INDIANAPOLIS – Critics assailed the proposed new Indiana congressional and legislative districts on Monday as rigged in favor of Republicans and diluting the influence of minority voters.
More than 20 people spoke against the Republican-drawn redistricting plan and none in support of it during a state Senate elections committee hearing that was likely the final public testimony before the GOP-dominated Legislature votes later this week to approve the maps lasting through the 2030 elections.
Republican Sen. Eric Koch of Bedford said the redistricting plan was aimed at drawing compact districts that didn’t unnecessarily divide cities and counties between districts.
But numerous people faulted the maps for splitting the city of Fort Wayne up among four Republican-leaning state Senate districts, three of which include substantial rural areas.
The Indiana NAACP and other groups argued that Fort Wayne’s large Black and Latino communities were being fragmented into districts that will have rural white voters making up the majorities.
The 2020 census showed Indiana’s population becoming more racially diverse with greater percentages of Black and Hispanic residents.
“Maybe some are purposefully ignoring that change, but in accordance with federal law electoral maps must shift with the changing demographics,” said Ami Gandhi, senior counsel with the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. “The state of Indiana must do better to protect voting rights of people of color.”