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State Rep. Tonya Pfaff: Hoosiers deserve fair maps

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INDIANAPOLIS - The opinion editorial below was issued today by State Representative Tonya Pfaff (D-Terre Haute) and reflects her views on redistricting:

 

As the Ranking Democratic Member of the House Elections Committee, I’ve had the opportunity to attend five public hearings all around the state to learn more about what Hoosiers care about when it comes to new district maps for the Legislature.

 What I learned in these meetings is that Hoosiers want answers. They want to know how the maps are going to be drawn, what data is going to be used and most importantly, how they can get involved.

It is essential that all Hoosiers feel like their voices are being heard.

We all know that when voters don’t feel like they are being heard, they don’t show up at the polls. That doesn’t sit well with me, especially considering the fact that Indiana currently ranks 48th nationally in political engagement.

As an educator attempting to shape the minds of teenagers, I am well aware that my students will be voting in the next couple of years.

What the Legislature does with the maps now will determine how much faith they’ll have in their government. It will determine if their districts have representation that dutifully advocates for their interests. It will determine if they have competitive districts that provide choices on the ballot.

I want to ensure these maps give them a reason to turn up and exercise their civic duty. Rigging the system by gerrymandering our maps again and conducting meetings without giving them any answers to their questions is not an option and is an insult to our voters.

There are many factors to consider when we talk about how we’re going to draw these maps. Things like contiguity and compactness are certainly important, but It should be our top priority to ensure that voters have faith in the political process. They need to know their voices aren’t being taken away from them before they even get to the polls.

Hoosiers want the process to be fair, transparent and they want to be included. They’ve made their opinions known. Now we need to listen. The gravity of the decisions we make now will reverberate for the next 10 years and we must get this right.

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