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Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita Calls for Reform of the Redistricting Process Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita Calls for Reform of the Redistricting Process

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2009

Secretary Rokita introduces criteria-driven method for redistricting that puts people before politics; Governor Daniels joins the effort and expresses support

(Indianapolis) – Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita wants people, not politics, to come first when the state’s legislative district lines are redrawn after the 2010 census. He also announced a statewide public awareness effort to engage voters and taxpayers in a discussion about how criteria-driven redistricting could better serve them.

“Competition in government is a good thing, and the way our district boundaries are drawn today we don’t have enough of it because most of the districts are considered ‘safe’ for one party or another,” said Secretary Rokita. “The current process lets the political parties choose their voters, and not the other way around as it should be.”

Secretary Rokita believes that the responsibility for redrawing legislative boundaries should remain with the General Assembly, but says redistricting would result in more competition, more accountability and access to government if lawmakers used a process that required the following:

  • Use of no political data – such as voting history or even incumbent addresses
  • Keeping communities of interest together by using existing boundaries like townships and counties – splitting these communities only when absolutely necessary to maintain population balance
  • Eliminating sprawling, meandering districts

“Todd Rokita and I have been talking about this initiative for a long time, and I am completely supportive of his actions to encourage citizen input into the process,” said Governor Mitch Daniels.  “Let me be clear, it is the rightful prerogative of the legislature to draw political boundaries, but their duty is to draw those lines in the public, not political interest.  Districts should make geographic, social, and economic sense, period, and Todd’s model maps serve as examples.  I look forward to signing a bill supported by leaders in both the Indiana House and Senate based on these principles that will create far more fair and responsible districts than today’s.”

Secretary Rokita also announced the launch of the web site http://www.rethinkingredistricting.com/ and encouraged Hoosiers to go online to find news about this issue, sign up for email alerts, submit their own ideas on how redistricting should be accomplished in 2011, and contact their legislators.

“Redistricting will work better for Indiana voters and taxpayers if lawmakers are expected to follow a set of criteria that keeps communities together instead of dividing them for political purposes,” said Secretary Rokita. “It would make things much easier for lawmakers and the voters in their districts if the district boundaries made more sense in relation to their everyday lives."

For more specific information, please contact Jim Gavin at 317.233.8655 or jgavin@sos.in.gov.

Audio files: Rokita1, Rokita2, Rokita3, Rokita4

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