Fair Districts Ohio Announces the Mapping Competition Judges Panel and Kicks off the Congressional Contest

Ohioans Can Participate in Redistricting by Drawing Congressional Maps and Win Cash Prizes

Today, Fair Districts Ohio announced the launch of the 2021 Ohio Congressional Mapping Competition and the members of the twelve-person Advisory Committee who will be responsible for choosing winners from among the submitted maps. 

Ohioans from all corners of the state, every education level, and of any age are invited to submit a statewide congressional district map by 5pm on September 15 for the chance to earn cash prizes. The maps must comply with competition rules, mapping criteria in the Ohio Constitution, and cover all 15 congressional districts. 

“We can achieve fair redistricting for every Ohioan when there is a transparent process that invites everyone to participate,” said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “The Fair Districts Mapping Competition is an important opportunity for all Ohioans to engage directly in mapmaking which will shape our voting power for the next ten years.” 

The Advisory Committee is composed of a mix of advocates, academics, members of the media, and issue area experts from across the political spectrum. None of the Advisory Committee members serve in elected office. Each was carefully selected to achieve a nonpartisan review of all map submissions. 

Winning map makers will earn $750 for first place, $500 for second place, and $250 for third place.

“After seeking fair and impartial districting for years, is it possible we will finally see it this year with the new congressional and state legislative district lines? I can only hope so. It is an exciting possibility,” said Former State Rep. Joan Lawrence who has advocated for redistricting competitions and an end to gerrymandering for decades

Historically, redistricting has happened behind closed doors. Over the last decade, Ohio voters passed reforms to change the way redistricting is done in our state, making it more transparent and adding mapping criteria to eliminate partisan gerrymandering. This year is the first redistricting cycle with the reformed redistricting process. 

“The goal of the 2021 Congressional Mapping Competition is to democratize map drawing and demonstrate what we expect to see in the final Ohio state legislative and congressional maps,” said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio. “We hope this process shows our elected leaders what districts can look like when the people are invited to participate.”

The winning maps will be used as a benchmark against which Ohio mappers, legislators, advocates, and the public can evaluate the official maps drawn by the Ohio Redistricting Commission.  

The Advisory Committee includes:

  • Jeff Cabot, Fair Districts = Fair Elections treasurer, member of Columbus City Council’s Residential Redistricting Commission, former executive director of Kids Voting of Central Ohio.
  • Brian Glassman, Professor Emeritus, Cleveland Marshall College of Law 
  • Sam Gresham, Jr., chair of Common Cause Ohio, former CEO of the Columbus Urban League, and former executive director for the Ohio Commission on African-American Males
  • Ann Henkener, League of Women of Ohio 
  • Brad Henry, CEO of EduTechnologic, LLC and Founder of Get The Vote Out.
  • Bill Hershey, former Columbus Bureau Chief of the Dayton Daily News 
  • Joan Lawrence, former state representative, former director of the Ohio Department of Aging, and former president of the League of Women Voters of Ohio
  • David Niven, Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati Dept. of Political Science 
  • Shari Obrenski, President of the Cleveland Teachers Union 
  • Stephanie Casey Pierce, Postdoctoral Scholar, John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University
  • Deepak Puri, Co-Founder and CEO of Democracy Labs
  • Maggie Scotece, attorney Disability Rights Ohio
  • Katy Shanahan, Ohio State Director, All On The Line 
  • Rev. Jack Sullivan, Jr., executive director of the Ohio Council of Churches 
  • Raju Sunny, Director of Technology at Parsec Solutions
  • Andre Washington, Midwest Regional Representative & Ohio State President, A. Philip Randolph Institute

The Congressional Mapping Competition will happen alongside the 2021 State Legislative Mapping Competition which was announced last week.  

To learn more about the community mapping contest, click here. See the rules and scoring here.