FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As Indiana legislators work on the redistricting map for 2021, some Hoosier Democrats aren’t happy with the results.
Every 10 years after the census, states redraw district boundaries to keep the population equally distributed.
“Typically the party that is in control of whatever body we are talking about, whether that’s the county, the city or the general assembly, is able to draw boundaries that may favor them over the other party. That’s the way we have been doing it for a couple of hundred years,” said Andrew Downs, Director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics.
The Allen County Democratic Chairman, Derek Camp, said maps that Indiana statehouse Republicans are pushing out will silence Hoosiers in certain areas. He said the maps are “gerrymandered” and the Indiana Senate map should not divide Fort Wayne into four districts but two.
He lives on the westside of Calhoun by South Side Highschool and his area is drawn down to Adams County, Wells County, and Jay County.
“Everyone is a good Hoosier, however we have different needs,” Camp said. “As someone who lives in Fort Wayne, I have very different needs and interests than anyone who lives down in Jay County, because we have different problems that we face. We have different concerns.”
Camp added that Southeast Fort Wayne will be wrapped in with Butler, Auburn, and other parts of Dekalb County. He said that will not benefit residents of Southeast Fort Wayne because they will not be represented by someone who understands their community.
Downs agrees the map of Allen County will change dramatically. “There were a lot of people expressing concern about that because it resulted in districts that come into Fort Wayne boundaries and reach out to more rural areas to finish gathering enough population to make the districts match on a population basis,” he said.
Allen County’s GOP chair disagreed.
“It’s disingenuous for the Democrats to say that this gives the Republicans a leg up and not allow the Democrats to come up for air,” Allen County Republican Chairman Steve Shine said. “The substantial majority of elected officials are Republicans. The Democrats need to realize that and get over it. Indiana and our local communities are Republican and that’s the backbone of our government.”
Shine told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that he is pleased with the maps. Shine and Camp agree the maps should keep communities of interest together. They differ on if the proposed maps do that.
“It’s a very hard process to try to get everybody under one umbrella and sometimes there are districts which have to spill over to another county. But the effort to eliminate that from happening was the greatest effort I have seen since redistricting has occurred under my watch as chairman,” Shine said. “Let’s not forget that when the Democrats were in power, most recently in the House and before that in the Senate, they not only did the same thing, they made it worse. They were the ones who created these multiple districts and had people with no commonality in what they wanted on their legislative agenda spread out over multiple counties. That’s not the case anymore.”
The chambers are expected to vote to approve the maps on Friday.