FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana saw steady growth over the last 10 years, enough to maintain their current representation in the U.S. House.
Based on the initial reports from the U.S. Census Bureau, Indiana gained over 300,000 new residents, a 4.7% growth from the 2010 census. While neighboring states like Ohio lose a U.S. House seat, Indiana stands pat with nine.
The results were not surprising to Andrew Downs, the director of Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue Fort Wayne. He is also confident in the accuracy of the count, given that the census was taken in the middle of the pandemic.
“It’s flawed data, but it’s the best data available,” Downs said.
Now that the census bureau released their apportionments, the next step is to draw new district maps for the U.S. House of Representatives, one for the Indiana House and another for the Indiana Senate. Like several other states, the Indiana General Assembly will be tasked with creating these updated maps.
Both chambers of the General Assembly will draw their own versions of their map before coming to an agreement. Downs also anticipates that public input will also be encouraged. Because Republicans have a super majority in both state chambers, Downs expects few changes to the current map.
“We’ll see some movement around the edges,” Downs said. “A county might be moved from one district to another. At the state house and state senate level we’re likely to see much more change.”
While some states, like Ohio, draw their district maps using bipartisan or independent commissions, Downs does not expect Indiana to change their habits any time soon. He mentions how some individuals have advocated for similar independent commissions, but many state legislators insist that moving away from what has been historically done could be unconstitutional.
“I think we’re looking at drawing the maps through our usual political/partisan process right now,” Downs said.
The Indiana General Assembly is expected to work on updated district maps when they return from recess in the fall.