St. Joe County Council discusses redistricting concerns

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 7:08 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The proposed redistricting maps for St. Joseph County have been a hot topic for nearly two weeks.

St. Joe County Council members say they are disappointed after the Board of Commissioners decided to move forward with new restricting maps.

They held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to voice their frustration and called for commissioners to re-consider their vote.

County council members say they invited commissioners to be a part of the discussion, but commissioner Andy Kostielney says he was not invited.

The county council says they were told the proposed maps would draw communities together in the interest of better representation, but the council fears the opposite may end up being the case. They fear this might impact minorities.

Currently, each of the three commissioner districts include a portion of South Bend. The council says these districts are fair and competitive.

“Our present districts ensure all three commissioners have a vested interest in both urban and rural as should be the case...The proposed maps would pack the overwhelming bulk of our minority voices into one district, slashing their representation at the county level by two-thirds,” says Rafael Morton President of the St. Joseph County Council.

Council members say they want to work together in a bipartisan manner.

“From the beginning, the democratic council, we have been asking the commissioners to come together and work on these maps in a bipartisan manner,” says Rafael Morton President of the St. Joseph County Council.

“We really thought that was going to happen, and next thing we knew they had hired a law firm to assist them in drawing the maps, which is okay but that effort to do this together never happened,” he said.

The county council and commissioner Dieter are hosting a meeting next Monday from 6-8 at the Charles Martin Center.

The law requires a second vote on the maps, and that’s expected to take place on November 16.

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