August hearings set on Indiana election redistricting

INDIANAPOLIS — Public hearings have been set Indiana’s upcoming redrawing of congressional and legislative election districts, although no proposed new maps will be available by then.

The hearings involving the House and Senate elections committees will be held in eight cities around the state on Aug. 6-7 and at the Statehouse in Indianapolis on Aug. 11, legislative officials announced Thursday.

Those hearings will be the first public steps by the Republican-dominated Legislature on the once-a-decade redrawing of election maps based on population shifts.

The public will be able to comment on the redistricting process but Republican legislators won’t reveal their proposed new districts until after the expected Aug. 16 release of redistricting data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Republican legislative leaders have discussed possible votes on approving those new maps in mid- to late-September but haven’t agreed to a call from voting rights activists for the public have at least a month to review proposed district maps before they are finalized.

State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Schmuhl said Democrats will fight against gerrymandered maps that continue an “imbalance in our government.”

The Aug. 6 hearings are planned in Anderson, Columbus, Lafayette and Valparaiso, with the Aug. 7 hearings in Fort Wayne, Elkhart, Evansville and Sellersburg.