The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, October 05, 2021 1:00 am

Holcomb's signature makes state election maps official

TOM DAVIES | Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana's governor gave his approval Monday to the Republican redrawing of the state's congressional and legislative districts that critics argued gives the party an election advantage for the next decade.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb's signature was the final step in the redistricting for Indiana's nine congressional seats and 150 seats in the state Legislature that were drawn by Republican leaders behind closed doors and adopted Friday in the Legislature without any support from Democrats.

The maps faced intense criticism as diluting the influence of minority and urban voters in favor of white voters living in rural areas to bolster the election prospects for Republicans. That came after the 2020 census found that the state's white and rural populations both shrank over the past 10 years.

Holcomb said in a statement he believed that legislators completed the redistricting work in “an orderly and transparent way.”

Political analysts say the new maps that will be used through the 2030 elections protect the Republican dominance that has boosted them to a 7-2 majority of Indiana's U.S. House seats and commanding majorities in the state Legislature. Critics argued the process was rushed as Republicans pushed for Friday's final votes just 17 days after the release of their congressional and Indiana House maps – and 10 days after the state Senate maps became public.

Opponents of the Republican plan pointed to Donald Trump winning Indiana with 57% of the presidential vote last year as Republicans captured 71 of the 100 Indiana House seats and 39 of the 50 state Senate seats.

House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta of Fort Wayne called the new maps the result of a “partisan process” that resulted in gerrymandered districts drawn to help Republicans win elections. Republicans rebuffed calls from Democrats and voting-rights groups for Indiana to join other states with an independent commission to draw up new election districts.

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