Time to change Ohio’s districts
History ought to teach politicians that what goes around, comes around, at least when gerrymandering is involved. It is a lesson they never seem to absorb.
Gerrymandering is the process of setting legislative district boundaries to favor certain political parties or candidates. The map of Ohio’s 16 congressional districts certainly makes it appear the practice was used when current boundary lines were drawn after the 2010 census.
Reinforcing the impression Republicans who control the General Assembly tinkered with district lines to favor their party is the fact that 12 of the state’s members of the House of Representatives are Republicans. Just four Democrats serve.
In 2015, Buckeye State voters said they wanted a more equitable redistricting system — but only for districts from which members of the General Assembly are chosen. More than 71 percent of voters agreed to a constitutional amendment setting up the Ohio Redistricting Commission for that purpose.
The new system includes requirements for bipartisanship in setting legislative district boundaries. Clearly, it is a giant step away from gerrymandering.
But it does nothing about congressional districts.
Now, it appears voters will be asked next year to approve a new amendment, to use the same system to set congressional district boundaries. That appears to be a needed reform. It should be supported by both Republicans and Democrats for the simple reason that while the General Assembly’s current composition favors GOP gerrymandering, it is only a matter of time before Democrats gain a legislative majority. Then, they would be free to use gerrymandering to favor their party.
Regardless of your party affiliation or sympathies, allowing legislative or congressional districts to be controlled by any political party simply isn’t right.
Ohioans have changed that for General Assembly districts. It’s time to move on to congressional seats.