Citizen advocacy organizations are gearing up for redistricting reform as lawmakers prepare to study changes to the way Indiana draws its legislative districts.
Lawmakers this summer will begin a two-year study committee to examine the possibility of redistricting reform. The committee will include non-legislators, but the statute creating the study mandates that those so-called “lay” members must have experience, training, or education in redistricting.
Julia Vaughn, the executive director of citizen advocacy group Common Cause Indiana, says it’s not easy to find people with those qualifications. She says that’s why her group, along with the League of Women Voters, held a seminar for people interested in participating in the redistricting discussion.
“Give them an opportunity to get some education and some training in redistricting so that they would be qualified.”
She says getting non-legislators involved is going to be vital to redistricting reform, which she notes will represent a major public policy shift for the state.
“So there’s going to need to be significant public support across the state to make that happen.”
Vaughn says her organization, along with the League of Women Voters, is urging legislative leaders to appoint a lay person from their list of suggestions, a list that includes former state Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm and former state lawmaker Ralph Ayres.