If you feel powerless in Indiana's political landscape, blame Chris Jankowski. He's the strategist behind the REDistricting MAjority Project, or REDMAP, the Republican State Leadership Committee's plan to ensure continuing control of state legislative and congressional district redistricting.
REDMAP is why Hoosiers will in effect have no say in drawing the electoral districts that will shape Indiana and, possibly, federal policy for the next decade. Legislative leaders know whoever controls redistricting controls the political process. That's why Hoosiers will have limited opportunity to study the maps drawn by political operatives and little chance of changing them.
Julia Vaughn, executive director of Common Cause Indiana, said public input is disregarded in a map review schedule released Monday by Republican legislative leaders.
“It's disappointing that the legislature is ignoring the public's pleas for additional field hearings and enough time to evaluate their mapping proposals and provide public feedback,” she wrote in an email. “The timeline released today simply doesn't provide enough time or opportunities for adequate public vetting of maps drawn behind closed doors. The public has been very clear – they want the General Assembly to provide an open and transparent process for redistricting. (Monday's) announcement indicates legislators haven't gotten the message.”
Hundreds of Hoosiers showed up at statewide meetings last month to urge changes in the redistricting process, but their efforts appear to be in vain. The tentative schedule shows release of maps for the nine congressional districts and 100 House districts on Sept. 14, with public testimony two days later. The map of 50 state Senate districts will be released Sept. 21, with public testimony on Sept. 27. Both Senate and House approval are expected by early October.
Census data released earlier this year showed a changing demographic landscape in Indiana. The electoral maps we see this month inevitably will show only the continuing influence of REDMAP.