(INDIANAPOLIS) – There are some minor changes to the congressional and Indiana House maps unveiled last week.
Legislators reshuffled fewer than 60 voters to bring the nine congressional districts even closer to equal populations. And they tweaked the lines of four Allen County House districts to fix a problem which split an apartment complex between two districts.
The House Elections Committee voted 9-4 along party lines to approve the maps, setting up a vote by the full House on Thursday.
Democrats charge the districts are excessively tilted toward Republicans, and complain new state Senate districts won’t even be added to the bill till Wednesday. House Elections Chairman Tim Wesco (R-Osceola) says while the House won’t hold a public hearing on the Senate districts, the committee held seven hearings on what standards people wanted to see, including two after the Indiana and U.S. House districts were announced. The Senate Elections Committee has held four hearings of its own, with a fifth planned next week.
Wesco says the maps incorporate public input. In addition to fixing the divided apartment complex, the map puts two state House districts completely within Fort Wayne’s city limits. Instead of three congressional districts on the Ohio River, there are now just two, with Republican Greg Pence’s district made more compact. Republican Trey Hollingsworth’s district, instead of running from Greenwood to the Kentucky line, has its northernmost border in Franklin County. And while there was speculation Republicans might target Democratic Congressman Frank J. Mrvan, the district keeps the Lake Michigan lakeshore together, keeping Lake and Porter Counties in the district, and adding a lakeshore chunk of LaPorte County instead of the inland precincts now in the district.
The map shores up Republican Congresswoman Victoria Spartz by cutting Indy’s northside out of her suburban district. It packs 12 state House Republicans into six districts — that means there are six open districts.
Democrats forced a roll call vote on the procedural step of accepting the committee report, and three Republicans facing reelection challenges on the new maps joined them in voting to reject the report: Reps. Curt Nisly (R-Milford), John Jacob (R-Indianapolis) and Jeff Ellington (R-Bloomington).
The maps are expected to be finalized next Friday with a Senate vote, followed by Governor Holcomb’s signature.
View the maps here.