You have to draw the line somewhere: Informational meeting on redistricting set Sept. 13

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Having team players act as referees in a sporting event doesn’t make sense, but what about our current system in which some people say politicians can choose their voters rather than the other way around?

A public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13 at Greencastle City Hall to help residents learn how to be an effective advocate for changing this in Indiana. This practice, also known as gerrymandering, can also result in low voter turnout. Who can blame the person for not voting in an uncontested election?

Poorly chosen district boundaries can create gridlock and foster political extremism and an environment where politicians respond to contributors instead of the voters they represent. It’s been called an “incumbency protection racket” and Indiana is one of the states most affected by non-competitive districts.

The program, hosted by the Greencastle League of Women Voters, will include experts from the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting. Debbie Asberry, past first vice president of the League of Women Voters Indiana (LWVIN) and currently LWVIN redistricting advocate, and Common Cause Indiana policy director Julia Vaughn will lead the evening’s discussion, and opportunity to ask questions and get information on how to advocate will follow.

Once each decade, state legislators vote on how legislative district lines will be drawn. For Indiana to change to an independent redistricting commission, action has to be taken by the Indiana General Assembly in 2018.

Despite bipartisan support after a two-year legislative study commission, redistricting reform failed in 2017. Many legislators support redistricting reform, but more support is needed.

The Greencastle League of Women Voters and others believe it will take a groundswell of concerned citizens to convince more legislators to risk the comfort of non-competitive districts for the sake of making democracy work. Wednesday’s program is a chance to learn more.

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