June 2017 update
Redistricting reform gains momentum but still faces significant challenges
June was a busy month for redistricting reform advocates. Learn about important events and updates on redistricting reform. Also, find out what action you can take in July to support redistricting reform.
Supreme Court to hear Gill v. Whitford
The big redistricting news is that, on June 19, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Gill v. Whitford, the Wisconsin case on partisan gerrymandering.
According to SCOUTS Blog, the court is looking at whether it has jurisdiction to rule on the case. Until that time, the court granted a stay on a lower court ruling that Wisconsin needs to redraw its map. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in November or December 2017.
The Atlantic explains the history of partisan gerrymandering cases in the U.S. and what’s riding on the upcoming SCOTUS decision.
Julia Vaughn speaks at Redistricting 101 event
Closer to home, on June 22, the W4C Restructuring + Activism task force organized Redistricting 101, and Greater Indianapolis NAACP (Branch 3053) hosted the event at the Julia M. Carson Government Center.
At this event, Julia Vaughn, Policy Director for Common Cause Indiana, reviewed the details of the advocacy campaign to achieve redistricting reform and responded to attendees’ questions and concerns. Vaughn was optimistic about the SCOTUS announcement and, on the local level, continues to encourage people to lobby for Indiana to pass its own redistricting reform law. The 2018 legislative session will be the best chance for passing reform in Indiana.
Vaughn has been encouraging people to lobby their city councils to pass resolutions in support of an independent redistricting commission for Indiana. These resolutions can put pressure on the Indiana legislature to pass a reform bill. She said we can also write our legislators and host house parties.
Residents lobby city councils in support of redistricting reform
On June 19, Carmel City Council unanimously passed its resolution in support of reforming the state redistricting process. The following cities have also passed a resolution: Anderson, Bloomington, Carmel, Crawfordsville, Greencastle, Kokomo, Lafayette, Michigan City, Muncie, South Bend, West Lafayette, Valparaiso, and Vincennes.
Residents of Westfield, Noblesville, Fishers, and Marion County are encouraged to lobby their councilors to pass a similar resolution.
Action Items for July
Write your Indiana legislators in support of redistricting reform. You can find your state senator and representative online.
Residents of Westfield, Noblesville, Fishers, and Marion County can contact your city councilperson about supporting a resolution in support redistricting reform. You can find model language for a council resolution on The League of Women Voters redistricting page.
Read Mickey Maurer’s June 17 editorial in IBJ, which calls gerrymandering bad for democracy and bad for business.
Host a redistricting house party to spread the word and inform your friends and neighbors. To help you organize a house party, The League of Women Voters Indiana has created guidelines for redistricting house parties.
Attend the celebration of Elbridge Gerry's birthday on Monday, July 17, from 12-1 p.m. on the south steps of the Indiana State House. Gerrymandering is named for Elbridge Gerry, who signed the partisan redistricting legislation as governor of Massachusetts.