Posts Tagged 'congressional redistricting'

MUST READS: House Dems Forge Redistricting Compromise

Newspapers around the state reacted to the redistricting compromise agreed to by House Democrats yesterday. Common themes included relief at the end of a “long, messy process” (Columbus Dispatch) marred by “political wrangling and voter confusion” (Toledo Blade).

“The pact… consolidates what would have been two primaries into one on March 6. Holding one primary will save taxpayers an estimated $15 million” notes Aaron Marshall of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

On a local level, several constituencies saw improvements over the previous redistricting map. “The city of Toledo will be represented by two members of the U.S. House instead of three,” says the Blade, while the Dayton Daily News observes that “A major change in the new map from one passed in September was putting all of Montgomery County in one congressional district.”

Read the full articles:

 “State will have one primary March 6,” Columbus Dispatch

Redrawn map puts Toledo in 2 districts instead of 3,” Toledo Blade

Ohio lawmakers reach deal on congressional redistricting and single primary election,” Cleveland Plain Dealer

State, with 16 new U.S. House districts, will have 1 primary next year,” Dayton Daily News

See also articles here and here.

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Rep. Phillips Statement on Redistricting Agreement

Assistant Minority Whip Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) released the following statement on the compromise to reunite the primaries and end the redistricting standoff. The compromised redistricting plan makes some improvements to congressional districts, takes the first steps towards necessary long-term reform and saves taxpayers from footing a more than $15 million bill for two primaries.

“After months of tough negotiations, I’m glad that we were finally able to get to a resolution on the impasse created by majority Republicans hyper-partisan redistricting process. We were able to include the creation of a task force to take real steps towards redistricting reform, and to reunite Ohio’s 2012 primaries,” said Rep. Phillips. “The map is slightly better than the one originally proposed by majority Republicans, but still splits many communities. Last week’s report, indicating the secret meetings in the ‘bunker’ with Republican operatives and donors, make it plain that their goal was not to create fair districts that represent the people of Ohio, but to protect their political cronies.”

“At the end of the day, I felt that it was my responsibility to protect Ohio taxpayers by finding a way to clean up the mess caused by this flawed process,” Rep. Phillips emphasized. “Redistricting has been badly mismanaged, and I urge the Inspector General and the Legislative Inspector General to investigate these abuses of the process. In the meantime, in order to reduce confusion for the voters, take steps towards reform, and save scarce resources, we came to a compromise yesterday.”

House Dems Stop GOP from Wasting Millions on Two Primaries and End Redistricting Standoff

Assistant Minority Leader Matthew A. Szollosi (D-49-Toledo)

Ohio House Assistant Minority Leader Matthew A. Szollosi released the following statement on the compromise to reunite the primaries and end the redistricting standoff.  The compromised redistricting plan makes some improvements to congressional districts, takes the first steps towards necessary long-term reform and saves taxpayers from footing a more than $15 million bill for two primaries.

“This fight has been about giving Ohioans a voice in the redistricting process and force a meaningful debate. We have seen this year just how badly this process is in need of change and are pleased that part of the agreement will include the first steps towards a meaningful bi-partisan reform.

“Creating two primaries was fiscally irresponsible and would have cost the state millions in precious funds at a time when funding to education, police and fire, and local government is being slashed.  By reuniting the primaries, Democrats have prevented voter confusion, likely legal chaos and saved the state more than $15 million in taxpayer dollars.”

Ohio gerrymander another GOP overreach

The Toledo Blade’s weekend editorial “Ohio gerrymandering another GOP overreach” is exactly what is happening here in Ohio.   The Republicans have rammed through countless extreme bills with Gov. Kasich at the helm and there is no sign of them slowing down. 

The new congressional redistricting map introduced and passed through the House in less than 48 hours and the proposed GOP drawn legislative maps will likely only further the political dysfunction we see in Columbus and Washington.  Blade Editor Dave Kushma wrote, “…The Republican elected officials in the Statehouse who are redrawing the districts for Ohio’s U.S. House delegation and General Assembly have made clear that their priority is making their party even more dominant. Promoting fair, competitive, and effective representation of Ohio voters for the next decade — especially in our part of the state — isn’t their concern.”

Democratic voters are being quarantined into roughly a third of the legislative districts and four congressional seats.  The result being some group votes will count significantly more than others.   In this broad and diverse state this kind of gerrymandering “turns the notion of proportional representation into a sick joke.”

Kushma continues writing, “On this issue and too many others, Gov. John Kasich and GOP lawmakers have adopted an “in your face — we’ve got the votes” approach that defies opponents to do anything about their overreaching.

“They identified worthwhile changes to the state’s collective-bargaining process for public employees and included them in Senate Bill 5. But then, because they could, they larded the law with union-busting provisions that have nothing to do with saving money or running government more efficiently. That generated a ballot challenge in November.

“Similarly, GOP lawmakers passed an election “reform” law this year aimed at voter fraud that doesn’t exist. The real intent of the measure is to make it harder for folks who generally don’t vote Republican to vote at all.

“And now the map flap. Although the controversy over the new congressional districts has dominated the debate in Columbus, the state Apportionment Board plans to vote this week on new legislative districts.

…”

Read the full editorial here.

Districts that GOP Once Admitted Hurt Ohioans, Now Becoming Reality

Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) said  that congressional districts that Republican leaders once said would ‘hurt Ohioans’ are now becoming a reality under the GOP’s new congressional redistricting plan (HB 319). In an effort to defeat a non-partisan redistricting reform ballot measure in 2005, Republican leaders decried districts that snaked across the state and broke apart communities.

“By their own admission, the Republican’s new partisan gerrymandered congressional districts will hurt Ohioans,” said Budish.  “In 2005, Republican leaders said that districts that ‘snake’ from one end of the state to the other do not serve the interest of Ohio voters, yet that is exactly what they are creating in their new congressional districts.”

In an effort to defeat State Issue 4 in 2005, then-State Rep. Kevin DeWine published a map to demonstrate what could happen under the proposed redistricting reform plan. In a press release titled, “DeWine Explains it All: New Proposal Would Hurt Ohioans,” he said that the reform plan would “break apart communities and neighborhoods, dilute the voting power of minorities and disenfranchise voters all across the state.”

Under the new GOP redistricting plan (HB 319), the 9th Congressional District snakes from Toledo to Cleveland along a narrow stretch of land, and sometimes water.  DeWine mocked the possibility of such districts in 2005: “I don’t think districts that snake from one end of the state to another serve the interests of the voters of Ohio.” (Gongwer, 9/29/2005).

“The map that DeWine and Republicans devised six years ago to scare voters out of nonpartisan redistricting reform has a remarkable resemblance to the new redistricting map Republicans have produced.  It carves up communities and snakes districts all across the state, allowing politicians to choose their voters,” Budish said.

In 2005, Republicans made an all out effort to stop a non-partisan plan for redistricting supported by the League of Women Voters and a coalition of “good government” groups.  As part of their effort to protect partisan redistricting, they created a scare tactic map which sliced and diced political subdivisions around the state.  However, the new partisan gerrymandered congressional map (HB 319) MORE egregiously splits apart counties (68) compared to the current district maps (44).  The new gerrymander is closer to the county splits proposed (89) in the scare-tactic map used to defeat Reform Ohio Now.

DeWine is now the Ohio Republican Party chairman.  His 2005 press release can be seen here, and the scare-tactic map used to defeat Reform Ohio Now can be seen here.

Click here to see House Bill 319, the proposed GOP congressional redistricting map.

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