Anderson City Council seeks dismissal of redistricting lawsuit

Aug. 25—ANDERSON — The attorney for the Anderson City Council is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed over redistricting.

The lawsuit was brought in June by Common Cause Indiana, the Anderson/Madison County NAACP and the League of Women Voters. It contends that the six districts for seats on the City Council violate the one -man, one-vote principle.

The Chicago-based Henderson Parks law firm representing the City Council filed a motion in the Southern District of Indiana to dismiss, contending the plaintiffs waited too long to file the lawsuit.

Last December, the Anderson City Council voted not to redraw district lines based on the 2020 census.

The motion for dismissal states that the plaintiffs should have taken legal action the day after the council's vote on Dec. 11, or by Dec. 31, 2022.

"But this is not what the plaintiffs did, as is readily apparent from the face of the complaint," the motion reads. "Plaintiffs waited until June 13, 2023, 143 days after the Dec. 11, 2022, council apportionment vote, to file suit."

The dismissal request also notes that no action was taken prior to the May 2 primary election, when candidates to represent the six council districts were on the ballot and that those candidates are preparing for the November election.

The lawsuit asked the federal court to redraw the council district lines, shorten the terms of the elected council members this year to one term and conduct a special election in 2024.

The motion to dismiss contends the federal courts don't have the power to alter a person's the time in office or to conduct a special election.

A response to the motion to dismiss states the city council didn't meet the burden of proof for an unreasonable and inexcusable delay and a change in circumstances caused by the delay once the lawsuit was filed.

The response also cites several cases where courts have ordered special elections as "part of a remedy for a governmental unit maintaining and using unconstitutional electoral districts."

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