Bloomington City Council set to vote on proposed redistricting map, Volan pushes for all student district

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (IUSTV News) – The Bloomington City Council will vote Thursday evening on whether to adopt a proposed redistricting map drawn by the city’s redistricting commission, or whether to reject the proposal and send it back.

City Council, like other federal and state jurisdictions, is in the process of redrawing districts after the 2020 Census.

A commission was appointed to draw out the new districts, and their map has been sent to council for approval.

District 6 representative Stephen Volan wrote the ordinance laying out the requirements for new council districts. He says that while the map may meet the guidelines he wrote, students must get more representation in council.

The proposed all-student city council district drawn by Councilman Stephen Volan. Volan currently represents District 6, which would be replaced with the all-student district. (Ashton Hackman)

Fellow Councilwoman Isabel Piedmont-Smith says she is considering sending the map back to the commission, but for different reasons. Piedmont-Smith expressed her concerns over a lack of student involvement in elections. 

“Traditionally, students have not voted in very high numbers,” Piedmont-Smith said. “The student turnout has been very low, and so I’m concerned that if there’s a district that really only has students, are we going to have a council member who’s elected by thirty people?”

However, Volan argues that an all-student district would encourage students to participate. “If students knew that there was a district that could only be had by a student, they’d be paying more attention to the city issues that affect them,” Volan said.

The council meeting begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday evening and will conclude by 6 p.m.

UPDATE 10/6/2022: