Indiana governor approves GOP’s redistricting plan

  • Comments
  • Print

Indiana’s governor gave his approval Monday to the Republican redrawing of the state’s congressional and legislative districts that critics argued gives the party an election advantage for the next decade.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s signature was the final step in the redistricting for Indiana’s nine congressional seats and 150 seats in the state Legislature that were drawn by Republican leaders and adopted Friday in the Legislature without any support from Democrats.

The maps faced intense criticism as diluting the influence of minority and urban voters in favor of white voters living in rural areas to bolster the election prospects for Republicans. That came after the 2020 census found that the state’s white and rural populations both shrank over the past 10 years.

Holcomb said in a statement he believed that legislators completed the redistricting work in “an orderly and transparent way.”

Political analysts say the new maps that will be used through the 2030 elections protect the Republican dominance that has boosted them to a 7-2 majority of Indiana’s U.S. House seats and commanding majorities in the state Legislature. Critics argued the process was rushed as Republicans pushed for Friday’s final votes just 17 days after the release of their congressional and Indiana House maps—and 10 days after the state Senate maps became public.

Opponents of the Republican plan pointed to Donald Trump winning Indiana with 57% of the presidential vote last year as Republicans captured 71 of the 100 Indiana House seats and 39 of the 50 state Senate seats.

House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta of Fort Wayne called the new maps the result of a “partisan process” that resulted in gerrymandered districts drawn to help Republicans win elections. Republicans rebuffed calls from Democrats and voting-rights groups for Indiana to join other states with an independent commission to draw up new election districts.

“Throughout the redistricting process, countless Hoosiers voiced the ideal that voters should choose their representation, not the other way around,” GiaQuinta said. “Unfortunately, Republicans put political gain before democracy as they struck down our proposal to restore integrity to Indiana’s elections.”

The 2020 census found that Indiana grew 4.7%, to about 6.8 million residents, over the past decade. Indianapolis and its surrounding counties saw three-quarters of Indiana’s population growth, while 49 of the state’s 92 counties lost residents.

Fewer people in Indiana identified as white, as the state’s share of white population fell from 81.5% in 2010 to 75.5% in 2020. Minority populations grew, with the Black population’s share up from 9.0% in 2010 to 9.4% in 2020 and the Hispanic share increasing from 6.0% to 8.2% over the decade.

Republicans maintained they followed federal and state laws to match Indiana’s population shifts while avoiding splitting counties and cities between multiple districts as much as possible.

Democrats and civil rights groups countered by pointing to the shifting of increasingly diverse parts of Indianapolis from the congressional district narrowly won last year by Republican U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz into the solidly Democratic district held by Rep. Andre Carson.

Objections were also raised about the fragmenting of Fort Wayne’s large Black and Latino communities among three likely Republican state Senate districts that will have rural white voters making up the majorities and making similar splits in the urban areas of Evansville and Lafayette-West Lafayette.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

8 thoughts on “Indiana governor approves GOP’s redistricting plan

  1. Orderly. Transparent. Rigged.
    Doesn’t make the gerrymandering any better just because it’s out in the open. Here’s to another decade of moving backwards.

    1. The time to get angry about the maps was before the 2020 election. If people didn’t want gerrymandered maps, they should have elected more Democrats to the Statehouse.

      Why the Indiana Democratic Party didn’t make this a campaign issue, I’ll never know. Of course, it comes as a surprise to most people that there IS an Indiana Democratic Party.

    2. The Ed Mahern, Democratic party maps were extreme examples of gerrymandering. The GOP draws districts to their advantage but they are much more compact and more often keep communities of interest together than any Democratic Party maps ever drawn.

      All the controversy about these maps is the minority party wanting to game the system. Someday when Democrats are in charge, they will draw partisan maps and the Republicans will be calling for an independent commission.

    3. Communities of interest? Like wiping out the influence of suburban Indianapolis?

      How does one congressional district with Greenwood and Richmond make sense? How about Carmel and Muncie? Avon and West Lafayette?

      The Indianapolis area should have been drawn so they had two congressional representatives. The Indianapolis area is the engine of the state of Indiana. It’s where people are moving TO.

      Instead, a line was drawn around the Democratic area of Indianapolis and all the areas trending purple were nullified. I live in Indianapolis and I now share a representative with someone in Hagerstown. Tell me how that’s a “community of interest”.

      And make sure you tell the people in Fort Wayne how it makes sense how their city was parsed into four pieces on the Indiana Senate map, all of which were drawn with significant “out of town” components.

      Don’t trust my words, look at the map:

      Here’s the thing – this is totally unnecessary. If the maps were drawn that match what Republicans claim they do, they would still won most all elections in the state of Indiana. They’d still control both houses of the legislature.

      But these maps enable Republicans to do their business not in front of citizens on the legislative floor, but in their private caucus discussions, since they’ve ensured a majority to where they don’t even need Democrats to conduct business. Republicans will continue to set their agenda in private for ten more years, and they won’t care about the general election in November, but they will just base their policies and decisions off making sure that no one “more conservative” comes along in May and knocks them off in the primary.

  2. Indiana is able to hold free and fair elections so it should also be possible to develop fair congressional and state legislative maps. The Legislature needs to relinquish this responsibility.

    1. LOL. What is “fair” and what great, noble, impartial group are you suggesting should be in charge of the maps?

    2. Here’s something that would be “fair” – it should be against the law to use election results or voter registration data to draw maps. Yet it is legal here in Indiana, and the results of the last five elections were made available in the legislature’s own application for showing us constituents how to draw maps.