Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, announced Wednesday he has selected Sheila Suess Kennedy to serve on a redistricting study committee that will help determine if there is a need to change the way legislative and congressional districts are drawn in Indiana.
“It is my belief that a study of this type is long overdue, and a critical component of any election reform,” Pelath said in a statement.
The committee will help lawmakers decide whether duties should be handled by an independent commission, rather than the Indiana General Assembly. It aims to make recommendations for legislators to consider in its 2017 session.
“Indiana has among the worst voting numbers in this country, and it must be said that a portion of that is caused by the belief that there are a lack of choices when a person casts a ballot. There are fewer choices because congressional and legislative districts are being drawn by partisan politicians, with an assist from the special interests that support them,” Pelath said in a statement.
A native of Indianapolis, Kennedy has taught Law and Public Policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis since 1998. She served in the administration of former Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut from 1977-80, and ran for Congress in 1980. Kennedy also served for six years as executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union.
“I am gratified to have the opportunity to help address a problem that is, I think, insufficiently appreciated,” Kennedy said. “Democratic systems depend upon the integrity of elections, and that integrity requires giving all voters an equal say in the outcome of those elections to the extent possible.”
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