ANDERSON, IN — Today, the League of Women Voters of Indiana, Common Cause Indiana, Anderson-Madison County NAACP, and two individual voters, filed a federal lawsuit against the city’s Common Council for failing to draw new district maps before the Dec. 31, 2022 redistricting deadline in violation of state and federal law.
"Local redistricting cannot be the forgotten mandate," said Linda Hanson, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Indiana. "There is no question that Anderson City Council failed to meet their obligation to reapportion their six districts. Decisions made by the City Council directly impact the lives of Andersonians, and their maps must be redrawn to give each resident an equal voice."
Following the decennial Census, state, county, and local governments are required to examine their population sizes to determine if their districts’ boundaries should be redrawn. While the law does not require state and local districts to divide populations by exact equal numbers, courts have held that more than a 10% deviation in district population may violate 14th Amendment equal protection. The districts in Anderson currently hold a 46% deviation.
Even though the Anderson City Council was aware that its single-member districts were severely malapportioned after the 2020 Census, the Council voted not to engage in redistricting in December 2022. The League of Women Voters of Indiana, Common Cause Indiana, Anderson-Madison County NAACP Branch 3058, and individual voters seek a court order for maps that comply with state and federal law.
"Just as we hold our leaders at the top accountable, we must do the same for our local leaders," said Julia Vaughn, executive director of Common Cause Indiana. "Local redistricting carries weight, and the Council’s decision not to approve a redistricting plan and hold a primary election will dilute the voices of thousands of Anderson citizens. We must demand that the Council create maps that prioritize people over politics."
"Redistricting should be done in a way that ensures all citizens, regardless of their race, are represented by the local government. It is only through a fair redistricting process, grounded in racial equity, that the voices of all citizens can be heard. We must continue this challenge to secure a racially equitable outcome so that our local government is truly representative of its people," said Larry McClendon, President of the Anderson-Madison County NAACP.
Plaintiffs are represented by Indianapolis attorneys William Groth and Daniel Bowman of Bowman & Vlink, LLC.
Read the complaint here on LWV’s Legal Center.
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