Having attended the Aug. 6 redistricting hearing at the Valparaiso Ivy Tech campus, I wanted to follow up to state that it would be a shame if the facts, concerns, and recommendations voiced by fellow Hoosiers fell upon deaf Republican ears as several speakers feared.
I attended in part to represent Lake County, since no meetings were scheduled there. With late release of Census data, no map drafts were available nor was the upcoming redistricting process made transparent.
Indiana residents from as far away as Fort Wayne spoke, requesting: fair maps produced via computer algorithm or minimally, a non- or bi-partisan, independent committee; the process be made transparent; new maps encouraging competitive elections in all districts, with communities of interest kept together, incumbent blind, in as few districts as possible; and a second round of meetings, including in Lake County, held on evenings or weekends, with map drafts available, at least one month prior to the deadline, so Hoosiers may provide meaningful input.
I was appalled to learn the infamous Koch brothers gave a generous contribution to the 2011 map redrawing project. More than one speaker mentioned Indiana’s low voter turnout and how individuals who feel their voices do not count disengage from the democratic process.
The meeting ran over. After 2 hours of repeatedly hearing the above-mentioned public comments, including the terms “fair” and “gerrymandering,” I expect the Republicans to modify their redistricting process to reflect Northwest Indiana residents’ needs. If they do not, it would reinforce that Republicans do not serve all Hoosiers.
Janine Harrison, Highland