In the face of the extraordinary challenges created by the pandemic, the Ohio Constitution set the stage for a new four-year mapping plan for the 99 house districts and 33 senate districts of the Ohio General Assembly.
Following:The Ohio Redistribution Panel Approves 4-Year Statehouse District Maps. See the maps here
Voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment changing the line-drawing process, and it worked.
While not the optimal 10-year map, which in this case required a unanimous vote from the seven-member Cutting Commission, the process followed the Constitution and the Commission approved a four-year map. by a majority vote of 5-2.
The Commission’s map is both constitutional and in line with guidelines approved as part of the constitutional amendment adopted by voters in 2015.
Following:Notice: Snakes, snakes and squid are not necessary. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering.
It keeps compact districts and communities together. I should know, I was the main mover of this amendment and I was the co-chair of the campaign to pass it.
Make no mistake, special interest groups have tried to undermine the process by pressuring members to accept so-called “fairness of representation.”
This is simply the basic definition of gerrymandering, as these groups insist on telling voters in Ohio what is right.
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Then their demands shifted from what started out as a call for more competitive constituencies, created by the Republican map, to a flat demand for fairness in representation. This would format the statewide district voter distributions, effectively removing voters from the process by giving one party an advantage or another.
With all the rhetoric, combined with a four-month delay in US census data caused by the pandemic, I recognized the need for more time to negotiate to meet the 10-year card goal.
In April, I proposed asking voters to extend the time limits to 30 days. This too was undermined by vested interests who responded with politically dishonest accusations of the Commission’s intention, and they pressured Democrats not to back them. So here we are with a four year map.
It’s important to remember that candidates, issues and campaigns matter.
Following:Opinion: Allegation of voter suppression and outrage of special interests undermines Ohio election
It wasn’t that long ago that the president of Ohio House was a Democrat, as was the governor.
The General Assembly truly represents the voice of the people, from district to district and from town to town.
Don’t fall for the false narrative of “My candidate cannot win on the basis of lines. “
Republican candidates won constituencies with a large number of registered Democrats based on the quality of the candidate and his campaign.
In the Senate, examples would include northeastern and southeastern Ohio, and even the suburbs surrounding western Columbus.
Following:“An Insult to Democracy”: Republican Redistribution Plan Canceled Shortly After His Release
Finally, whether it is the old allocation committee or the new cutting committee, there will always be people from both sides who will not be happy with the final map.
Change is a challenge. In this case, the voters’ amendment to the Constitution in 2015 worked.
Matt Huffman, R-Lima, is president of the Ohio Senate.