause Indiana, League of Women Voters, Citizens Action Coalition, IFCL and others, working for redistricting reform in Indiana.
Julia Vaughn of Common Cause Indiana reported that all the calls that this alliance made to Speaker Huston and Senator Bray knocked the Republican leadership on its heels. Additional reporting about the event is at:
Mary Blackburn, July 17, 2021
IFCL supported All IN for Democracy as the group celebrated the anniversary of the birthday of Elbridge Gerry, an early leader in the founding of the United States. Unfortunately, Gerry was also the founder of the practice of gerrymandering, where districts are drawn to benefit one political party over another.
This practice in Indiana has resulted in a dramatic change from competitive districts to a Republican supermajority since 2011. Because of this supermajority, legislators cannot be held accountable nor do they need to represent the interests of all their constituents.
A motorcade of about 100 participants drove from North United Methodist Church, past the Governor’s mansion to St Luke’s UMC. As the group drove slowly past Governor Holcomb’s home, a petition was delivered requesting fair maps, and an open, transparent redistricting process.
At St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Fady Qaddoura, Democrat from District 30, who serves on the Senate Election and Apportionment Committee, described the mapping schedule. Redistricting hearings will take place over three days, four hearings each day on August 6 & 7 and a final hearing in Indianapolis on August 11 or 12, prior to any new maps presented to the public for observation and comments.
Senator Qaddoura addressed the feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness that many have felt during the past several legislative sessions. As an immigrant and a naturalized citizen, he said he understands the perils that are before our country. As a student of history, with a PhD in Philanthropic Studies he knows the country has been seriously challenged in the past. Having fair and competitive districts are essential to a democracy and he reminded us that his campaign was able to flip a Republican district despite large donations coming from the GOP to defeat him. He gave the gathered group his recommendations for the effort to fight for a better redistricting process.
- Maintain an attitude of optimism. We have to give our younger generation hope for a brighter future. Remember that Indiana voted for President Obama so the possibility of having a purple or blue state is very possible.
- Public relations can’t be overstated. It is essential to talk to others in our communities, with our friends, with our religious community. Utilize social media. Write letters to the editor.
- Support organizations like Common Cause and All IN for Democracy. It takes money to pay staff and legal teams to challenge bad legislation or legal decisions. The Supreme Court has left the door open for challenges if maps are drawn that are affecting communities of color, so donations help these efforts.
- Pace yourself. Be prepared for this work continue over the long term.
Action Alert: Call your state legislators and the two leaders below with this message:
“I want fair maps and an open, transparent redistricting process at the legislature.”
- Senator Jon Ford, Chair of the Senate Election and Apportionment committee.
- 317-232-9517 or Senator.Ford@iga.gov
- Rep. Timothy Wesco, Chair of the House Elections Committee
- 317-232-9753 or firstname.lastname@example.org
August 6: Four district hearings
August 7: Four district hearings
August 11 or 12: Indianapolis District hearings
Mid September, the IGA will return to session. Expect that maps will be quickly drawn and moved to be approved.
Stay tuned for updates as we receive them.