FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Indiana Republicans are preparing for a final vote on the new once-in-a-decade statewide redistricting plan.
Local Democrats aren’t happy, but Allen County Republican Party Chair Steve Shine says he wants to laud the Republican legislators who worked on this plan.
"I think the process has been greatly refined. It is the best that I have seen in the probably three times that redistricting has occurred since I have been Chairman," Shine said.
Representative Dave Heine currently represents most of Eastern Allen County and a little inner pocket in Fort Wayne. This new plan would separate those areas into two different districts, which Republicans say will allow legislators to better represent their constituents.
"We used to have nine state representatives. Now there will be six under this proposed plan, and I think that’s good for Allen County. There will be an additional district, and I think that's good for Allen County," Heine said.
The new plan limits the number of districts that reach into Allen County from other counties from five to just one. Shine says this helps solve a common concern brought up by the public.
"The legislators listened to what the public wanted, and certainly districts that were more representative of the area in which the voters and the residents resided was a big concern," Shine said.
Derek Camp with the Allen County Democratic Party doesn’t think this is the case. He calls the Republican-led town halls a sham and questions if they were there to listen at all.
"They gave people less than 24 hours before the first public hearing to talk about the new House and Congressional maps. With the way the schedule is and when the Senate maps get drawn next week, they’re indicating there is no discussion. This was all decided previously behind closed doors by the Republicans," Camp said.
Shine says the sped-up process is due to the federal government's delay in finalizing the most recent census numbers.
But Camp also accuses Republicans of intentionally making districts more favorable for themselves.
"The last ten years were so gerrymandered, and these new maps don’t seem to be any better," Camp said.
Shine says the new map rectifies districts originally unbalanced by Democrats.
Heine says he plans to be in Indianapolis Monday to discuss the redistricting plan’s approval, with a final vote coming shortly after.
Shine says he has no doubt the plan will pass.