To the editor:
Gerrymandering seems to be a hot topic, appearing in editorials, letters to the editor, the Viewpoint section of our Daily Journal, and now perhaps ruled on by the Supreme Court. Gerrymandering, “the practice of drawing election districts for partisan advantage,” is as key to dismantling our Democracy as Citizens United, the ruling that allows corporations to donate obscene, unrestricted amounts of money to influence elections.
Why is gerrymandering important? Indiana House districts are among the most gerrymandered in the country. In 2012, although Democratic candidates got 43 percent of the votes, Republicans hold almost 70 percent of the House districts. This leads to no competition and low voter turnout. (Johnson County has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country.) Forty-four of 100 candidates for the Indiana House and 10 of 25 in the state Senate ran unopposed.
In the Leo Morris column on Dec. 27, “Bigger problems exist than gerrymandering,” the central argument against Indiana creating a non-partisan group in charge of drawing districts seems to be that it would be too difficult. We should leave well enough alone. By his tortured logic, the democratic principle of “one person, one vote” is not worth striving for, and Indiana is incapable of doing what other states have successfully done to create fairer districts.
Contact your state senator and state representative and ask them to support redistricting reform. The process must be open and transparent, independent of the General Assembly, with opportunities for citizens to impact the map-drawing process. The public should have access to map-drawing software and all tools available to the official map drafters. With technology today, fair, non-partisan redistricting is possible.