Bloomington council president on local redistricting reform: “The commission has to be in place by 2021. It’s not far off.”

With its six city council districts, Bloomington is not unique among Indiana cities. But by year’s end it could be the only Indiana city that has a local commission established to handle the redrawing of council district boundaries.

This year’s city council president, Steve Volan, told The Square Beacon this week that one of his goals for 2020 is to establish an independent redistricting commission. It’s an idea he’s been working on for a couple of years, he said.

Under state statute, the city’s redistricting will be done in 2022, the second year after the decennial census. Continue reading “Bloomington council president on local redistricting reform: “The commission has to be in place by 2021. It’s not far off.””

State legislator to Bloomington redistricting advocates: “Show us on a local level.”

On Saturday morning, state legislators who represent parts of Monroe County appeared at Bloomington’s city hall to give constituents an update on this year’s session and to field questions from the 40 or so people who showed up.

The first question invited legislators to “foretell the future” of possible legislation on redistricting reform, given that previous proposals on the topic had “melted away into thin air.”

Historically, proposals for reform of the boundary change process for state legislative and congressional districts have included the establishment of some kind of independent redistricting commission.

In response the question on Saturday, Republican Jeff Ellington, who represents District 62 in the state house, challenged area officials to create local redistricting commissions. Such commissions could handle the upcoming task of redistricting the six districts of Bloomington’s city council and the four districts of Monroe County’s county council. Continue reading “State legislator to Bloomington redistricting advocates: “Show us on a local level.””

Analysis | Geographic sprinkling of councilmembers in Bloomington still uneven after election: Implications for redistricting?

Now that Bloomington’s municipal elections are over, the composition of the city council from 2020 to 2024 is settled. The new edition of the council, which takes office in 2020, includes four new councilmembers.

Kate Rosenbarger will take Chris Sturbaum’s seat in District 1. Sue Sgambelluri will take Dorothy Granger’s seat in District 2. Ron Smith will take Allison Chopra’s seat in District 3. And Matt Flaherty will fill the member-at-large position currently held by Andy Ruff.

It’s the first time since the transition from 1995 to 1996 that the nine-member council has seen that much turnover.  That’s when Jason Banach was swapped in for Kirk White (District 2), Matt Pierce for Jack Hopkins (District 3), David Sabbagh for Michael Bonnell (District 5), and Rodney Young for Paul Swain (member at large). Continue reading “Analysis | Geographic sprinkling of councilmembers in Bloomington still uneven after election: Implications for redistricting?”

Could the blue bubble of Bloomington have a reddish tinge in City Council District 2?

When maps of election results in recent Indiana statewide races are color-shaded—with reds or blues where Republicans or Democrats won more votes—the Hoosier state is a sea of red with some blue islands.

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The few patches of blue for Indiana are consistent with a robust national pattern: Rural counties are stronger for Republicans; counties with higher urban populations, especially those with universities, are stronger for Democrats.

By way of example, in the 2018 Braun-versus-Donnelly U.S. Senate race, the Republican candidate (Mike Braun) carried most of the counties in the state. Monroe County, which is home to Bloomington’s Indiana University campus, went decisively Donnelly’s way, so it’s a dark shade of blue. Continue reading “Could the blue bubble of Bloomington have a reddish tinge in City Council District 2?”