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Citizen Advocates Want More Than Just Initial Redistricting Hearings

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Brandon Smith/IPB News
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Indiana lawmakers will hold hearings around the state Friday and Saturday to gather public feedback on the redistricting process. And advocates say this weekend’s hearings are a good start – but shouldn’t be the end of the conversation.

The House and Senate elections committees will hold the meetings around the state, culminating in a hearing next week at the Statehouse. Common Cause Indiana policy director Julia Vaughn said she hopes to hear Hoosiers at the meetings talk about the criteria they want lawmakers to use to draw new legislative district maps.

“They’d rather see an emphasis on drawing competitive districts versus drawing compactness,” Vaughn said.

But the public won’t see the actual proposals from lawmakers at these hearings. That’s because the necessary data from the federal government hasn’t arrived yet.

READ MORE: Redistricting 101: Who Draws Indiana’s Legislative District Maps, And How

Vaughn said, once lawmakers have drawn their maps, there should be another round of hearings across the state.

“These maps are going to be in play for a decade," Vaughn said. "This isn’t something that you can come back next legislature and fix. So, we need to get this right this time.”

Lawmakers are expected to approve new maps in late September.

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

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.