Toledo Blade Editorial Lays Out the Stakes for Redistricting
August 9, 2021
Columbus, OH — In case you missed it, the Toledo Blade Editorial Board today reminded Ohio leaders of their responsibility to listen to the will of Ohio voters and use redistricting to create maps that accurately reflect the political makeup of the state, not ones that serve the political interests of the Republican Party. The Blade editorial points out that Ohio has some of the worst gerrymandered districts in the country, which ‘has very real consequences,’ as radical GOP politicians use the rigged system to push through harmful legislation on issues ranging from healthcare to education to voting rights.
“Ohio voters deserve and have demanded legislative maps that reflect the genuine political diversity in this state. The stakes are high for the new redistricting commission. The deadlines are tight and there will be much scrutiny of their work, but leaders drawing the newest political boundaries must step up and deliver better legislative maps for the state,” writes the Blade.
Ohio has consistently ranked at the top of any list of most gerrymandered states in the nation. And while the Ohio GOP would be more than happy to keep it that way, in both 2015 and 2018, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved ballot measures to clean up the process and make the districts more reflective of the makeup of Ohio voters.
Ohio’s status as one of the worst gerrymandered states has real consequences for Ohio voters. Despite nearly matching statewide Republican vote totals in 2018, Democrats didn’t win anywhere near a proportional number of seats because of gerrymandered maps. This means that Republicans were able to push through radical legislation almost at-will, without consequences, as Democrats remained in the super minority. And we’ve seen Republicans use this to their advantage to go against the will of Ohio voters on a number of issues, from consistently chipping away at Ohioans’ voting rights to putting public health at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s why the results of the 2021 redistricting commission are so important and why any efforts by Ohio Republicans to move forward on a strictly partisan basis are unacceptable.
Read more from the Blade HERE and below:
- Ohioans have had enough of gerrymandering. We know that because in 2015 and 2018 voters overwhelmingly approved constitutional amendments to reform the way the states draws districts both for U.S. Congressional seats as well as seats in the General Assembly.
- That commission is tasked with drawing districts that are compact — not shaped like cartoon creatures — and that do not favor one political party or another. The map, for which the commission must hold public hearings, also must avoid splitting municipalities and counties among districts and must respect minority voting rights.
- Gerrymandering has not only given Ohio nutty-shaped legislative districts, it has intensified polarization and made the state’s representative government less representative. When parties torture the boundaries of districts to make them as politically homogenous as possible, they create a system that favors the most fringe candidates from whichever party is dominant in that district.
- Ohio voters deserve and have demanded legislative maps that reflect the genuine political diversity in this state. The stakes are high for the new redistricting commission. The deadlines are tight and there will be much scrutiny of their work, but leaders drawing the newest political boundaries must step up and deliver better legislative maps for the state.