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Hoosiers Call For Fair, Transparent, Competitive Legislative Districts At Statehouse Hearing

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Brandon Smith / IPB News
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Dozens of Hoosiers told state lawmakers what they want to see in new legislative maps at a Statehouse hearing on redistricting Wednesday. It was the last in a series of meetings held around the state the last few days.

Some of those who testified were familiar faces: longtime advocates and experts on redistricting. That includes Ami Gandhi, senior counsel for the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights. She said lawmakers need to hold new hearings once they release the proposed legislative maps next month.

“That’s like asking someone to solve a jigsaw puzzle and using the wrong pieces," Gandhi said. "It’s not transparent and it doesn’t allow for the public to give true input.”

Republican leaders largely nixed that idea, and said they don't want to delay the redistricting process further.

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

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Others testifying at the Statehouse Wednesday were doing so for the first time. That includes recent high school graduate Claire Kaneshiro. She said young people don’t believe their votes count because of the unfair maps lawmakers have drawn.

“Who has lost their power because of your actions? It’s Black voters, it’s Brown voters. It’s my father, an Asian American," Kaneshiro said. "It is the young voters from the city, the poor voters ... this is racist, this is classist, this is wrong.”

No one who testified had anything good to say about the maps Republicans drew in the last round of redistricting a decade ago.

House and Senate lawmakers expect to meet again at the Statehouse beginning Sept. 20 to formally adopt new legislative maps.

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.