Redistricting in Indiana

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Redistricting in Indiana
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General information
Partisan control:
Legislative authority (5-member commission if legislature fails to meet deadline
April 29, 2011 for legislature
Total seats
State Senate:
State House:
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Redistricting on PolicypediaState legislative and congressional redistricting after the 2010 CensusState-by-state redistricting procedures
Redistricting in Indiana is accomplished through both the General Assembly and a redistricting commission. Indiana gives its lawmakers the first chance in re-drawing legislative and congressional districts. If the General Assembly fails to enact a redistricting plan, a redistricting commission must draw the lines. Indiana is one of a few states to use a hybrid method of redistricting.


In Indiana, the General Assembly has the authority in drawing legislative and congressional boundaries. The Senate Committee on Elections and the House Committee on Elections and Apportionment are tasked with redrawing the boundaries. However, lawmakers are on very tight deadlines for redistricting. If the deadline is not met, a special redistricting commission is formed. The five person commission consists of the House Speaker, Senate President, Committee Chairpersons of elections/redistricting committees in both houses, and an additional appointee by the Governor. The Governor has the power to veto any redistricting plan for any reason.[1][2]



Redistricting Committee Members

Senate Committee:

House Committee:

Census results

When the Census figures were released on December 21, 2010, Indiana retained its current allotment of nine congressional districts.[3] With Republicans winning control of six out nine of Indiana's congressional districts in 2010, Democrats raised concerns that congressional districts could be drawn to further benefit Republicans in the next decade.[4]

Congressional maps

Figure 1: This map shows the Indiana Congressional Districts after the 2000 census.

Possible strategies

With Republicans holding strong majorities in the state legislature, redistricting was almost certain to favor the GOP. However, Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) stated that he would veto maps that did not suit the state geographically, socially, and economically.[5]

One redistricting strategy would have kept Southern Indiana under GOP control while Northwest Indiana near the Illinois border could be made more competitive for Republican candidates. Democrats traditionally perform well near South Bend and Michigan City in Northwest Indiana[4].

Another possible plan included moving residents from District 5, which showed strong growth in the 2010 census, to Districts 2 and 6. This would have placed more Republican voters in District 2, which contains South Bend. It was also suggested that District 2's Michigan City could be traded to District 1 in exchange for the district's Southern, strongly GOP counties. This would have concentrated Democrats in the Democratic 1st District and diluted them in the 2nd.[6] In either case, since District 2 representative Joe Donnelly (D) narrowly won the district in 2010, redistricting could have meant a chance for a successful GOP challenge in 2012.[7] Donnelly said that he was awaiting the new map of his district before deciding whether to seek another office. Some speculated that Donnelly would run for U.S. Senate.[8] Indeed, Donnelly did decide to run for the seat that was vacated by ousted incumbent Richard Lugar[9]

Congressional maps and the 2012 Gov. race

Democrat Congressman Joe Donnelly said that he could run for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2012 if redistricting altered the make-up of his congressional district[10]. The Congressman visited legislators in Indianapolis on January 12, 2011, in hopes that the GOP-controlled General Assembly would keep his district mostly intact when the new maps went into effect.[10] The 2012 Governor's race was open as Governor Mitch Daniels (R) could not run for re-election due to term limits.[11] As mentioned before, Donnelly ultimately decided to run for the U.S. Senate.

Democrats launch redistricting site

Indiana's Democratic Caucus, which was a minority in the State House and Senate, launched a redistricting website. According to Democrats, the website was intended to promote compact districts that preserved communities of interests and protected minorities. In addition, the site was intended to solicit public input and promote the development of an independent commission for redistricting.[12]

Democrats propose maps

The Indiana Democratic Caucus released its own maps for the Indiana State Senate and Indiana Congressional delegation. The party argued that the maps were more compact than previous decades and better preserved local communities. The party also acknowledged the maps would make Democratic candidates more competitive.[13]

Maps proposed

Proposed maps were released on April 11, detailing changes to the state's congressional districts. The maps, created by the Republican-controlled legislature, would likely benefit GOP incumbents and weaken Democratic opposition. Most notably, the map seemed to place District 2 in Republican hands. Joe Donnelly (D), who represented the district, noted that his new district would have voted 49% in favor of Obama and was still open to Democrats.[14][15] In addition, the map strengthened Republican representative Todd Young in District 9. The map also appeared to leave Districts 1 and 7 strongly Democratic, Districts 3, 4 and 5 strongly Republican, and District 6 Republican-leaning. However, Larry Buschon's (R) District 8 seat appeared to become more competitive.[16]

One Congressman, Rep. Todd Rokita (R), was drawn outside his district. However, Rokita was not required by the US Constitution or Indiana law to reside within the district. Thus, since he lived only 500 yards from the new boundary, Rokita planned to run for re-election without moving. The move was not unprecedented in Indiana history. Former Rep. Chris Chocola was elected in a similar situation after the 2001 redistricting cycle.[17]

Senate President David Long (R) said that he expected the new districts to stay competitive. In addition, he argued that the maps were more compact than the maps drawn by Democrats in 2001. However, opponents of the maps argued that the political motivations of the plan were clear.[18] A map of the congressional plan can be found here.

Legislative chambers pass redistricting plan

On April 20, both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly approved redistricting plans. The plans, authored by the state's Republican majority, included both congressional and state legislative maps. The plans passed the chambers on predominantly party-line votes.[19] Since the plans were independently approved by the House and Senate, each bill then moved to the opposite chamber for concurrence. If either plan received concurrence, it would proceed to Governor Mitch Daniels (R) for approval.[20]


The House voted 62-31 on April 28, 2011 to send the Congressional map to Governor Mitch Daniels (R) for final approval. The new map appeared to provide the GOP a chance to win seven of the nine Congressional seats.[21]

Donnelly, Pence announce new campaigns

Endangered by redistricting, Congressman Joe Donnelly (D) announced his bid for the US Senate on May 9, 2011, ending weeks of speculation about his post-reapportionment plans. Some speculated that a successful primary challenge of Richard Lugar (R) could have opened the door to a victory for Donnelly.[22] In addition, GOP Congressman Mike Pence announced his gubernatorial campaign on May 5 as many observers had predicted.[23]

Daniels signs plan

Governor Mitch Daniels signed Indiana's redistricting plan on Tuesday, May 10 along with 79 other bills passed by the Legislature.[24] Indiana was only the third state to complete its entire redistricting process. Only Iowa and Louisiana completed the process sooner.

Legislative maps

Figure 2: This map shows the current Indiana House districts.
Figure 3: This map shows the current Indiana Senate districts.

WLFI report on April 13, 2011 about the redistricting maps currently residing in committee.

Preliminary maps anticipated

Preliminary legislative redistricting maps were expected the week of April 11. This would leave legislators only three weeks to consider the new maps. Although congressional plans were due April 29, state redistricting could be postponed until the 2012 session.[25]

Maps proposed

Proposed maps were released April 11, detailing a possible redistricting plan for the Indiana State Legislature.[14] The plans seemed to benefit Republican interests across the state. In the Indiana House of Representatives, eight of the new districts would have no incumbent while 10 would be home to two incumbents. Of these 10, three paired Republicans, three paired Democrats, and four paired Republicans and Democrats. While some of these changes might have been politically motivated, demographic changes also favored Republicans. Twenty-one of the 30 House districts that lost population were controlled by Democrats. With an existing 37-13 Republican majority in the Indiana State Senate, political changes were less dramatic. No Senate incumbents were paired together. Speaker of the House Brian Bosma (R) stated that maps were created with an aim to eliminate gerrymandering and create compact districts. Critics, however, charged that maps should strive for compact districts and increased competition.[26][27] According to state Democrats, the proposal would reduce the number of competitive districts from 24 to 14 and make most districts without an incumbent strongly Republican.[28]

  • The Senate plan can be found here.
  • The House plan can be found here.

Democrats, activists call for slower pace

Redistricting advocates and state Democrats called for a slower pace for the redistricting process. Both groups wanted to ensure that citizens and lawmakers had sufficient time to inspect the bills. However, Republicans leaders refused these requests, citing the looming April 29 deadline and a concern that a slower process would make room for trivial debates and partisan bickering.[29] While the GOP insisted that the maps were not politically motivated, opponents demanded more demographic data on the partisan breakdown of the new districts. Republicans pointed to public redistricting hearings and wide publication of the plans as proof of their commitment to transparency. Democrats also criticized the maps for diluting or dividing minority communities. Republicans countered that federal guidelines were closely followed in structuring minority representation.[30]

Legislative chambers pass, modify plans

On April 20, both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly approved redistricting plans. The plans, authored by the state's Republican majority, included both congressional and state legislative maps. The plans passed the chambers on predominantly party-line votes.[19] In the House, Republicans altered the original bill, redrawing a district which paired two House Democrats.[31] Since the plans were independently approved by the House and Senate, each bill then moved to the opposite chamber for concurrence. If either plan received concurrence, it would proceed to Governor Mitch Daniels (R) for approval.[20]


The Senate concurred with the House plan by a 37-12 vote on April 27, 2011. The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission said legislators should have allowed the public to give input on plans throughout the summer.[32] Democrats said the new plan would reduce the number of competitive races and dilutes minority voting power. The plan moved to Governor Mitch Daniels (R) for approval.[33]

Daniels signs plan

Governor Mitch Daniels signed Indiana's redistricting plan on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 along with 79 other bills passed by the Legislature.[24] Indiana was the third state to complete its entire redistricting process. Only Iowa and Louisiana completed the process sooner.

Boycotts and redistricting

Boycott may delay redistricting

The Democratic boycott over public sector unions, which ended March 28, 2011, put pressure on Indiana's redistricting process. The legislature, which adjourned April 29, was required to pass a new two-year budget and redraw congressional districts. Indiana's governor Mitch Daniels (R) would have been able to call a special session to deal with these issues if the delay caused by the boycott prevented their completion during the regular session. Each of the previous two Indiana redistricting efforts resulted in boycotts.[34][35]

GOP leadership begin process

While 37 Democratic representatives remained outside of the state during the boycott, Republican leaders started moving on the redistricting process, holding several public hearings throughout the state. Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson (D) argued that Republicans were excluding Democrats from the process. Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R) responded that Republicans welcomed as much input as possible in the process.[36]

Citizen Activism

Citizens Commission formed

WISH report on April 13, 2011 on voters looking to slow redistricting.

In December of 2010, a coalition of citizen groups formed the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission to oversee the redistricting process in the Hoosier State. The group was chaired by former Indiana lawmakers William Ruppel (R) and Dave Crooks (D).[37] The group consisted of organizations including Common Cause of Indiana, AARP Indiana, the Indiana League of Women Voters, and the Indiana Center for Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). The group planned to host a series of public hearings on redistricting and sponsor a map-drawing contest for college students. The goal of the commission was to make Indiana's elections more competitive and eliminate gerrymandered districts. In 2010, 17 of the 100 State House candidates were unopposed, while five of the 25 State Senate candidates were without opposition. In addition, the Commission argued that the large number of smaller cities split into multiple legislative districts across the state was a result of gerrymandering in Indiana.[10][38]

The commission's public hearing schedule can be found here.

Commission seeks public maps

The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission sought redistricting maps drawn by the public. The group hoped that these maps would contrast the public's interest with the partisan and incumbent interests at work in the official maps.[39][40] The state also located computers at three locations around the state with census information and redistricting software. They were located at Indiana University's Bloomington, Indianapolis, and South Bend campuses.[41][42]

Newspapers put pressure on mapmakers

Sixteen Indiana newspapers including the Indianapolis Star launched a campaign to convince lawmakers to draw districts that were compact, promoted competition, and kept communities of interest together. In a January 31, 2011 editorial, The Indianapolis Star demanded that Governor Mitch Daniels and House Speaker Brian Bosma hold their colleagues accountable on promises made to keep politics out of redistricting. The newspaper also expressed concerns that newcomers were discouraged from entering politics when political boundaries are drawn to favor incumbents.[43]

The Evansville Courier-Press challenged the Republican-controlled Legislature to create a redistricting system that does not involve political criteria in a January 30, 2011 editorial. The Courier-Press also demanded lawmakers to draw districts that honor township and county boundaries while protecting communities of interest.[44]

Draw the Line Midwest

On March 15, 2011, the Draw the Line Midwest campaign was announced. Billing itself as "the nation's first regional redistricting reform campaign organization," Draw the Line Midwest is made up of 25 reform organizations from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. It was a collaboration between the Midwest Democracy Network and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School.

The groups said the campaign was a coordinated effort to depoliticize the redistricting process by pushing for transparency, public participation, and protection of minority rights. They proposed alternatives to legislative plans and set up District Builder, free open-based software that allowed anyone to draw the maps. The site was expected to be up in all states by April.[45]

Legal issues

Annexation lawsuit

In the three years prior to redistricting, the city of Jeffersonville annexed several nearby neighborhoods. However, a resident of one such neighborhood, Bruce Herdt, sued the city over its drawing of city council districts in the newly added neighborhoods. The suit alleged that the city initially allotted too little representation to the neighborhoods by using 2000 census data. Herdt contended that 2010 census data corroborated his earlier estimates and substantiated his claims.[46][47] However, Judge William G. Hussman dismissed the lawsuit, saying that the 2000 census data was the best data to use at the time. The city argued that the use of alternative estimates did not conform to state law or precedent. The city planned to redistrict again before municipal elections in 2015. Herdt planned to appeal.[48]


By April 29, 2011, the General Assembly must have congressional boundaries re-drawn. State-level redistricting must be completed by the end of the 2012 session on March 14, 2012.[49] However, if lawmakers pushed the process too late into the 2012 session, approval would have to come after the candidate filing deadlines, meaning that candidates would have to file before their new districts were final.[2] The Governor can call the General Assembly into special session if lawmakers fail to complete redistricting before the end of the regular session (in this case, April 29, 2011).[50]

Indiana 2010 Redistricting Timeline
Date Action
December 21, 2010 State informed of number of Congressional Seats on the 2010 Census.
March 1, 2011 Expected date to receive complete Census data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
April 1, 2011[51] Final deadline to receive Census data.
April 29, 2011[52]. Deadline for the Indiana General Assembly to have a congressional redistricting plan in place. Also, this is the sine die date for the General Assembly.
May 3, 2011[53]. Last municipal and city primary elections in currently drawn boundaries.
November 8, 2011[54]. Last municipal and city general elections in currently drawn boundaries.
March 14, 2012 Deadline for the Indiana General Assembly to have a legislative redistricting plan in place.[55]
May 2012 First primary elections in newly created districts.
November 2012 First general election in newly created legislative and congressional boundaries.


Deviation from "Ideal Districts"

2000 Population Deviation[56]
Office Percentage
Congressional Districts 0.02%
State House Districts 1.92%
State Senate Districts 3.80%
Under federal law, districts may vary from an 'Ideal District' by up to 10%, though the lowest number achievable is preferred. 'Ideal Districts' are computed through simple division of the number of seats for any office into the population at the time of the Census.

Constitutional explanation

With respect to redistricting, the Indiana Constitution gives authority to the General Assembly in Section 5 of Article 4.


Former Secretary of State Todd Rokita (R) has been critical of the redistricting process in Indiana. One of the main criticisms from Rokita is the tight deadline for the General Assembly to approve a redistricting plan during a regular session[57]. Also, Rokita felt that partisan redistricting in previous censuses have reduced competitiveness in the state's elections[57].

Under current redistricting methods, some small and mid-sized cities are divided by two legislative districts[58].

Rokita proposed reforms in 2010 that would require more compactness for legislative and congressional districts in Indiana, keeping communities of interest together, and making the use of political data illegal in any redistricting[59].

See also

External links


  1. Indiana Economic Digest, "Indiana House walkout may put legislative redistricting in peril," March 9, 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 News and Tribune, "STATEHOUSE WRAP: Decision on budget bill expected Monday," March 13
  3. WTHI "Illinois loses seat to census, Indiana constant," December 21, 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Washington Post "Democrats confront near-extinction in Indiana," November 23, 2010
  5. Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, "Weigh in today on congressional redistricting," March 26, 2011
  6. Washington Examiner, Beltway Confidential Blog "Redistricting update: Indiana" March 22, 2011
  7. The Journal Gazette, "Districts’ lines sure to change," February 27, 2011
  8., "Redistricting targets could seek other opportunities," March 10, 2011
  9. Indiana Secretary of State, "2012 General Election Candidates List," retrieved June 20, 2012
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Chicago Tribune "Rep. Donnelly says plans depend on redistricting" 13 Jan. 2011
  11. Fort Wayne Journal Gazette "Term-limit lunacy" 21 Nov. 2010
  12. Chesterton Tribune, "State Senate Democrats launch redistricting website for input," March 28, 2011
  13. WIBC, "Senate Democrats Offer Redistricting Map," March 30, 2011
  14. 14.0 14.1 Evansville Courier and Press, "Indiana lawmakers unveil new draft of legislative maps," April 11, 2011
  15. Washington Post, "Indiana Republicans move to take out Donnelly, shore up Young with redistricting proposal," April 11, 2011
  16. The Republic, "Indiana Legislature OKs plan for more Republican-friendly Indiana congressional districts," April 28, 2011
  17., "Remap leaves U.S. Rep. Rokita outside his district," May 15, 2011
  18. Real Clear Politics, "Plan shifts Ind. GOP areas to Donnelly's district," April 11, 2011
  19. 19.0 19.1 Eagle Country Online, "Democrats Unhappy With Redistricting Maps," April 21, 2011
  20. 20.0 20.1, "Lawmakers OK redrawn congressional and General Assembly maps," April 20, 2011
  21. Greenfield Reporter "Indiana Legislature OKs plan for more Republican-friendly Indiana congressional districts," April 28, 2011
  22. CNN Political Ticker, "Donnelly announces Senate bid in Indiana," May 9, 2011
  23. Politico, "Pence announces for governor," May 9th, 2011
  24. 24.0 24.1 Forbes, "Ind. gov signs 80 bills into law, including budget," May 11, 2011
  25. Chesterton Tribune, "Indiana lawmakers about to tackle redistricting," April 5, 2010
  26. News and Tribune, "Proposed redistricting maps would shift district lines around the state," April 11, 2011
  27. Times-Union, "Indiana redistricting plan appears to benefit GOP," April 11, 2011
  28., "Indiana Democrats say GOP redistricting plan slanted," April 13, 2011
  29. Courier-Journal, "Citizens groups, Democrats urge GOP to slow down on Indiana district maps," April 13, 2011
  30. The Republic, "Republican-led Legislature forges ahead with Indiana redistricting despite openness complaints," April 20, 2011
  31. South Bend Tribune, "Indiana House makes some alterations to redistricting maps," April 20, 2011
  32. Fox News Latino "Indiana Assembly Approves New Electoral Map," April 28, 2011
  33. Indianapolis Business Journal "Indiana Legislature OKs redistricting proposal," April 27, 2011
  34. Evansville Courier-Press, "Session clock ticking at Indiana Statehouse," March 5, 2011
  35. Courier-Journal, "Indiana House Democrats end boycott, on way to Statehouse," March 28, 2011
  36. Courier Journal, "Indiana GOP leaders launch redistricting effort," March 17, 2010
  37., "One Democrat, one Republican hope to make process equitable," March 9, 2011
  38. The Star Press, "Hearing planned on state redistricting," February 25, 2011
  39. Journal Gazette, "Redistrict panel seeks mapmakers," March 25, 2011
  40. Common Cause Indiana, "Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission"
  41. Fox 19, "3 Indiana sites to have redistricting computers," March 25, 2011
  42. IU News Room, "Libraries at three IU campuses make redistricting software available to public," March 29, 2011
  43. Indianapolis Star "REDISTRICTING IN INDIANA" 31 Jan. 2011
  44. Evansville Courier-Press "EDITORIAL:Redistricting" 30 Jan. 2011
  45. PR Newswire, "Midwest States Launch Campaign to Pull Back Curtain on 2011 Redistricting," March 15, 2011
  46. Chicago Tribune, "Ind. man: Census data supports redistricting suit," February 24, 2011
  47. News and Tribune, "Redistricting Jeffersonville: New numbers at play," February 25, 2011
  48. Courier-Journal, "Jeffersonville redistricting lawsuit dismissed," May 6, 2011
  49. Indiana General Assembly, FAQ
  50. [Confirmed with IN SOS via phone on 1-6-2011]
  51. Population Reference Bureau "2010 Census Deadlines
  52. Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury "2010 NCSL Redistricting Law Guide
  53. [Confirmed with IN SOS via phone on January 5, 2011]
  54. [Confirmed with IN SOS via phone on January 5, 2011]
  55. Indiana General Assembly, FAQ
  56. National Conference of State Legislatures, “Redistricting 2000 Population Deviation Table”, accessed February 1, 2011
  57. 57.0 57.1 Rethinking Redistricting "How We Got There"
  58. Rethinking Redistricting "Lack of respect for communities"
  59. Rethinking Redistricting "The Solution: People, Not Politics"