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Indiana Senate panel backs GOP redistricting plan

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A Republican-led Indiana Senate committee on Thursday approved a plan for new Senate election districts that Democrats maintain unfairly dilutes black and Hispanic voting strength.

House Democrats, meanwhile, offered a redistricting plan that they say would create 26 closely contested districts among the 100 House seats, up from the 14 in the proposal from majority Republicans.

The Senate Elections Committee voted 6-2 on party lines to send to the full Senate the Senate redistricting plan and proposed new districts for Indiana's nine congressional seats.

The committee modified several Senate districts from the plan Republican released on Monday, with the greatest changes in the districts covering the area southeast of Indianapolis to the Ohio state line.

Democratic Sen. Tim Lanane of Anderson said the changes did nothing to address his belief that the Republican plan packs minority voters into two Senate districts in Indianapolis, while splitting minority voters among three districts in Fort Wayne.

"We could pass maps that would allow for much more significant minority participation," Lanane said. "That's still an issue."

Republicans have a 37-13 majority in the Senate and Democrats say their analysis of the GOP-proposed districts show that at most 17 of the districts having enough Democratic voting strength to match their party's statewide average in recent elections.

Republicans said the Indianapolis districts preserve minority representation and that their plans complies with voting rights laws.

"We did not pack those districts," said elections committee Chairwoman Sue Landske, R-Cedar Lake. "We feel confident that they are fair."

The House elections committee is set to vote Friday on advancing the redistricting plan for that chamber.

Outnumbered Democrats on Thursday presented proposed districts that they said would have 10 more tightly contested districts than the GOP plan based on voting patterns over the past decade.

Republicans haven't released information on the political trends of their proposed districts, saying that wasn't taken into consideration while drawing the maps.

Rep. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend, said greater competition would mean more voter participation in elections.

"We're going to shut people out of the process," Niezgodski said.

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  • Two faced Democrats
    Democrats want everyone treated equally, thus desegregation. But they want Black and Hispanic voting districts, thus segregation. Make up your minds!
  • Get the job done already...
    Take a map of the State of Indiana and a straight-edged ruler... Draw lines equal distance top to bottom and then left to right.... This takes at least 10 minutes and the districts are drawn with each district having a few people from each party and maybe even a few wayward 3rd Party advocates.
  • Please Change My District
    Please, oh please, change my district so that I could have a Congressman other than Dan Burton. He'll keel over on a golf course and these idiots will vote his corpse back into office. Of course, truthfully, we won't notice any substantive difference before or after that...
  • Bauer and the Boys
    Ten years ago Bauer and the Boys (and Girls) ignored these very same arguments and drew their maps as they saw fit. Elections have consequences. Let's see if they run off to Illinois again!
  • about time
    It is about time these voting districts were drawn fairly. The libs always cry foul unless it helps them. Maybe they run back to IL and stale the vote again.
  • Well Surprize, Surprize, Surprize
    Gee, a GOP panel backs a GOP Senate.... Go Figure!!

    I guess the only thing I can do is VOTE!!!!

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