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Groups file injunction in lawsuit challenging Anderson for failure to redistrict by deadline

By Violet Comber-Wilen, IPB News | Published on in Community, Government, Local News, Politics
Common Cause Indiana, the League of Women Voters of Indiana and the Madison County NAACP have filed a preliminary injunction in their lawsuit against Anderson’s city council. (FILE PHOTO: Tyler Lake/WTIU)

Common Cause Indiana, the League of Women Voters of Indiana and the Madison County NAACP have filed a preliminary injunction in their lawsuit against Anderson’s city council.

This comes following a lawsuit in June, where these groups and two individual voters alleged the city council did not redraw district lines by Dec. 31, 2022 – which is a violation of state and federal law.

The law requires state, county and local governments to reassess their district lines to see if they are proportionate or need to be redrawn after the U.S. Census is taken every 10 years. The groups said Anderson’s city council should’ve redrawn districts before the 2022 deadline as they had access to 2020 Census data.

The plaintiffs have expressed concerns about the equity of voters under current Anderson district lines. The groups said the deviation between the smallest and largest districts in the Anderson council is 45 percent, with other court cases previously ruling 10 percent violates the “one person, one vote” idea.

The groups said this means the votes of people in the most over-populated district are worth nearly two-thirds of a vote cast in the smallest district in the area.

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The preliminary injunction filed by the groups asks federal courts to declare current districts unconstitutional; requests new, equal districts be drawn; and asks that Anderson city council members’ terms are shortened to the end of 2023 (with a special election held to fill these positions).

The city council’s time to respond to the initial lawsuit was extended to Aug. 8.

The city council filed a motion in early August to dismiss this lawsuit, and said federal courts do not have the power to alter a person’s time in office or conduct a special election.

Federal courts have not made a ruling.

Violet is our daily news reporter. Contact her at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.