The Henry County Democrat Club met Nov. 20 at 9 a.m. at Democrat headquarters, 201 N. Main Street, New Castle.
Beverly Mathews introduced Sue Errington, State Representative and former member of the Indiana Senate. Sue served on the Delaware County Council and serves as ranking member of the Environmental Ethics Commission, also National Caucus for the environment and advocate for Women’s rights. She is on the Board of Directors for Red Tail Conservancy and many other boards. She spoke of the recent Redistricting in Indiana.
“People move and districts can loose or gain population. All districts need to have the same number of people. Re-districting is done every 10 years based on census,” Errington said. “One half of our counties lost population- including mostly rural counties, while big cities gained. There was a serious effort to get an independent citizen’s commission to oversee redistricting. There were over 90 people that were willing to work on fair redistricting maps.
“The League of Women Voters and Common Cause put up valiant effort and they joined with other organizations called ‘All In for Democracy,’” Errington continued. “Public hearings were held in each congressional district and a map drawing contest was offered due to heightened public interest in transparency and more competitive districts. But there was a ‘parallel process’ going on behind the scenes. The Republicans released their maps with only 24 hours for public scrutiny. Those maps are decidedly partisan.”
The 2021 maps were adopted Oct. 1.
Errington said the actual difference between Democrats and Republicans is approximately 40/60 here in Indiana but the new redistricting insures that Republicans are overly represented. In the congressional map, the House is 91 percent favoring Republicans; the Senate is more skewed to 98 percent Republican.
“Republicans have drawn the maps in the last two decades. Tactics such as ‘packing the district’ and ‘cracking’ are ways districts are manipulated,” she said.
Sue concluded with the question, “Why does it matter?”
She stated, “Gerrymandering depresses the vote. And when we have a super majority party, they don’t have to pay any attention to the minority party or to all the people they represent. Politicians choose their people rather than the people choosing the politicians. Voters believe that unfair maps by either party lead to less representative government. It leads to more abuses in government; it leads to more extreme government, and it leads to less responsive government’.”
Club reports were given. Candidates for next year’s election spoke to the Club. Next meeting will be Dec. 18 at 9 a.m. at Headquarters at 201 N. Main Street, New Castle.