Fishers Town Council Map Woes
Thursday, September 23, 2010
For several years, the Libertarian Party of Hamilton County has decried the electoral politics of the Town of Fishers, as expressed in the District Map, and the at-large nature of electing Town Councilors.
For many years, it has been apparent that the Town Council conveniently redrew the map to accommodate the moves of the Council members within the Town, but out of their original Districts. How else does a Town get to a map that looks like this?
The issue came to light again recently, when Charlie White resigned from the Town Council, because he was unaware of where he lives. From the Indianapolis Star:
I truly hope that White's participation in any vote while not eligible to be on the Council does not have the effect of nullifying those votes, rendering ordinances passed as invalid. That would represent a cost burden on the taxpayers of the Town- an unfair one- to cover legal review costs.
White, who also is the Hamilton County Republican chairman, said Tuesday in a news release issued by the town that he simply didn't realize his new condo in Fall Creek Township was well outside the borders of his district, which is primarily in Delaware Township.
Indiana law requires council members to forfeit their seats if they move out of their district.
"Because of my statewide campaign for secretary of state and recent marriage, I failed to realize that my new residence was outside my Council district," White said. "Once notified of the situation, I took immediate action to correct the issue."
The time has come to redraw the District Map. Delaware and Fall Creek Townships are nearly fully populated such that a simple geographic drawing is both possible and overdue. We will be happy to furnish a sample map in the near future.
The other change that needs to happen is the elimination of the at-large nature of voting. Currently, a candidate challenging for a Town Council seat can win every vote in their District and still lose in a landslide. This is because every resident of Fishers can vote on each Council seat, even though that voter will only be represented by one Councilor. Fishers has a base of approximately 70%, and the Councilors know full well that when voting on a person that won't be your representative, the voter is more inclined to simply follow regular voting inclinations, and not cross party lines.
The Democrats have been pushing for city status for Fishers for this reason. The Libertarian position is halfway between the Republicans and Democrats. We do not want to add an executive layer of government, as we have seen how it has led to greater spending and pet projects in Carmel and Westfield. Remain a Town, but eliminate at-large voting, tying the votes strictly to the District.
Libertarians have been talking about these issues for nearly five years. It is sad that the issue comes to light in this manner, but it becomes a blessing in disguise if it leads to the opportunity to being about better, more representative government.