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June 2021 Newsletter from LWVBC

Laurie Teal  | Published on 6/17/2021

June 2021 Newsletter


From the Board

 

Recap of This Year’s LWVBC Virtual Annual Meeting: Our virtual meeting was held May 25 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Highlights from the meeting include:

  • A Power Point presentation with highlights celebrating our League’s 50th anniversary.
  • Calla Lorraine Imming, recipient of this year’s Dorothy Stewart Scholarship, joined the meeting and talked about her future study plans and goals.
  • The winners of the League’s inaugural Essay Contest were announced by League Treasurer Jan Swigert. Plans are underway to make the Essay Contest an annual event. (Please see article on page 7.) 
  • League Vice President Pam Raider wrote and presented an audio history of the local League’s work, comparing 1971 issues with those of today.
  • A review of the 2021 Fair Maps / Redistricting effort was presented by Shari Frank and Sunny Leerkamp.
  • Presentations by committee chairs and League members serving on outside groups, recapping efforts made during the past months:
    • DEI – Judy East and Sunny Leerkamp
    • Voter Services – Shari Frank
    • Communications (website, newsletter, Who’s Where, etc.) – Laurie Teal
    • Membership – Laurie Teal
    • Health – Cathy Rountree
    • Heritage and Wellness Tourism – Ruth Reichmann
    • Nashville Human Rights Advisory Council – Melissa Rittenhouse
  • During the business meeting:
    • The minutes of the 2020 annual meeting were approved unanimously.
    • The 2021-2022 budget was approved unanimously.
    • The 2021-2022 slate of officers was approved unanimously.
    • The 2021-2022 local program was approved unanimously.

The 2021-22 slate of officers and directors for our local League:

 

Officers                                                                   Term Expires

President: Shari Frank                                                        2022

First Vice President: Laurie Teal                                         2023

Second Vice President: Sunny Leerkamp                          2023

Secretary: Pam Raider                                                       2023

Treasurer: Jan Swigert                                                       2022

 

Elected Directors                                                    Term Expires

Judy East                                                                           2022

Janet Kramer                                                                     2022    

Cathy Rountree                                                                 2022
JoAnne Himebaugh                                                           2023

Melissa Rittenhouse                                                          2023

 

Appointed Directors

Per our League Bylaws, elected directors may appoint up to 6 directors as deemed appropriate to conduct the business of the League.


Just a Note….

By Shari Frank, LWVBC President

 

Ok, so should we just give up? What’s the point of working for Fair redistricting when for decades our legislators have thwarted every bill and ignored their own Indiana Legislative Study Committee that recommended developing a nonpartisan redistricting commission to create fair maps?

 

When I and many, many other Indiana voters attended ICRC public hearings about Redistricting, I heard a lot of frustration about why we even bother. I hear the same frustration in talking to the public and even League members and…even from myself!   Some of the thoughts: 

  • Our legislators don’t listen to us.  They won’t even come talk to us.
  • Our legislators will never give up the power to draw district maps.  They’re in safe districts now, they can draw the maps to keep them that way to ensure their reelection, so why should they change?
  • What’s the point of trying?  They will continue to gerrymander.

So…… should we just give up?  Should we stop asking legislators to do the right thing?

What would Lucy Burns tell us?  Read about the night of terror and brutality on History.com and see what you think…. https://www.history.com/news/night-terror-brutality-suffragists-19th-amendment

For me, just the thought of what our brave foremothers suffered and sacrificed inspires me to keep going.  To think, many women who began the fight died before they ever got to vote.  But they never gave up.  It took 3 generations.  Let’s hope fair maps don’t take that long.  But if we don’t keep working on it will anything ever change?   

Voters should get to choose our legislators, not the other way around.  We want legislators to listen to ALL their constituents.  We want maps drawn that are competitive, not safe districts so legislators don’t have to care about diverse points of view.


Other states have done it.  They’ve created methods of redistricting where the party in power cannot draw the districts to favor their party.  It can be done! Some states voted it in through citizen initiatives.  

 

Indiana doesn’t have that opportunity, but we still have a voice!

 

So, let’s keep going.  Tell our Indiana legislators you want fair maps.  Tell our Federal representatives we want redistricting reform and voter rights.  Join LWVBC in a writing blitz and…whatever it takes to make sure every vote counts.  Please join us.


Volunteers Wanted for Booths at 4-H Fair and Farmers Market

 

As this year’s Brown County 4-H Fair will be in-person, the LWVBC will have a booth during the entire run of the Fair, scheduled for July 26-31. 

 

Could you volunteer for a 2-hour shift one day or more (6-8 pm or 8-10 pm) Monday through Saturday?  We’re planning to have Connections to give away, info on Redistricting and more….
It’s your free excuse to hang out for a good cause! 

The League had a very successful booth at the June 13 Farmers Market, talking to shoppers about Fair Maps. It was great to see old friends - and meet some new friends - in person! LWVBC plans to have booths at two more Farmers Markets this season – August 22 and September 19, 11 am to 2 pm.  Seeing the local vendors offering crafts, foods, plants, and music is a lot of fun, too. 


League members, can you help? If you have some time to spare, please contact League President Shari Frank (shari.r.frank@gmail.com) or Co-Vice President Laurie Teal (teal.family@icloud.com), and pick your 1 ½ hour schedule for the Farmers Market, or 2 hours for the County Fair.

Thank you!

 



Indiana Election Division Conducting Voter Registration Survey

Source: LWVIN and Shari Frank, LWVBC President

 

The office of the Indiana Secretary of State has initiated a postcard mailing to Hoosier voters as part of a “statewide voter list refresh.”

 

“These mailings help us identify records that need updating or are no longer valid. This helps us create a more accurate picture of voter turnout for the state and helps ensure our elections remain safe and secure. Hoosiers deserve to know we have accurate voter lists,” said Holli Sullivan, Indiana Secretary of State.

 

The first set of postcards have been mailed. If all the information on the postcard (name, address) is correct, the recipient does not need to take any further action on the postcard. If the name on the postcard is not the recipient, voters are asked to write “Return to Sender” on the card and put it back in the mail.

 

Deadlines: For voters who need to update their information, the postcard must be mailed to the Secretary of State’s office no later than August 21, 2021 and received by the Indiana Election Division by August 27, 2021.  If that postcard isn't filled out with your new and correct information, you will be placed on an inactive list. A person on the inactive list will still be able to vote and if they do so in 2022, 2023 or 2024 they will then be classified as active. If information is not updated or they do not vote during that time, their voter registration will be removed and they will have to re-register.

 

An online article about the registration survey, from WTHR in Indianapolis and published May 19, can be read here:https://www.wthr.com/article/news/politics/elections/hoosiers-to-receive-postcards-verifying-voter-registration-information-voting-poll-early-restrictions-register/531-c3e7c6cb-df69-4003-b68f-4cc22b962994

 

Because of these periodic updates and voter purges: all voters should check their voter registration at least ONE MONTH BEFORE EVERY ELECTION to be sure all information is correct and current because Indiana Voter Registration closes 29 days before each election. No voter registration, name changes or address changes are allowed during that 29 day period.  Check your voter registration online at https://indianavoters.in.gov or by calling the Brown County Clerk’s office at 812-988-5510.

 

As we get closer to the 2022 election cycle, this newsletter and Vote411 will provide additional information and deadlines on voter registration, voter rights, and voter information.  


Now is the Time for Fair Maps!  

 

Want to know more about Redistricting?

 

We want voters to pick their legislators, not the other way around. 

 

After each 10 year census, voting districts for Indiana’s 9 Congressional districts, 100 State House of Representatives and 50 Senators are redrawn.  2021 is the year for redistricting! We want the districts to be drawn to ensure fair representation for communities.  This means letting voters have a say in what communities are put together in a district. 

 

All in For Democracy, supported by the League and a coalition of 24 organizations, put together a Model Indiana Citizen’s Redistricting Commission (ICRC).  They held 9 public forums targeting the 9 

Indiana Congressional Districts and received a LOT of input from the public.  Some of the key requirements Voters want in Redistricting include:

  • A transparent process that lets the public see how districts are drawn and lets voters weigh in
  • A process that does not favor one party over another, and is not drawn around an incumbent’s place of residence
  • A process that lets people with similar interests vote together to protect communities such as cities, counties, school districts and more

The Brown County League has worked with the Bloomington-Monroe League and many other partners to develop a presentation and resources to share basic information about representation, show what is at stake when maps are drawn to favor one party over another, and explain why redistricting should be nonpartisan, transparent, and protect communities and common interests

 

If you are interested in learning more, or your group or organization would like to learn more, please contact us to request information or to schedule a presentation.  The presentation can be tailored for your time frame, and for the knowledge level of your group: from basics to more detailed information.  

 

Please contact LWVBC President Shari Frank at browncountylwv@gmail.com to schedule a presentation or for more information.  



Join LWVBC in a Writing Blitz on Redistricting

 

The maps drawn this year will be in effect until 2032!  Let that sink in!  

 

Now is the time to let legislators know we want maps to represent voters!  Write to Indiana legislators any time.  But join LWVBC on specific target dates to show more strength by working together.  Target these dates/weeks to send post cards or emails or letters:

  • Women’s Equality Day on August 26 (to demand Fair Maps); and 
  • Constitution Day on September 17 (the birthday of our U.S. government) 

Read the ICRC Report to see what Voters want in Redistricting:  

https://www.commoncause.org/indiana/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2021/05/ICRC-report-spring-2021-2.pdf?link_id=3&can_id=61ef9714cb0f89efa4def9479ae21ba1&source=email-new-report-on-indiana-redistricting&email_referrer=email_1183820&email_subject=new-report-on-indiana-redistricting

 

Sample Message Themes to Ask Legislators for Fair Maps:

 

• Redistricting must be fair and transparent 

• Stop the Gerrymander!

• Draw the maps so all votes count  

• I want to pick my legislator, not be picked by one 

• I want to see the maps after they are drawn and before any votes are taken 

• Redistricting is not job security for legislators 

• Fair Maps ensure Democracy

• Draw the maps incumbent blind

• Protect Democratic principles of Proportional Representation: every vote should be equal

Contact all SEVEN legislators who are responsible for Redistricting by phone, email, postcard, or letter. The mailing address for all Indiana Legislators is 200 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.


1. Governor Eric Holcomb
. To email click on: http://www.in.gov/gov/2752.htm  then select  "To contact the governor with questions or comments unrelated to the above, click here."
MailOffice of the Governor, 200 W. Washington St., Rm. 206, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Phone: 317-232-4567

2. Senator Eric Koch - Representing Brown County
Website: https://www.indianasenaterepublicans.com/koch
Email:Senator.Koch@iga.in.gov
Phone: 800-382-9467 or 317-232-9400

3. Representative Chris May – Representing Brown County 
Website:https://indianahouserepublicans.com/members/general/chris-may/ 
Email: h65@iga.in.gov
Phone: 317-232-9981

 

4. State Senator Rodric Bray, President Pro Tempore of the Indiana Senate 

Phone: 317-232-9400

Email: Senator.Bray@iga.in.gov

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rodric.bray

 

5. State Representative Todd Huston, Speaker of the House of Representatives 

Website: https://indianahouserepublicans.com/members/general/todd-huston

Phone: 317-232-9677  

Email: h37@iga.in.gov

 

6. State Representative Timothy Wesco, Chair, Elections and Apportionment 

Website: https://indianahouserepublicans.com/members/general/timothy-wesco

Phone: 317-232-9753

Email: h21@iga.in.gov  

 

7. Senator Jon Ford, Chair, Senate Elections Committee

Website: www.IndianaSenateRepublicans.com/Ford

Phone: 800-382-9467

Email:  S38@iga.gov


-------------------------------------------------------

 

At the Federal Level, ask Congress and Senate to PASS the For the People Act: HR1/S1.  

 

HR1/S1 creates fair redistricting for Congressional districts.  States will still determine how to draw maps for State Senate and House of Representatives, so we need to work for Fair Maps at both the State and Federal levels.  

 

9th Congressional District U.S. Representative Trey Hollingsworth 

Website: https://www.hollingsworth.house.gov

Phone: 202-225-5315 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrey

Address: 1641 Longworth House Office Building, Washington DC 20515 

 

Indiana U.S. Senator Mike Braun 

Website: https://www.braun.senate.gov

Phone: 202-224-4814

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikebraunforindiana

Address: 374 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510

 

Indiana U.S. Senator Todd Young 

Website: www.young.senate.gov

Phone: 202-224-5623

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SenatorToddYoung

Address: 185 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510 

 

Click HERE for additional talking points on redistricting, courtesy of the Indiana state League. 

If you would like to use graphics on redistricting for your correspondence, the state League has many for use: click HERE. The state League also has many resources on redistricting, available HERE.

 

And finally, printable maps of Indiana districts are available HERE.

  • Mail post cards or letters ahead of the date or within the week 
  • Email on the designated date

We would love to put an image of your post card/email/letter on our website! To share your communications, please send to browncountylwv@gmail.com.

 



Congratulations to the Winners of LWVBC Inaugural Essay Contest

Submitted by Judy East, LWVBC Board Member

 

The League of Women Voters of Brown County held a Redistricting essay contest in April for the junior high and high school classes and home schoolers.  They were asked to address the prompt, 

“Do current districts and the redistricting process in Indiana reflect democratic principles?  

Why or why not?”

 

 The submitted essays were judged anonymously by a team from the Brown County Retired Teachers Association.  Eighteen students participated in the contest, and cash prizes and certificates were awarded to the top five as follows:

 

High School:  1st Prize: Simone Smith, $200 (Homeschooler)  

 

Grades 7/8:

  1st Prize:                  Sophie Mathis, $200

  2nd Prize (tie):         Adahlaid V. Gredy, $100

  2nd Prize (tie):         Taylor Lucas, $100

  3rd Prize:                 Owen East, $75

       

Other entries from the junior high came from:

 

Wesley Arndt             Robert Liam Cassiday          Caleb Clifford                       Anna Emkes

Madilyn Hawley         Ella Jackson                          Kai Koester                          Noah Lewis

Baylie Meyer             Taylor Myers                          Ava Sanders                        Avri Vaught   

Genevieve Wilson


And from the high school:  Emelia Koester

 

Thanks to teachers Michael Potts and Emily Lewellen for helping develop the prompt, and to Principal Stark and Principal Garmin.  The League appreciates the BCJHS taking time to recognize the students, especially since we were unable to give out awards in person.

 

The League plans to honor the winners during this year’s 4-H Fair. 

 

First Place winner Sophie Mathis said, “I loved being able to learn about redistricting, without doing this I would have probably never even of known about this issue.”  

 

The League of Women Voters encourages students to take part in our democracy and support democratic principles.  As Nelson Mandela said: “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.”

 

And here are the winning essays.

 


From Simone Smith, first prize winner in the High School category:

 

The Redistricting Process: Where Democracy Lacks

 

Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not a power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressman and government officials, but the voters of this country.”

America is a country founded upon the radical idea that a people can govern themselves. Inspired by the works of philosophers such as John Locke, the Constitution was crafted to be a document by and for the people. Its framers envisioned a nation unmarred by the tyranny of a monarch. But our society now faces challenges. The redistricting process, specifically in Indiana, doesn’t reflect democratic principles. In order to achieve truly democratic election of our state representatives, there must be change.

First, we must define the term “democratic principles.” The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines democracy as “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation.” Principle is defined as “a rule or code of conduct.” Therefore, we can interpret the term democratic principles as “rules that insure the supreme power of government is still vested in the people.”

With that in mind, here is an overview of the current situation. Districts in Indiana are determined based on the state’s population. Every 10 years, following the US Census, the districts are redefined. Indiana’s districts contain an average of seven hundred thousand people. This regular redistricting ensures Indiana’s congressional and legislative districts are up to date and accurate.

But the current system of determining district borders is not without its flaws. For Indiana, state legislators are in charge: the very same people running for reelection. This is a huge problem because legislators can suggest district borders that encompass large partisan areas. When a district is designed to prominently contain one party, local election results become skewed. This process of determining districts based on an area’s voting trends is known as “gerrymandering.”

So what is to be done? Many concerned voters’ leagues suggest alternative options. The nonpartisan Common Cause Indiana has promoted the idea of a voters’ group drawing district borders. Ideally, this would mean a league of unbiased Hoosiers working together for democracy. Another organization, FairVote, champions a system where specially selected civil servants create a plan and submit it to the voters for approval. These are a few of the many viable options for Indiana redistricting.

America is still a nation of liberty. But in an age of ever-changing ideals, it’s up to us, the citizens, to preserve democracy. The current system of apportioning electoral and congressional districts doesn’t reflect democratic principles because it allows legislators to skew districts to their advantage. As Indiana voters, we must urge elected officials to pursue change. It is our job to ensure our government is truly “by and for the people.” John Adams says it best: “Always vote for principle, thought you may vote alone. You may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”

 

Bibliography

Campaigns archive. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://www.commoncause.org/indiana/our-work/

 

FairVote.org. (n.d.). Redistricting. Retrieved April 20, 2021, from https://www.fairvote.org/redistricting#research_redistrictingoverview

 

Kugler, C. (2020, September 20). Gerrymandering an issue in Indiana, other states. Retrieved April 08, 2021, from https://www.hoosiertimes.com/herald_times_online/news/elections/gerrymandering-an-issue-in-indiana-other-states/article_6efc2c48-f37c-11ea-ac95-335d0f663a79.html

 

Mann, T.E., O’Brien, S., & Persily, N. (2016, July 28). Redistricting and the United States Constitution. Retried April 19, 2021, from https://www.brookings.edu/on-the-record/redistricting-and-the-united-states-constitution/

 

Who draws the lines? (2021, April 02). Retrieved April 19, 2021, from https://redistricting.lls.edu/redistricting-101/who-draws-the-lines/

 

Works Cited

FairVote.org. (n.d.). Redistricting. Retrieved April 20, 2021, from https://www.fairvote.org/redistricting#research_redistrictingoverview

 

Campaigns archive. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://www.commoncause.org/indiana/our-work


From Sophie Mathis, first prize winner in the 7/8 grade category:

 

The Democratic Principles of Redistricting

 

            Redistricting is the key component of helping to guarantee equity to our electoral system. Redistricting is the process by which new congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn. Every 10 years following the completion of the United States Census redistricting occurs. The objective is to equalize the population in each district. In Indiana the state legislature is accountable for drawing both the congressional and state legislative district lines. There are nine United States Representatives and 150 Indiana state legislators elected from these districts.

            The redistricting process has become a very controversial topic, do the fact many people believe it does not demonstrate democratic principles. The redistricting concept is to keep elections fair and organized but when it’s done poorly, like in Indiana, it divides communities and makes it difficult for voters to find a representative who advocates their causes.

            Due to the fact the Indiana state legislature redraws the districts, they are able to choose their constituents and protect themselves, this is commonly referred to as gerrymandering. This creates “safe districts” which produce less competitive elections. In 2014, in the Indiana House of Representatives 44 of 100 seats were uncontested in the general election. Legislators who lack competition in their districts have less incentive to adhere to their constituent’ opinions. In a 2014 study by the University of Chicago Law Review, Indiana’s state House districts were found to be the 5th most partisan districted in the country when the “efficiency gap” is applied. The efficiency gap is used to measure partisan gerrymandering.

            A common argument against redistricting reform is that the Indiana constitution requires the Indiana General Assembly to conduct redistricting. Even though this is true they have the power to create a redistricting commission through legislation to take responsibility of the redistricting process. This means that the General Assembly will still be involved in redistricting, they will have to vote on the maps that the redistricting commission creates. They can deny the maps and get the commission to redraw them and if they vote those down again, the responsibility is back to the legislature.

            In 2015, the Indiana General Assembly formed a study committee of legislators and citizens to invest 15 months examining how other states handle redistricting and to introduce reforms for Indiana. When the study committee issued its recommendations, they promoted the establishment of a nine-member, bipartisan redistricting commission, with the members appointed by thew legislative leadership. There was a hearing in February of 2017 incorporating the recommandations into a house bill, over 300 people attended the hearing in favor, except one. Unfortunately, the committee chairman refused to call a vote and the bill died.

            Creating a redistricting reform with the study committee’s proposal would make Indiana’s elections fair and balanced, showing democratic principles, unlike now.



From Adahlaid V. Gredy, who tied for second place in in the 7/8 grade category:

 

Drawing the Line

 

A key element of democracy is that citizens are involved in the decision-making process. The present use of redistricting prevents citizens from this. Indiana uses the redistricting process to allow representatives to choose their voters versus the voters choosing their elected representatives. The current redistricting process in Indiana doesn’t reflect democratic principles, and thus sets the stage for future destruction of democratic values in the United States.

            Gerrymandering is the practice of using unfair political advantage to establish electoral districts. It’s used all over the United States as a way for politicians to protect their positions of power. “History has shown,” Alan Lowenthal wrote, “that state legislatures that have this power will not give it up of their own accord. Therefore, the power to redistrict must be taken from them and given to the voters. When the decisions are made to disenfranchise voters by creating safe seats for incumbents and protecting the party in power, it tears at the fabric of our democratic institutions.” Lowenthal highlights the fact that gerrymandering doesn’t show democratic principles. The power to redistrict must be given to voters which can’t happen until politicians’ stop giving into the temptation of keeping their power.

            Some will argue that the current redistricting process does display democratic values, but this can be proven wrong by the very words of those who are working so hard to redistrict. For example, Thomas Hofeller once said, “Redistricting is like an election in reverse. It’s a great event. Usually the voters get to pick the politicians. In redistricting, the politicians get to the pick the voters!” Words such as these show that most politicians use redistricting to their advantage, instead of using it to show thew democratic principles that the United States was founded on.

            The issue of whether or not gerrymandering reflects democratic principles isn’t new. In 1963, M.O. Sims challenged the apportionment of the state legislature in Alabama. Sims and his fellow voters believed that, with the way the state was dividing counties, they were prevented from successfully taking part in a republican form of government. They questioned whether or not this violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause by authorizing only one representative per county and generating more senatorial district then there were senators, despite population differences. In an eight to one decision in favor of M.O. Sims, the court ruled that there should be “no less than substantially equal state legislative representation for all citizens…” This court case should’ve shown other states how undemocratic gerrymandering can be, yet representatives still use it for their leverage.

            In summary, the current redistricting process in Indiana, and in many others states, doesn’t reflect democratic principles. This can be backed by the words of the politicians’ who are redistricting and the worry of voters across the United States. A Harvard essay, written by Alan Lowenthal, says, “Partisan gerrymandering historically has been unpopular and criticized as an undemocratic, unconstitutional practice.” If the partisan use of redistricting isn’t stopped now, it might never be.


From Taylor Lucas, who tied for second place in in the 7/8 grade category:

 

Democratic Principles and Redistricting in Indiana

 

            “With a 98% rate of re-election,” stated Former president Ronald Regan, “A seat in congress is one of the most secure jobs in America.” Regan was inferring that because of redistricting the outcome of the election is already determined. Does this redistricting reflect the democratic principles that America promised? I don’t think so. The current district and redistricting process in Indiana do not reflect democrstic principles because of gerrymandering, which causes minority voices to not be heard, candidates get to pick their voters, and they are not forced into compromise.

            Gerrymandering is when district lines have been drawn to fit a political spectrum, like changing the border of a district to acquire more people within the desired political party. This does not reflect deomcratic principles because it creates an overwhelming number of voters with the same political party in the same voting district. This indicates that if a person of the opposing political party lives in that area their voice will not be heard because they are outnumbered so their vote would be inaudible in comparison. It also causes people to become tribalistic and as a result, factions start to form. This, however, is not the only reason.

            With gerrymandering coming into play, it lets candidates practically choose their voters. Due to the unusual district lines the outcome of the election will come as no surprise because of the exceeding number of voters in the same political party. This does not reflect democratic principles because it allows the contender, of the majority political party, to automatically win. Not because of their skill or knowledge but because of their party. It also allows them to choose where they are running so that they can know that they will acquire a secure seat.

            In addition, all these conditions result in the candidates not being forced into compromise. As mentioned earlier, the contender would win from political gain, not from actual character, talent, or intelligence. This causes them to not actually have to reason, convince and compromise with the voters, or with other people in the part of office they are running for. Furthermore, that would result in the candidate not actually having any guidelines, not actually representing the people’s beliefs but their own because they were not forced into compromise.

            “My position is crystal clear,” stated governor of Queens, New York, Andrew Cuomo, “it has been for a really long time. I said during the campaign, when I was first running, that we have to stop the gerrymandering.” Cuomo was suggesting that it was always clear to him that he was going to win the election. The current district and redistricting process in Indiana do not reflect democrstic principles because of gerrymandering, which causes minority voices to not be heard, candidates get to pick their voters, and they are not forced into compromise.


From Owen East, third prize winner in the 7/8 grade category:

 

Redistricting in Indiana

 

            Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves…” Roosevelt understood that the power is in the hands of the voters, and it was their right to vote. However, he did not consider that the government could take away the power of the votes. The redistricting process in Indiana does not reflect democratic principles, nor do the districts themselves.

            The process of redistricting in Indiana has become less about balancing out the district populations, and more about drowning out the minority. In Indiana, there is mostly a republican majority. This majority will attempt to make it easier for anyone in their party to be elected into office. A way that the majority accomplishes this is through a process called Gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is essentially where the majority will redraw the congressional/ state legislative districts according to which communities vote for their party. They include the majority voting communities in their districts, and they divide/bring together the minority communities. When a political party redistricts like this, the minority voters in a majority voting community will have less of a voice because the major minority communities are either divided; breaking the power of minority voters, or the communities are concentrated together; giving the minority a good chance of getting only one seat. While Indiana strays from true democracy, some states try to bring the democratic principles back.

            To try to bring back democratic principles, states like Florida have made regulations against Gerrymandering, like prohibiting the legislature from redistricting in favor of a political party. Another example is Ohio’s criteria. Ohio passed a regulation in 2018 that requires that redistricting maps need to be approved by at least half of the minority. These two states have attempted to give the people more of a voice, therefore bringing back democratic principles. Bringing back democratic principles means giving the people back their voice, and the Indiana legislature has taken away the voice of the minority by Gerrymandering. Florida and Ohio’s redistricting processes show what it’s like to have democratic principles, and Indiana’s process shows how it’s possible to take them away.

            “If voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” Mark Twain said . The minority’s voice is taken away through Gerrymandering. Democracy is drifting further away from Indiana. Indiana’s redistricting process does not reflect democratic principles, and the districts are a result of the partisan process.



DEI Glossary of Terms: J-P

Source: League of Women Voters Bloomington-Monroe County

 

Editor’s Note: Below is a partial glossary of commonly used words with detailed definitions and their sources. Additional terms will be discussed in future League newsletters.

 

As you read through the information, ask yourself the following: 

  • What definitions surprised you? 
  • What definitions are new to you? 
  • What familiar definitions have you used interchangeably? 

     

    In reviewing them, what differences can you see and why are they important to how and when the words are used?

     

    What role can you play in connecting these definitions to League work and sharing them with your 

    League network? 

     

    Marginalization: The social process making a group or class of people less important or relegated to a secondary position (e.g., when one class of people is grouped together as second class citizens). 

     

    Microaggression: The everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. 

     

    Oppression: The systemic and pervasive nature of social inequality woven throughout social institutions as well as imbedded within individual consciousness. Fuses institutional and systemic discrimination, personal bias, bigotry and social prejudice in a complex web of relationships and structures that saturate most aspects of life in our society. 

     

  • Denotes structural and material constraints that significantly shape a person’s life changes and sense of possibility. 
  • Signifies a hierarchical relationship in which dominant or privileged groups benefit, often in unconscious ways, from the disempowerment of subordinated or targeted groups. 
  • Resides not only in external social institutions and norms but also within the human psyche as well. 
  • Eradicating this ultimately requires struggle against all its forms, and that building coalitions among diverse people offers the most promising strategies for challenging this systematically. 

Source: W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin, editors. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook. New York: Routledge. 

 

[The systematic subjugation of one social group by a more powerful social group for the social, economic, and political benefit of the more powerful social group. Oppression is maintained by systems of discrimination and social inequity.] 

 

Power: Unequally distributed globally and in U.S. society; some individuals or groups wield a greater amount than others, thereby allowing them greater access and control over resources. Wealth, whiteness, citizenship, patriarchy, heterosexism, and education are a few key social mechanisms through which this operates. Source: Racial Equity Tools; Intergroup Resources, 2012. 

 

[A complex concept, power is the ability of an individual or institution to influence or impose beliefs on others. Power grants access to and control of resources, which includes tangible resources like money and intangible resources like public opinion. Power is enacted through relationships and relationships of power constantly shift. Individuals may benefit from power that they are not aware of.] 

 

Prejudice: A pre-judgment or unjustifiable, and usually negative, attitude of one type of individual or groups toward another group and its members. Such negative attitudes are typically based on unsupported generalizations (or stereotypes) that deny the right of individual members of certain groups to be recognized and treated as individuals with individual characteristics. Source: Racial Equity Tools; Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative. A Community Builder's Tool Kit.

 

Privilege: Unearned social power accorded by the formal and informal institutions of society to ALL members of a dominant group. Is usually invisible to those who have it because we’re taught not to see it, but nevertheless it puts them at an advantage over those who do not have it. Source: Racial Equity Tools; Colors of Resistance Archive Accessed June 28, 2013. 

 

[Social benefit afforded to all members of a dominant group by formal and informal institutions of society. Individuals who have privilege are taught not to see it and taught not to recognize the advantages that it affords.] 


June Holidays 2021

 

June 5: World Environment DayThe theme of this year’s World Environment Day isEcosystem Restoration. Pakistan will act as global host of the day.World Environment Day 2021will see the launch of theUN Decade on Ecosystem RestorationEcosystem restoration can take many forms: Growing trees, greening cities, rewilding gardens, changing diets or cleaning up rivers and coasts. This is the generation that can make peace with nature. https://www.unep.org/events/un-day/world-environment-day-2021

 

June 13: National Weed Your Garden Day.Source:https://nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-weed-your-garden-day-june-13/

 

June 14: Flag DayFlag Day is a celebration of the American flag that occurs each year on the anniversary of the flag’s official adoption, June 14. What we know fondly as the “Stars and Stripes” was adopted by the Continental Congress as the official American flag on June 14, 1777, in the midst of the Revolutionary War. Colonial troops fought under many different flags with various symbols—rattlesnakes, pine trees, and eagles—and slogans—”Don’t Tread on Me,” “Liberty or Death,” and “Conquer or Die,” to name a few.

 

The Declaration of Independence made the adoption of an American flag necessary. Previously, each colony or special interest had its own flag. On the 14th of June, Congress made the following resolution: “The flag of the United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white on a blue field …” Official announcement of the new flag was not made until Sept. 3, 1777. Source: https://www.almanac.com/content/flag-day-celebration-american-flag

 

June 19: JuneteenthJuneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. 

 

“The history of Juneteenth can be traced all the way back to June 19th of 1865. This is when the Union Army, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that all former slaves were now free. Although President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, slavery hadn’t ended in Texas because there weren’t enough Union soldiers in the state to enforce the new order. However, the sound defeat of General Lee in April of that year and the arrival of the Union soldiers under Granger strengthened the forces sufficiently enough to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

 

“While the original reason for why Texas was over two years behind in freeing slaves is lost to the fog of time. However, there are a few stories that have been passed down through the generations to explain the delay. The first story tells of a messenger who was on his way to Texas to deliver the order of freedom when he was captured and murdered. Another possibility is that the plantations ignored the order so they could maintain their free working force.

 

“On June 19th, 1865, Major General Granger read General Order Number 3 to the people of Texas. This order stated: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.” 

 

“Reaction to this order by the former slaves was as varied as you could imagine. Some of the slaves stayed on under their former masters in a working capacity, while others left immediately after the order was read. Some of the headed North and others head to other parts of the South looking for family members they may have been separated. As more and more families united, they remembered fondly the day they acquired their freedom and began to celebrate it as Juneteenth. The day gained further prominence during the Civil Rights Movement.

 

“From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19thas the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.

 

“Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics, and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long overdue. 

 

“In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.”Source: http://juneteenth.com




COVID-19 Vaccine Indiana Info

If you are age 12 or older, you can get a vaccine.Please note that anyone younger than 18 must receive the Pfizer vaccine. It is the only vaccine to receive Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for that age group. Proof of age will be required at the time of vaccination.

 

Call 2-1-1 to schedule. For more information: go to https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/vaccine/

 

Additional resources:  Brown County: COAD Hotline: Call 812-988-0001 for help related to food, medicine, transportation.  Or visit their website: https://www.browncountycoad.com

 

NOTES FROM CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/vaccines/facts-covid-vaccines-english-508.pdf

 

Remember: Even after you get your vaccine, take precautions. Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth in large groups, continue to wash your hands often, and stay at least 6 feet away from other people you do not live with

 

This gives you and others the best protection from catching the virus. Right now, experts don’t know how long the vaccine will protect you, so it’s a good idea to continue following the guidelines from CDC and your health department. We also know not everyone is vaccinated, so it’s still important to protect yourself and others. 


Updates from LWVIN


The LWVIN website is https://www.lwvin.org

 

This summer LWVIN is focusing on its redistricting education program – Fair Maps: By the People, For the People. Please see the article on Page 4 for more information.

 

The League is using postcards as part of the influence campaign being waged by our All IN for Democracy coalition and the Indiana Citizen Redistricting Commission.  We hope to persuade our legislature to use a transparent process and to listen to Hoosiers who have provided criteria they want used to draw new district maps.

 

If you would like to use graphics on redistricting for your correspondence, the state League has many for use: click HERE. The State League also has many resources on redistricting, available HERE.

 

Printable maps of Indiana districts are available HERE.



Updates from LWVUS

The LWVUS website is https://www.lwv.org


From the 6/3/21 League Update:
“This is a critical time for us not to let up. After an all-in successful election year like 2020, it is natural to sit back and take a breath. But please understand it is more critical now than ever that we not only continue our efforts in voter education and voter registration, but also that we do it now before the next national election and protect voters and elections that are happening across the country. 

“The nation is counting on the League to keep moving the dial on voter empowerment and the defense of our democracy. I am counting on you to continue the amazing work you do every day even as you take a moment to recharge. 

“The League is currently watching for Supreme Court rulings in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta, andBrnovich v. Democratic National Committee. These rulings will have an impact on both LGBTQIA+ rights and voting rights, as well as the influence of money in politics.

“We are also continuing to fight against the anti-voter bills and laws created by state legislatures across the country. We have created talking pointsto help Leagues message about combating these bills.These anti-voter, anti-democracy bills remind us of why it's important for the Senate to restore theVoting Rights Amendment of 1965by passing theFor the People Act(S1). S1 will protect the integrity of our democracy and ensure that all eligible voters have equal access to cast their ballots. Please continue to educate your communities about the importance of this legislation and urge them to reach out to their senators.”

 



Government and Board Meeting Calendar

GOVERNMENT AND BOARD MEETINGS

 

PLEASE NOTE:Meetings are virtual, not in person.

See links below to check days/times.

 

Brown County Election BoardFirst Tuesdays of the month, 6 pm

 

• July 6, 6:00 pm (check for possible changes)

• August 3, 6:00 pm (check for possible changes)

 

Brown County CommissionersFirst Wednesday of the month,      

9 am; third Wednesday of the month, 6 pm

 

• June 16, 6:00 pm (check for possible changes)

• July 7, 9:00 am(check for possible changes)

• July 21, 6:00 pm (check for possible changes)

 

Brown County Council:Third Monday of the month, 6:30 pm

 

• June 21, 6:30 pm (check for possible changes)

• July 19, 6:30 pm (check for possible changes)

 

Brown County Health BoardBi-monthly, third Tuesday, 5 pm

 

July 20, 5:00 pm (check for possible changes)

September 21, 5:00 pm(check for possible changes)

 

Nashville Town CouncilThird Thursday of the month, 6:30 pm

 

• June 17, 6:30 pm (check for possible changes)

• July 15, 6:30 pm (check for possible changes)

 

Note: for all government and advisory board meetings

And to verify times, please check the

Brown County government calendar:

http://www.browncounty-in.gov

or the Brown County Democrat:

www.bcdemocrat.com

 



LWVBC BOARD MEETINGS

 

July 12, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

August 9, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

 

 

Please Note: The LWVBC Board voted at the June Board meeting to begin conducting our board meetings IN PERSON again!

 

These meetings will be held in the lower level of the Brown County Public Library.

 

Zoom will be available. 

To participate in the meeting, contact League President Shari Frankat browncountylwv@gmail.com

 

LWVBC Board meetings are held the second Monday of each month

 

League Members, Friends, and the public are welcome



Are You a Member Yet? 

 

Join the League of Women Voters of Brown County!  

 

100 years working for a more perfect democracy

Annual Membership Dues*:

 

$50/Individual  $85/Couple

$20/Friend of the League (non-voting)

 

*Membership Scholarships available 

Email for more information: browncountylwv@gmail.com

 

To join or to send a donation,

Mail your check payable to LWVBC,

PO Box 74, Nashville IN 47448

Please include your name, address, phone, and email

Want to volunteer?                   Help with voter registration?

Advocate for voter rights?                  Advocate for natural resources, etc.?

 

We welcome your participation!

 

Email the League at browncountylwv@gmail.com

Our website is https://lwvbrowncounty.org