In one of his last official acts as Indianapolis Mayor for his first term, Greg Ballard signed new City-County Council District maps this morning, a move that is sure to infuriate some Democrats.
The Mayor signed the ordinance which created the new maps about 10 this morning. Democrats and other critics had complained the maps were illegal, violated the Voting Rights Act and that Republicans had rushed the process. One of their strongest arguments were that the maps had to be adopted in 2012 and the Mayor could not sign them in 2011.
Under Indiana Code 36-3-4-3, the maps must be…
- are compact, subject only to natural boundary lines (such as railroads, major highways, rivers, creeks, parks, and major industrial complexes);
- contain, as nearly as is possible, equal population; and
- do not cross precinct boundary lines.
The code also says the division shall be made during the second year after a year in which a federal decennial census is conducted and may also be made at any other time, subject to IC 3-11-1.5-32.
By signing the maps into law this morning the Mayor has fulfilled that crucial requirement of the law since 2012 is the second year after the 2010 census. There is no rule that says the division has to be done in June, September or November, only in 2012, and 9 this morning on New Year’s Day counts as 2012.
Regardless it is still likely that a lawsuit will be filed. The ordinance creating the maps was signed along with a few dozen other proposals.
Two points of note, the maps would not go ito effect until 2015 there is ample time for this issue to be litigated. Despite cries of the process being rushed and ending up in court, the exact same thing happened 10 years ago where the Indiana Supreme Court ended up drawing the maps because the Democratic Mayor and Republican-controlled Council couldn’t agree on a new map and that was after months of hearings and public testimony.
There were four public hearings on the maps, about 100 citizens attended.