Ohio Redistricting

Washington Gridlock Rooted In Gerrymandering

Dec 20, 2013
Dayton Daily News

The way states draw congressional districts may be a contributing factor to the dysfunction of today's political climate, according to an investigation by the Dayton Daily News published earlier this week. While gerrymandering is nothing new, it's now much easier.

A bipartisan proposal to change the way Ohio draws state legislative and congressional lines has cleared the state Senate with almost unanimous support.

The resolution would create a seven-member commission to draw all maps, and at least one minority party member would have to approve the boundaries.

The House isn't expected to act on the proposal and that chamber's vote is needed to put the measure before voters.

Sen. Frank LaRose, a co-sponsor, said the Senate plan could serve as a roadmap for discussion next year.

Issue 2 may have failed last night, but one of its backers says the issue behind it isn’t settled. Issue 2 would have taken the authority to draw district maps for state and federal lawmakers out of the hands of elected officials, and it lost by a 2-1 margin, according to unofficial results. But Ohio Democratic Party chair Chris Redfern says he thinks another move to change the map-drawing method will happen soon.

With all the ads, calls and fliers for the Presidential and US Senate races in Ohio, there’s little room for the two statewide issues that are also before voters. And Issue 2 has strong coalitions of supporters and opponents working for and against it. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler moderated a debate over Issue 2 before the Columbus Metropolitan Club.

The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association is the latest group to oppose a proposed constitutional amendment to change the redistricting process. The organization joins a long list of groups that have joined the Ohio Republican Party in its opposition to the plan.

A redistricting amendment on Ohio's fall ballot has the backing of some of Ohio's top lawyers and legal scholars.

Voters First, the committee backing the November issue, released an open letter Thursday signed by a dozen Ohio lawyers, including a former state bar association president.

Signers stand behind the amendment's legal framework, which the Ohio Bar Association has opposed.

The wording of a fall ballot issue revamping the way Ohio draws legislative and congressional districts is nearing final approval by a state panel.

The Ohio Ballot Board scheduled a Wednesday meeting to certify language for the proposed constitutional amendment.  It would strip elected officials of map-drawing powers and give them to a 12-person citizen commission.

A coalition of voter advocacy groups called Voters First is spearheading the effort.  Backers say the current setup lets the ruling party draw district lines to its favor.

Now that backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to change the redistricting process have enough valid signatures to put the issue on the statewide ballot, attention turns to how to sell it to voters.  The supporters of the plan already have their mantra…..people not politicians.  But now opponents of the plan have a mantra of their own…..protect your vote.  Jenny Camper is with a group that plans to fight the proposed redistricting plan. 

Justices in Ohio are weighing arguments that will determine the fate of Ohio's newly drawn legislative map.

Lawyers sparring before the Ohio Supreme Court Tuesday disagreed over the constitutionality of the new lines and the process by which they were drawn.

The attorney for Democrats, who filed suit on behalf of a group of Ohio voters, said it's clear the maps favoring Republicans violated provisions against gerrymandering.

Ohio's new 10th congressional district merges Montgomery and Greene Counties, as well as a part of Fayette County, changing the political landscape for 2012. Emily McCord speaks to Jessica Wehrman for this edition of PoliticsOhio. She's a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch based in Washington, D.C., and her stories appear in the Dayton Dailys News. Werhman breaks down what the changes the new map brings for Montgomery, Clark  and Greene Counties and what that means for congressional races and its national implications.

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