Drawn Out: How Iowa Got Redistricting Right

Hosted by The Harkin Institute and Cook Political Report

**Updated September 17, 2018: This event is full and registration is no longer available. The event will be broadcast live on C-SPAN and C-SPAN radio beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 18. If you are a reporter interested in covering this event, please contact Emily Schettler at emily.schettler@drake.edu or 515-205-6319.**

For Immediate Release

Emily Schettler

In 1971, Jean Lloyd-Jones and the Iowa League of Women Voters joined other organizations in challenging Iowa’s redistricting plan, arguing it placed too much emphasis on protecting incumbents.

The Iowa Supreme Court ordered the state legislature to develop a new plan, and in1980, state lawmakers implemented what has become one of the most respected methods of redistricting today. At a time when policymakers across the country are struggling with how to draw representative boundaries, Iowa’s nonpartisan process for drawing Congressional and legislative districts has repeatedly been looked at as a model.

Learn more about Iowa’s redistricting process, its history and how it has risen to prominence during Drawn Out: How Iowa Got Redistricting Right, an event hosted by The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement and the Cook Political Report, at 2:30 p.m. on September 18, 2018, at the National Press Club.

“We know that fair representation and the issue of gerrymandering are important to many Americans, especially as we approach another round of redistricting,” said Joseph Jones, executive director of The Harkin Institute. “This is an opportunity to discuss one way to promote fairness and equality in the political process.”

Cook Political Report National Editor Amy Walter will provide an update on the current state of redistricting across the country. Attendees will also hear from individuals who played integral roles in drawing the state’s district lines and establishing the Iowa model 38 years ago, including Jean Lloyd-Jones, a named plaintiff in the legal challenge and then-president of the Iowa League of Women Voters.

Other participants include:

  • Ed Cook, Iowa Legislative Services Agency attorney who oversees the state’s redistricting process
  • Kay Henderson, news director for Radio Iowa and longtime reporter covering the Iowa Statehouse
  • Joe O’Hern former chief clerk of the Iowa House was responsible for research support for the initial legislation and involved in three of four redistricting plans done under the Iowa model
  • David Yepsen, host of Iowa Press on IPTV and former political reporter at The Des Moines Register, where he covered government and politics for 34 years.

This panel discussion will take place from 2:30-4 p.m. in the First Amendment Lounge at the National Press Club. The event is open to the media and members of the public, and registration is required. Space is limited. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions. For more information and to register, click here: http://bit.ly/DrawnOut.


The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement was founded at Drake University in 2013 on the premise that good public policy is best achieved when policymakers have access to high quality information, political processes are open and well-understood and citizens are informed and active participants. The Harkin Institute offers programming, experiences, research, and connectivity focused on the areas that defined Senator Tom Harkin’s (Retired) career – people with disabilities, retirement security, wellness and nutrition, and labor and employment. Learn more about The Harkin Institute at HarkinInstitute.org.

Address: 2429 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311 Phone: 515-271-3623 Fax Number: 515-271-3631 Email: harkininstitute@drake.edu Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.