September 28, 2021

Senate Committee Adjusts Minority Makeup In Redistricting Map

Article origination IPBS-RJC
The full Senate will vote on the redistricting bill Friday, sending it back to the House for a final vote before it heads to the governor. - Brandon Smith/IPB News

The full Senate will vote on the redistricting bill Friday, sending it back to the House for a final vote before it heads to the governor.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Republicans made a slight adjustment to their proposed Senate redistricting map Tuesday before advancing the redistricting bill to the full Senate.

The federal Voting Rights Act bans states from racial discrimination in redistricting. Because of that, Senate Republicans drew two districts in Marion County that packed in enough people of color that they were what’s called "majority-minority districts" – which means the majority of Hoosiers in those districts are people of color.

But Sen. Eric Koch (R-Bedford), the chief architect of the Senate map, said Republicans consulted further with an East Carolina University political scientist.

“Our expert advised us that because of the significant White crossover voting to support Black candidates, racially polarized voting does not exist in Marion County,” Koch said.

READ MORE: Analysis Says Indiana Redistricting Maps Among Worst Partisan Bias In Country


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The change approved in committee spread voters of color across more districts. Democrats didn't oppose the move, though the shift is unlikely to make any districts significantly more or less competitive.

Republicans also rejected multiple Democratic amendments. One would’ve created an independent redistricting commission for the next round of redistricting, in 2031. The other, which also would’ve applied in the future, would require a 30-day public comment period between when redistricting maps are released and when lawmakers vote on them.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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