Council asks for redistricting lawsuit be placed on hold

Apr. 23—ANDERSON — The Chicago law firm representing the Anderson City Council in the redistricting lawsuit has requested a stay in the federal court proceedings.

Last year, Common Cause Indiana, League of Women Voters of Indiana and the local NAACP filed a federal lawsuit alleging the six single-member council districts violated federal law based on the one person, one vote requirement of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

The Anderson City Council in December 2022 voted not to redraw the districts based on the 2020 census.

Henderson Parks law firm filed Tuesday a request for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana stay any further proceedings.

The court document asks that the stay remain in effect until July 10, 2025, and for the court to be notified within 14 days if the council adopts new district maps.

The request was made to allow the Anderson City Council to finalize public comment and vote on a new redistricting map.

The request was based on the passage by the Indiana General Assembly legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Gaskill (R-Pendleton) that extended the redistricting deadline to July 1, 2025.

Earlier this month, the council was scheduled to vote on an ordinance creating new maps, but the ordinance was tabled on the advice of the law firm .

That map was created by council members Ollie H. Dixon, Joe Newman and Greg Graham.

The new map would have shifted some precincts from the heavily populated 3rd District, represented by Graham, to the 4th District, represented by Dixon, and Newman's 6th District.

In January, the plaintiffs filed for a partial summary judgement, which was before the legislature extended the redistricting deadline.

The court document states the Anderson City Council has not drawn up new districts since 2000.

"The undisputed evidence demonstrates that the Council flaunted this constitutional imperative in 2022 and that it has not redistricted in this century," it reads.

The request for summary judgement asks the federal court to invalidate the election results from last November in District 3 and District 4.

It is seeking a special election in the two districts after new boundaries have been created to eliminate the deviations in the number of voters.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.