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Indiana group files amicus brief in North Carolina SCOTUS case

Indiana House of Representatives
Posted at 11:22 AM, Oct 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-29 11:22:01-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Women4Change is getting involved in Moore v. Harper, a Supreme Court case out of North Carolina. The case could remove court oversight of the way states conduct federal elections, giving state legislatures sole control over things like congressional maps. It could remove legal recourse for citizens who want to fight back against unfair election practices enacted by state legislatures.

Women4Change filed an amicus brief saying that interpretation of the Constitution would "gravely undermine Indiana's democratic foundation."

"If you're not held responsible for doing your job, what happens? Hoosiers are smart, I'll let them fill out the blanks on that one, but we deserve elected officials that show up for us, that try and fight for a better Indiana, and when you don't have checks and balances on showing up to work, that's not a good thing," said Rima Shahid, CEO of Women4Change.

The case centers around gerrymandering, a practice in which districts are drawn to favor one political party. Women4Change funded an independent study last year that found that Indiana's congressional maps are more biased than 95% of all maps created nationwide over the last 50 years. Many worry that gerrymandering doesn't just suppress the vote, but also contributes to voter disillusionment.

"When people feel like they don't have any influence on what's going on, they turn to radicalization and other avenues to get things done, they feel like they're not being heard. I think our number one goal should be trying to help everybody to believe that their vote does count," Indianapolis voter Christopher Walker said.

Nearly 25% of Hoosiers surveyed for last year's Indiana Civic Health Index said they don't vote because they feel their vote doesn't matter. It was the most common reason given for not voting.

Indianapolis resident Paul Dashnaw doesn't vote. He doesn't think his vote has any affect on what happens in the government.

"They would really have to do a lot to get me to change my mind. To get thousands of people to change their minds and start voting again," he said.

Indiana consistently places in the bottom ten for voter turnout, but many, like Indianapolis voter Mark Smith, still show up every November.

"I'm not ready to give up. I'm 66 and I'm still an idealist," he said. "Just get out and vote. It's really important. If our vote didn't matter, they wouldn't be trying so hard to suppress it."

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in Moore v. Harper on December 7.