As I have noted on this blog previously with citations to the law, Indiana law is crystal clear that that the Indianapolis City-County Council cannot redistrict in the nearly one year window from November 8, 2010 to the day after the 2011 election. The new census data will not be available until well after November 8, 2010. No other dates - filing dates, primary dates, etc. - matter.
However, there is another strategy that could be pursued that would be legal, albeit highly controversial. That $290,000 budgeted for redistricting in the 2010 budget (a similar amount is budgeted for 2011) could be taken and the maps redrawn before November 8, 2010 using OLD census data. (They would then have to redistrict for the 2015 elections using the new census data.) Then the 2011 elections could be run using the new maps with the old data.
That's the only way of reconciling the budgeted amount for redistricting with the law that clearly prohibits redistricting in the year before an election. However, it would also mean administration officials and council leaders are misleading councilors and the public regarding the real purpose behind the money that's been budgeted for redistricting.
Makes sense to me! The Council Counsel Elrod mumbled at the meeting that the Council can legally re-district anytime (and as many times) it wishes. Of course, such a transparent power grab would be fought vigorously by the Democratic Party in the courts and public opinion.
Will Secy of State Todd Rokita (the politician running as an anti-politician using taxpayer dollars) weigh in on the side of non-partisanship in drawing Council District maps?
The cost is ridiculous, given that Rokita can redistrict the entire state for only $50,000.
Even ignoring that, I think the Councillors just got ahead of themselves and didn't look at the law before loading up the Council budget with this $290,000 in wasteful spending. Once it was there, there was the small matter of saving face.
I agree with a comment you made earlier, this rush to redistrict does indicate that the Republicans must not feel that the Council will remain under their leadership for much longer.
Jabber, the only way the Rs can hold on is IF the four at large disticts are eliminated and they go to 29 districts. They obviously are not going to win any county-wide races in 2011.
Bill, I don't know about that. You don't think Ballard breaking every campaign promise and alienating his Republican base (like gun owners and anti-tax activists)won't ensure his re-election? I think that's what they're counting on.
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