Elections and Apportionment Committee Present Unprecedented Legislative Maps
STATEHOUSE - Today Rep. Eric Koch (R-Bedford), Chairman of the Elections and Apportionment Committee and Co-Chair of the committee, Rep. Kathy Richardson (R-Noblesville) presented the boundaries of state House Legislative and Congressional Districts for the coming decade.
Every ten years, upon completion of a new federal decennial census, the General Assembly redraws district boundaries. This year, the House and Senate conducted nine meetings across the state of Indiana to hear from citizens about how to make the new districts more understandable for voters as well as foster a greater degree of connection between Hoosiers and their elected Representatives.
"The maps create districts which, better than ever before, will promote good government and effective representation, that will foster connection and accountability between citizens and their elected representatives," said Rep. Koch.
In determining the boundaries of the maps Rep. Koch and Rep. Richardson followed the constitutional goal of relative population equality between districts. The House district map contains districts that are better balanced in terms of population than the districts contained in the 2001 map. The committee also complied with the federal Voting Rights Act to avoid diluting minority voting strength. In addition they sought to create districts which respect the integrity of recognized communities and foster a sense of connection between citizens and their representatives.
"I am very pleased with the maps. By every relevant statistical measure we succeeded. In respect to the new House districts we have made great improvements. These districts are more compact, more nearly equal in population and met our goal of drawing common sense districts. These maps make a great deal of sense in terms of good and effective representation than the House maps adopted ten years ago," said House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis).
During the unveiling of the maps, Rep. Koch also pointed out something that cannot be seen by simply looking at the district shapes which is how many municipal boundaries are crossed by House District boundaries.
"As we traveled around the state listening to Hoosier tell us what they believe makes a good district, we heard time and again how important it is to voters that we not use House District boundaries to split communities unless necessary. We listened," said Rep. Richardson.
The proposed House District Maps also consist of the following:
· Contains 8 districts in which no incumbent legislator resides
· 3 districts in which 2 Republican incumbents reside.
· 3 districts in which 2 Democrat incumbents reside.
· 4 districts in which a sitting Republican and a sitting Democrat legislator reside.
The committee hoped to draft these maps in late March or early April, however the time frame of the redistricting process was compressed due to the five-week walkout that House Democrats participated in.
"Despite that obstacle, we have sought and received unprecedented public input and have been able to draft a redistricting map that drastically improves upon the current legislative maps," said Rep. Koch